The ‘development’ process in drama is where as an actor or director a person looks, in depth, at the meaning of the plot, the feelings created by this and the stage directions and uses or implements these in his or her own dictation of the scene to his or her own taste and liking. Development can also be achieved in groups where, as diplomacy, we can decide on which aspects of the script we wish to implement and which stage directions we also wish to implement or create so as to better perform a section, or whole, of a play in the surroundings and set provided.
In this case I developed my section of the script (pages 70-71) in a group of two, where we made choices and decisions together to make our performance stronger and to make the performance work and flow more easily. Shortly after we began to rehearse, we decided that it would be better if the actor playing ‘Mickey’ in the section, which was myself, began the scene sitting, so that we could add levels into the performance and so that the mood of Mickey and the entire scene came across as a contrast between the joy of Edward and the depression of Mickey.
Another reason we chose to add levels to the performance (from the beginning) was so that we could show the difference in class between Mickey and Edward. We had no costumes so we were forced to show the upset and depression of Mickey purely with expressions and in posture and position. Where as, we had to show the happiness and excitement from Edward, which was far more easy to procure, in the way he moved around the stage quickly and also in happy expressions and in innocence (e. g. when Edward asked questions he needed to not understand Mickey, to not realise how he was feeling and so he needed to be very upbeat and confused).
Another factor which came into our minds when rehearsing the section was the time of day we believed the section to have been set in and in this our opinions differed. My partner believed that the section happened in the day, with snow falling from the trees, creating a beautiful picture in the viewer’s mind which would have been spoiled by the upset of Mickey. However, I believed that the section would have taken place at night. The air would have been dark and smelt of gas and the area around Mickey would have been run-down and ‘worn-out’ so to speak.
This would have, in my opinion, made Mickey’s story of unwork seem more plausible to the audience as they would have been able to feel the depression and coldness in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, being limited to the use of only lighting and minimal props we had to settle with the idea of dimmed lighting to show the depression, darkness and resentment in the atmosphere. As I mentioned before we decided to show the difference in moods between the characters in the section (Edward and Mickey) by their movements and actions and the speed of these.
We chose to portray Mickey as a slow and upset figure, and this was because we saw that he was upset and depressed by not being in work and also, was jealous of Edward’s life at university and the money he had. We hoped that, by making Mickey slow and angry we could show how he felt inside to the audience without having to describe what had happened to him beforehand. On the other hand, we needed to show the excitement and happiness of Edward so as to give a full portrayal of the section.
We decided that large amounts of fast movement was the best way to show how happy Edward was, when entering the scene, to see Mickey. Movement on stage (from one side to the other), coupled with various hand motions was also the way we decided to portray the excitement of Edward in the section. This said we had to remember that Edward didn’t need to move too much because this would make him look nervous or as if the actor playing him was his or herself nervous. Bearing this in mind we decided to make Edward move in his lines from one side of Mickey to the other, at the beginning of the section.
As the section progressed we needed to show how the atmosphere and moods of the characters changed as they confronted one another and we decided to do this by slowing the movements of Edward and changing his actions and expressions to a more uneasy mood and also to change the mood of Mickey so that he was even more angry as Edward revealed the wonderful time he had been enjoying whilst he was away. For example, when Edward says the line: ‘Mickey, it’s fantastic. I haven’t been to so many parties in my life. And there’s just so many tremendous people, but you’ll meet them Mick, some of them, Baz, Ronnie and Clare and oh, lots of them.
They’re coming over to stay for the New Year, for the party. Ooh it’s just . . . it’s great, Mickey. ‘ we decided that he should become happier and more excited and move more as the line goes on but that Mickey shouldn’t look at him but that he should become more and more angry in his expressions. Climaxing in perhaps hitting his leg or some other action to show frustration. Also, we decided that as Edward asks more and more questions Mickey should become more and more annoyed and that his speech should become more and more strained as if he is trying to withhold his anger but still remain seated. This is until the line:
‘You. You’re a dick head! ‘ where we believe that Mickey should stand and shout the line to contrast from the rest of his speech and to show his anger at Edward in full, for the first time. We decided that, in Edward’s next speech he should still sound innocent and speak as if he knows everything about being poor and face the audience, sounding proud and sure of himself. Whilst this happens Mickey would become more and more annoyed at him but now speak more calmly, as if he has regained control of his rage. As the section concludes I think that Mickey should perhaps ‘mock’ Edward for ‘still being a kid’ etc.
And this would show how he has changed, to contrast from how he was Edward’s best friend. Mickey should talk as if disgusted at Edward but remaining calm and envious of him. Oppositely, Edward, as the scene concludes, should turn from being innocent and confused to turn and be on the verge of anger. The line: ‘I’m exactly the same age as you, Mickey’ should be portrayed with a slight hint of anger towards Mickey from Edward. However, after this, Edward should become calm again and then change, as Mickey announces his last line, so that he seems upset and on the verge of tears.
In the last line, Mickey should begin facing Edward but as the line moves on he should turn to face away from him, half to the audience, half to the other side of the stage and Edward should stare at his back so that we can see the expressions they expose. Both should be upset, Mickey should sound harsh but actually be upset about what he is saying and Edward should just be upset so the audience can see the brothers, separated and see them upset. In the pause, both of the characters should remain still, Edward staring at Mickey and Mickey staring at the audience.
Then, as the pause ends, Mickey should turn to face Edward and shout the final line: ‘Go on . . . beat it before I hit y” and, at this point, there should be another pause. After this Edward would slowly back away and Mickey should turn again to face the audience. Both characters should have expressions of upset on their faces to show how the mood of the scene has changed. So that the audience can feel the upset and the separation of the brothers, the lights should fade so that a spot is left on each brother. This would not only portray the mood but would show how the brothers feel inside without each other.