Research material Essay
Our stimulus was the photograph of ‘The Falling Man’ and from this we began to brainstorm our ideas. After coming up with our starting point, the fall of the economy and society, we then started to distribute topics to research amongst the group. The first point to target was economic disasters; from this we decided to look at information about the credit crunch and the Wall Street crash to provide the starting point of our research.
There were certain bits of our research that had to be gathered during the process of devising for example in the Prostitute scene we had to gather information on mythological creatures such as sirens and harpies. A lot of our research on this subject ended up being the starting point for almost all of the chorus’ characters for this scene. Also in the war scene we drew our research from comic TV shows such as Black Adder and Monty Python, again this research went straight into our scenes and provided us with stepping stones to experiment and explore all the content that could be created using their unique senses of style and humour.
Our resources were mostly Internet for our research on the Wall Street Crash, mainly websites like Wikipedia and the BBC website, but we made sure to research the information we had found again from different sources so as to make sure that the information it provided was correct. I had also found a guide to economics and found some references from it that we used in the process, to stimulating or integrating with our ideas, we used some of these during the devising process.
However none of these references made it through to staying in the final performance, we decided this as a group agreeing that the addition of the economic jargon would make it too convoluted. For the research on mythological creatures we used research from the Internet and various books, one being a Dorling Kindersley guide, we also took a look at books like ‘His Dark Materials’ for representation of mythological creatures such as daemons, angels and harpies, the latter was to aid the content of the prostitute scene however this research was not used as harpies weren’t what we were thinking as a seductress.
We then explored sirens in a book I had and decided that that was a far more realistic way to go to represent our seductresses. As for the War scene we gathered research on the style we wanted to emulate by watched videos of ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ and ‘Black Adder Goes Forth’. The gathering of our research material was co-ordinated by individuals doing there own research and, where relevant, discussing it with the group to see if certain finds were appropriate to incorporate into a particular scene and making sure the information was strong enough to underpin or add to the scene and, ultimately, our plot.
When collecting research material we found that the group were looking up the same things, doubling up on various topics, and finding the same information. This was due to everybody using the same research source, the Internet. We overcame this by making sure everyone knew what they were supposed to research and encouraged people going to the library and finding external sources rather than looking everything up on the Internet, which has liabilities.
Our research formed the basis to create the beginning scene of the play, after researching the economy and finding a poem based on a nuclear attack; one of the members of the group combined these two sources. This created a brilliant introduction to our piece that took the form of an emergency service announcement (replicating the poem) but re-written as if it were announcing the fall of the economy. After gathering this we then began to brainstorm ideas for action, lighting, sounds etc. to create a scene representing emergency and panic but without using actors to portray it.
This steered us, inevitably, towards flashing police lights and sirens, the obvious choice being a World War II air raid siren. A lot of our research was disregarded, especially at the beginning of the process during brainstorming, this was when we were trying to find the deeper meaning through the image of ‘The Falling Man’ but, to do this, we kept coming back to research on 9/11 which, we knew when we started, wasn’t the direction we wanted to take. But after our final take on the stimulus was decided we began focussing on our economic and social research.
Explorations, into mythological creatures especially, created fresh ideas during rehearsal time, for example in the prostitute scene. Thinking about the prostitute scene we kept coming back to the idea of sirens and harpies following on from this, after our research material had been collated and discussed, numerous members of the group began having clearer and clearer ideas for the actual behaviour of these creatures we were creating. From our workshops we deduced that we needed creatures that were a cross between seductresses and monsters to lure the protagonist of his path and then put his life in danger once they’d done so.
In our final performance the prostitutes waited until the protagonist fell asleep the manipulated his body to move him then, as he woke up, began stroking and caressing him slowly getting more aggressive, agitated and hideous. This was the research material that we collected later. I also decided to research some more World War II propaganda as, at this point; I didn’t know what our set was going to look like for the Battle scene and thought that we could have a screen behind us donning WWII propaganda, postcards, pictures etc. this research was also disregarded, as we didn’t end up with a screen behind us at all.
The research I did for my character was mainly through hot seating, I tried to draw from former experiences of bullying, peer pressure and losing a loved one then collating it all and exaggerating each individual experience to imagine being taken away from an entire family and being plunged into cannibalistic tribe of siren-esque women. Our whole play desired an awful lot of research just to make the characters seem real enough. For my character I thought that this research into various area would create a fuller more believable character.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 7 July 2017
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