Review, Pages 8 (1945 words)
“No direction home” follows the story of three brothers and sisters, their estranged relationships and how they come to terms with the legacy of their parents’ troubled separation when they were children. Now as adults the siblings are forced to address some unfinished business… The basic story line of the play was about Dee, Hal and Emily, how they were having great average lives as children at home. Dee was 10 years old. Emily was 16 years old. Hal was 14 years old. It starts off with the reunion of the three at the end point of the play.
Hal comes on while there is music with dimmed lights has a monologue about his old life and how he missed his old room. It has been a long time since he has been in the house. Emily and Dee enter the house and Emily hears Hal’s whistling and singing. When he comes down he is shocked. Annoyed that Dee had lied to him about their meeting and so is Emily.
Hal doesn’t want anything to do with Emily etc… Flash-back of their past. Hal and Dee are coursing trouble. You see them experiencing very playful and fun pact childhood lives and one day they have an important conversation.
They start discuss how they realize their parents aren’t getting on too well and might get a divorce. Hal comes up with crazy ideas to try and stop them. Emily says they are crazy but Hal says at least he is trying to help.
Everyone eventually begins to gradually break down and losing their family love and are always getting on at each other. Eventually the divorce is decided on and mom moves out. Hal decides to be one of the kids who goes with the mom. Emily and Dee don’t want him to go. Hal moves out of his old room and misses it.
Hal a few months on gets into a big fight with Emily and tells her that he never wants to see her again if she keeps defending dad but tells Dee to keep in touch because she is too young. From there the play develops back to the 3 as adults. Dee says he wants the two of them Emily and Hal to sort everything out so they can be a family again after 15 years. Hal looks at a letter their dad wrote them now that he is dad he could give him that last respect. Dad is very sorry about everything and how he couldn’t talk to Hal in person but says how it was all moms’ fault.
The acting in the play was excellent I believe personally. I was particularly impressed by various fields of their work. Hal (Actor): I think the actor highlighted the subtleties of playing his part. I really felt as if I was not seeing the actor himself but the character he is supposed to be playing and in this case Hal. This might also have been due to the fact that as a group we had not heard the actor speaking or known his personal character at all before the start. As a 14 year old boy he was very playful and mischievous and you could hear and see it in scenes he played.
The tone of his voice was also very good despite the natural deepness of the actors voice you could tell the character coming across was not an adult at all. The scene when he came back home drunk was acted very well and showed the change in attitude and lack of control a child of his age would be. I think as an adult the actor was brilliant and really showed the emotion which would be flowing in Hal after what he has been through and his slight mischievousness which as a child he would keep throughout his life. The actor made such a serious play as this very funny at the appropriate times.
This was mostly done in the childhood scenes, his constant telling of jokes, childhood pranks, emotion during these pranks. The scene of Hal drunk did this especially the best as it was just after the scene of him leaving and all the sadness it just lightened the mood and took the audience back to the times of them being in so much joy and happiness. Generally the stereotype of drunken people is very funny and when this is acted well it bring the comedy into the play. The comedy also made some scenes brilliant especially scenes with high tension like the argument at the end it jut lightened the mood.
The actor very well physically played the character of Hal with all his emotions, jokes, pranks, feelings and energetic movement to a high level and made him most enjoyable to watch. Emily (Actor): I think the actor highlighted the character highlighted the subtleties of playing his part in one way but not in another. I really felt as an adult version of Emily the actor was brilliant and showed all the aspects for a woman in her situation and really took the role in a deep level. The character showed the incredible emotion which comes across family being torn apart, from the tears to all the anger being felt.
The tone of the voice was also used very well to sound it a most quite sincere fashion. The end scene where he was trying to talk to Hal but Hal wouldn’t listen was acted particularly well and showed that character exactly as she should be depicted. As a child of 16 I felt that the actor could have put a little bit more in. She seemed to be at times playing two different characters. At times she seemed as if she was playing the character very well and showing the emotions, feelings and thoughts which a 16 year old would take.
But at times she seemed to be showing emotions and voice tones a girl at a younger age than 16. The actor’s role did not involve comedy in general so the comedy in the play was not shown through her. But one scene when she dresses up Hal as a girl was good comedy. Also sometimes as a 16 year old her over anger made some events 2quite funny and exaggerated. She did not completely inhabit the role of the character in a way that for the whole play she seemed to be playing none else but that character.
As an adult she was brilliant and showed so much emotion, movement, gestures that the role was perfect but as a child she was not quite in the right frame of mind. Dee (Actor): I think the actor highlighted the subtleties involved in playing this character extremely well. She showed a much exaggerated character with a babyish voice, babyish walk and babyish gestures. This worked very well with the 10 year old Dee. I was impressed so much with the depiction of the character that if the actor was very small I would have found it hard to believe she was acing, that is how well she took on the role.
She also showed well things children that age do for example temper tantrums, childish speaking and attention seeking. She also was very quick paced with the way she performed which is exactly how children live their lives especially at that age. As an adult there was a complete transformation to the depiction of the character in a way was amazing from the before of the childish voice, childish walking and standing to a complete adult which still bore the scars and personality of Dee but more mature. She was still very emotional but in a different way, a more grown up way like Emily was.
The actor here brought out the comedy which should have come from Dee very well. She did this throughout the play with the sound of her voice and her actions as a child. She did this a lot when with the other two characters through annoyance and curiosity. The character I feel physically inhabited their character in the best way possible compared to their other two actors. She did not just act one part of her character very well and enjoyably but both parts as an adult and a child. I think the design of the set worked very well. It was set in a round. This made it more powerful.
It enhanced the play because in the round everyone in the audience was so much closer to the actors they felt part of it. Even if an actor trod on your foot or felt on you; it all made you feel part of the play. At times the actors even interacted with the audience. All changes made to the set during moving equipment or anything was very y clear throughout the play. From what I noticed the actors did not have costumes and just had casual work clothes on but this did not take anything from the effect away. Due to there being no costumes in the play; the costumes were consistent throughout the play.
There was only one scene were costumes were used and that was the scene where Hal came back drunk and Dee and Emily made him dress like a girl. Here the costume were not designed in any way and probably were just chosen. There was no confusion about the period the costumes were based in any way and they were consistent to their certain time and place. The sound and lighting changed the play’s atmosphere very well. It gave a spot light to focus attention on certain characters at their key moments. It also blacked out to show when a scene is over or when scenery was being shifted around.
The sound was also particularly good because it gave more atmosphere when for example they were using voices in someone’s head the voice seemed like it was coming from everywhere and not just one place which was more interesting. The music played also was more interesting and gave a good idea of the time setting. All the sound was recorded. If I could see the musicians they would not be pat of the play and would conventionally be part of an orchestra pit. There were no special stage effects used which would wow or amaze someone besides lights and sounds.
This was quite a low budget drama piece and cost i??195 to perform. There was one thing which wasn’t spectacular but impressed me was the presentation of all the rooms in a micro form of their original selves in boxes. When every character got into deep dialogue or something in the scene was based on them they opened the box to show a miniature version of the characters bedroom. I wouldn’t like to think of the play as being an imaginary world because what they showed was very real and I would like to say they depicted a real life event very well.
I come to the conclusion that overall the play was brilliant there were minor things which I didn’t like but minor. I didn’t like the way Emily was shown as a 16 year old. To me it seemed a bit out of character didn’t match what was required. I really enjoyed the ending of how all the characters stood next to their rooms and started speaking synchronized and spun their rooms. I thought this was a great way of showing confusion. Below is the diagram of the basic stage setup of the play at the beginning. I have purposely left out the actors because they are not part of the stage-craft.