The production we saw was made by the Hull Truck Theatre Company and was played at the Oxford New Theatre and was called Bouncers. This play was written and directed by John godber.
This play was very naturalistic; it did not use any props apart from the handbags. This made the play more free flowing and was no long wait for set changes or costume change. The plot of the play was to explain what the nightlife of the city was.
This then led to personal events of “the Bouncers” where Eric says speeches about him and his wife. These speeches highlight broken up relationships and how these broken up marriages go onto the streets of the town to try and find another partner or a businessman on a business trip going out to have an innocent fling. This was the society at the time and brought up issues of adultery and marriage. These speeches did affect the comedy aspect of the play but did raise issues of life of a workingman or woman in the 1970’s this in affect is spass where you learn through humour.
The structure of the play was very central in the sense that it was all in one place but the actors changed from one plot to another, which intertwine in the centre of the club. The genre of this play is an observational comedy, which is, based on Godbers personal experiences, this links with lucky Eric’s speeches on where Godbers put down his thoughts and experiences into the play and lets the audience learn about it in a spass content.
There are many key scenes and climax points in ‘Bouncers’ but I think the main scene is lucky Eric’s last speech when he comments about the girl and a boy having sexual intercourse in an alleyway when the girl is eating a pizza. I think this is a climax point as well because the words that are used to describe are very well used to shock the audience about what is happening, this really gets to you.
The actors broke the forth wall as they talked to the audience and made them feel involved. A good example of this is Eric’s speeches where he talks directly to the audience throughout. The style of the acting was naturalistic. The actors used their voices to portray many different feelings and emotions but the most obvious of all was the raise of the pitch of their voices when they were girls in the nightclub. This as well of their props and body language showed that they were girls and overall made a better image for the audience to see. Another successful acting style was the flow of the play. The four actors were all timed exactly in sync with each other, as it would be in real life, which made the play more interesting and enjoyable to watch. The best example of this is where they acted out the pornographic video in reverse; this type of acting style also adds diversity to the performance.
The use of space and levels was used well in the sense that all parts of the stage was used, this made the audiences mind active instead of looking at the same area of the stage for the whole of the play. The actors used this technique throughout the play but especially in the club where the DJ is in the corner up high and all the actors are spread across the stage, this again let the audience look all around the performing area. The characters in ‘Bouncers’ between the boys and girls are a major contrast. The group of boys in the club are constantly bickering about each other’s background life; this however is completely different with the girls who are all good friends and get on well together apart from typical gill bitching which was conveyed in the script.
The management of stage traffic is handled very well since there are only 4 actors and there is never a point where the acting stops for a costume change. The audience reactions to the different acting styles is generally very positive however when Eric’s speeches were being acted there were many sighs from the audience including me, I feel that they became a bit tedious. The set used was very plain and was representational. The colour of the set was black, which represents nightlife of a town and inside of the club, which were both of the scenes. There were no changes of set since there was no need to. The only contrasts or visual variety that I remember was the smoke screens to represent in the club, this helped as you could tell clearly if it was inside or outside the club since there was only two scenes.
The lighting design was not very elaborate since it was only white spot, floodlights and strobe lights, to change the mood of the set the lighting operator would either brighten or dim the lights. This helped since it again helped to differ between in and outside the club by lighting or dimming the lights (dimming being in the club). The overall effect of the lights did not play a big part in the play but helped to show the audience what background all the characters were in.
The costumes told us that first off the men were Bouncers by there black suits the colour of the suit was significant because it made the costumes realistic and if they were any other kind of colour the audience would not recognise them as Bouncers. Another clever way the costumes were used was by using a handbag to show the audience that the actors were no longer Bouncers but were girls at the club. The pre-recorded music that was up-tempo and played along with the actors voice as the DJ set the mood for the club.
The impression that I got from the audiences respond to the play was very positive and contributed to the performance. The audience did this by laughing at the jokes, which gives the actors more confidence and lifts up the mood in the theatre. The actors were very aware of the audience in both senses since the audience laughed and sighed at certain pieces of the play so the actors definitely aware of the audience. As a member of the audience I emphasised with the characters and felt emotionally involved. I think this effect was made by talking directly to the audience through Eric’s speeches, using many other drama techniques including slow motion and breaking the fourth wall.
The overall success of the performance was due to the timing by all the actors and the jokes that kept the audience interesting and at the same time portraying many social problems in British nightlife. The best piece of the performance was the rewind of the video. I think this was the best because it is different from any other theatre piece and being a drama student I can understand how much rehearsal and time it took to make that piece as perfect as it was. My final judgement is that it is a well worked play and gives both comical and political aspects to the audience, which makes the audience educated and jolly after coming out of the theatre. The general impression that I am left with is that the issues in the play that were raised moved me. These showed just how British life has degraded; I think the best way to portray this is in this play and especially the pizza scene by the ally. This play has brought up many issues and will always enjoy any type of audience.
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