Explore the impact of social, cultural and historical conditions on the work

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As a group, the way we developed our play all connected to the social and cultural issues that we are aware of and can relate to. In many ways when we were developing our characters we often looked for a way of relating the situation to something we knew so that we could understand the emotions. The initial knowledge we had on our subject matter developed from things around us that we were influenced by, for instance the culture we live in. Our whole piece was influence by our own social and cultural backgrounds, even when we weren’t aware of it, many decisions we made relate back to this.

Various playwrights and theatre styles had an influence on our play. Brecht’s principal concern is to put over a message in such a way that an audience can be in no doubt as to the intentions of the performance. We wanted to also make sure our audience was in no doubt as to the intentions of our performance. Brecht was a key influence when devising our play. Many parts of the play are very abstract and involve a very epic theatre approach. As our play was an ensemble and we were all working together, we took this idea from Stanislavski in to consideration when performing.

Stanislavskian theatre acted as a foundation for our notion of naturalism. Stanislavsky spoke of the all-important ‘Rehearsal Process,’ in which it is essential for an actor to turn into the character however uphold the understanding that there is a specific division between themselves and the character they play. Individually I tried to follow this by slowly working through the scenes and therefore carefully attempting to develop my character and understand it fully. We specifically made the characters have there own unique speech and movement in the scenes we created.

Stanislavksy’s concept of the Rehearsal Process” helped me get in to character and enhanced our play with an overall more naturalistic effect. In drama we have also studied Alan Ayckbourn’s play ‘Absurd Person Singular’. In this I saw how he uses offstage characters in order to create added comedic effect. This technique we decided to use in our comic scene, where the offstage character (Peter) adds comedy to the scene and also has an impact on the timing and the audience’s attention. After studying the stimulus we were given, we decided to focus on our initial ideas and fully develop them in order to expand and express our ideas.

By having lo of people in our group it enabled us to completely develop and expand our play in ways that we wouldn’t have done if we were working alone. After creating a brainstorm of all our initial ideas, we then allocated tasks within the group so that we could gain further research for our play. Many of the themes and subjects that we raised are very topical matters that are open in society, such as the girl who lost her baby. A lot of the issues we raised in our play were due to things that we can relate too or have witnessed ourselves.

The theme that we choose to tackle was that of judging people and people masking the truth. We felt that this theme was very current and we could all individually relate to this. By choosing a theme we could relate to, we felt it would allow us to develop our characters and keep the play interesting to the audience. We also thought this theme would be common ground for the audience and therefore maintain their attention. The overall idea and our message of behind closed doors was a predominant aspect that we want the audience to perceive.

When we were first placed in our groups it was clear that we all wanted to give an equal input. When we initially discussed our ideas being in a group enabled us to come up with a wide range of varied thoughts and opinions. It also allowed us to discuss and critically analyse what would and wouldn’t work as a group. Everyone in the group had a different skill to offer and we all had very different personalities which helped us devise a play that would appeal to the audience and also make it enjoyable for us to play.

Having lots of people in our group allowed us to fully develop and express our play it ways that we wouldn’t have done if we were working alone. When there were certain tasks that needed to be allocated within the group, we did this by discussing who would prefer to do what in order to make things fair. I came across an article about how a celebrity who most girls would want to be like and assume was faultless, was in fact suffering from anorexia. This tied in with our idea that even thought most celebrities are thought to have the perfect life; no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors.

What people always assume people are like isn’t necessarily the truth. The picture of the girl shows her looking in the mirror. The mirror for us stands as a signification of someone having two faces and how people mask their true selves, they may look happy but you never know how they are and what happens behind closed doors when their home. Gaining all our research for the play was a significant part in the development. During our own time we went to see plays and watched various programmes in order to gain ideas.

For my part in a wheelchair, I watched a programme on sky, which featured a disabled women, I carefully watched her movement in order to make mine as natural as possible. When members of the group went to see plays we made sure that in the next lesson we would discuss any possible ideas we could take from what we had seen and develop within our piece. We felt gaining ideas from outside the group would enable our play to appeal to a wider audience and also test our skills in trying different things. After deciding on the themes of our play we decided to think about the characters.

My character came from the group simply brainstorming ideas of people we could use to go through the park. We wanted to steer away from the stereotypical characters and try to find ideas with more depth. When we thought of having someone who was in a wheelchair, we thought this would be a really clever character to challenge the audience with. Often when you see a disabled person you do assume their unhappy and feel sorry for them; however our character was quite simply the opposite. She wasn’t disabled but merely liked the fact of getting attention from being in a wheelchair.

On first impressions the character sounds particularly immoral however after the audience hear the monologue they find out the reasons why and learn more about the character. Our social and cultural backgrounds have shaped our drama and made an impact on the final play. When often discussing our ideas as a group we referred to things we had previously learnt or plays we had seen. We did this almost all the time sub-consciously in lessons and even ideas that seemed good but somehow couldn’t be shaped as part of the drama were in some way altered in order to fit in.

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