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For the response phase of our drama exploration unit, we used two different explorative strategies in order to investigate our characters and help us to be able to define them better and also to allow us to be able to really become the character instead of imitating what we think the character is like. The two explorative strategies we use were called, “The Watering Hole” and “Marking the Moment”. The character that I play the part of is called Reg from the play “Table Manners” by Alan Ayckbourne. He is a realtor and is married to Sarah; they have two children and have what may be called a turbulent relationship.
The Watering Hole
The first explorative strategy which we covered was called “The Watering Hole”. During this exercise we were to think of what our character would be like as an animal. We were then to think of what it would be like as a group of this animal, much like flock of geese or a pride of lions. Once we had done this we had to think of a name for our group of animals. Then we had to act out what this group of our character would do at a watering hole and how they would react to other character/animals. In addition to this we had to think of a sound that our animal would make and emulate it. Finally we had to show also how our character would bathe and wash himself once at the watering hole.
I was placed in a group with four other people who also played the character of Reg. First we decided that the creature that Reg could be most closely associated with is a sloth. His general disinterest in others and their business is reflected in this. We also felt that a major aspect of his character was that he becomes very engrossed in seemingly irrelevant things, such as when he ignores tom when he is talking about Annie and focuses upon the stale biscuits. This helps to show also that he is interested in feeding himself and in food in general.
The only quality of his which did not match the sloth was his very short attention span. So eventually we decided to have a creature that was very slow and disinterested in other creatures, but still one that took passion in food and small items. For the name of our ‘group’ we decided to call it a mob due to the fact that mobs are very disjointed and disorganised and each person is an individual and yet they are still moving in a group. This is appropriate because Reg is not an organised person and he would not work well as a group as he is more of an independent creature.
For the voice of our creature we came to the decision that his ‘voice’ would need to resemble that of his actual voice; droning and extremely boring as every other character finds him, he would drink from the pool while very engrossed in the water and would splash around in it and be very amused by it, showing some of his immature side. When faced with the task of acting out what our character would do if he were to wash himself, we chose to just flop onto the mattress (our watering hole) and splash the water and just lie in it as her is not interested in washing himself but in playing in the watering hole. We decided to have different reactions to each character.
Name Of Character
How we would act?
Why we would act this way?
Be very calm, even friendly, offering a place at the watering hole.
Reg likes Norman, in opposition of all the others who all hate him with the exception of Annie and I think Reg finds him extremely amusing.
Be quite disinterested but also quite friendly.
Disinterested because they are siblings and lived together for most of their life and friendly as they have a common enemy in Sarah.
Treat her like a loving child and keep her safe from others.
Reg would do this because he thinks of Annie as his sweet younger sister and likes to take care of her.
Reg treats Tom like a friend.
He thinks that he is suitable for Annie.
Be very hostile.
This is because he hates Sarah and there is no actual love between them. They are only together because of their children.
Marking the Moment
The second explorative strategy which we used in order to explore our characters was marking the moment. ‘Marking the moment’ is when a moment in a scene of particular significance is emphasised in some way, this may be by freezing the scene or by using thoughts spoken out loud. Since ‘Table Manners’ is a naturalistic play these methods cannot be used and other methods have to be used.
The moment we chose to mark was the point in the play at which it is just Reg and Tom alone together in the dining room. Tom is talking about how he thinks that Annie wanted him to take her on a weekend holiday with him and Reg is talking about golf and his childhood days at which point Tom realises he has missed out on a weekend of pleasure with Annie.
This moment is significant because it clearly shows Toms realisation and ignorance and Reg’s disinterest in others’ matters, giving us a clear insight into both characters. We marked this moment by using Tom’s facial expressions to show what he was thinking during Reg’s ignorant speech about aeroplanes. This helped me to understand Reg much better because it showed me that he is a very shallow person and only cares about a few things in life; food, golf and his own personal satisfaction.
In conclusion I think that these strategies helped me to better understand my character due to the fact that it forces you to think about what your character would be like outside of the set lines in the play and he or she would be as an actual person and this develops the way I can fit into the role of the character in order to fulfil the role.