For the past term and a half I have been studying Blue Remembered Hills as part of my Drama Coursework and a couple of weeks ago I performed an extract from the play with three fellow students. I will be writing about my Work In Progress and how well we worked together as a group to make our performance successful. To do this I will be focusing on the rehearsal process and the final performance.
The rehearsals went very well, with steady progress throughout each session. The main strengths were the whole groups ability to pick up words, stage directions and changes quickly, for example when we decided to use a domino effect for our entrance. This effect was put in close to the end of our whole rehearsal process but we never had any problems with it and no one forgot it either. We also had all our lines learnt by the fourth lesson which meant we could get on with focusing on our stage directions and character analysis.
Our main weaknesses were our character analysis, for example one of our group members found it hard to perform as his character because his personality was very different to his characters and his volume was a slight issue as well. I also found it hard to perform as my character because at the beginning I would let the status slip slightly at the wrong moment and I wasn’t seen as the bully anymore, I would also have to be careful about my pitch because I was playing a boy and sometimes my voice would come off girly and high pitched.
One of our main problems was that some of us had other commitments like work or clubs that made it hard to organise lunchtime or after school rehearsals this affected our rehearsal process because when we managed to organise a rehearsal it had to be a short one or someone might have forgotten or not been able to make it, so it was hard for our teacher to asses our work and give us feedback if there was someone missing. We over came our problem by working extra hard in our lesson time so we could pay off for it that way. We also tried to work outside a lot so it could help us imagine our surroundings and the sort of things a seven year old would do outside.
I found my strengths were my ability to incorporate ideas into our work and give constructive criticism. I don’t feel there was a directors role because we all had ideas and were able to give each other advice on their character build up. I felt I was able to help the group improve practise by asking for line reruns and workshops to improve our overall characters. My main weakness was character analysis (as above) mainly because, as a group, we didn’t do enough character analysis and this could have helped me.
I feel my contribution benefited the rehearsal process because I could keep the group focused on a task and I was a good team player. I fell I could have helped others in my group more without feeling I was going to offend them because it affects the whole group dynamics if one person is unsure and it shouldn’t have to be a hindrance. The demands of working in a group are to not mess around or waste time, because you have to put as much effort in as your group members otherwise it isn’t fair, and you are putting the whole group in jeopardy and therefore are not able to make a satisfactory performance.
In our final performance the domino effect worked really well as opening the scene because it gave us all the energy we needed to open the scene as seven year old boys. The thing that didn’t work well was the dirt on the floor, the sticks were fine, it was just the debris and mud on the floor that didn’t work. We put it there to make the scene more site-specific but it was unnecessary because we didn’t need to use it as a prop and had to sweep it up afterwards as well!! Our strengths as a group was our ability to stay in character even when we weren’t speaking because this helped to keep the energy levels high and keep the performance interesting.
As an individual performance my strengths were my volume and diction because I felt I carried my words out so everyone could hear me. My weaknesses were my body language and pitch because I would often slip out of my characters voice and body language. For example when I am fighting with John I would lead from my chest which isn’t manly. I felt our group created a performance that clearly expressed a theme suited to our target audience. We achieved this by developing skills which enabled us to broaden our minds and act as seven year olds.
I was able to play my character because: My voice was mainly boyish and I was able to pull off bully mannerisms; My body language was like a seven year old because instead of sitting I would squat, or I would fold my arms to show stroppiness when someone does something I don’t like; My facial expressions suited the mood I was in or the situation that was happening, like when the atmosphere dropped when everyone looked at the squirrel in guilt I changed my facial expression to look uncomfortable or guilty; My gestures were large and clumsy like that of a child like when we were trying to get the squirrel out of the tree I would wave my stick or hurl stones at it; And my interactions with others on stage were that of a higher status character and sometimes very nasty because I was a bully and carried the higher status, likely after my fight with John I stuck my tongue out at him and made other nasty gestures towards him.
Overall I felt that my performance and our overall work in progress was a success and we worked very well as a group to make our performance successful.