We used Brecht's technique of stepping into a character to help us picture our character more clearly and to exaggerate their posture and expressions to make them even more exaggerated so that they are very strong charicatures. This is particularly helpful now that we are doing a montage of scenes as we will all play more than one character and it will help to be able to step into one character and then another completely different one, because we are familiar with them from this Brechtian technique.
-emotional distancing -slapstick -non-realistic
Transitive verbs are useful for focussing on what the character is trying to do or achieve in each line they say. It gives all their actions reasoning, and this will be very helpful once we have our script so that we can understand our characters' intentions more intimately.
Can't Pay, Won't Pay:
This play has many similarities to the piece we are now devising as it is a completely farcical, slapstick play. In both this play and our own devised piece, it is the characters more than the lines that will bring the play together; they need to be strongly developed and exaggerated to make the play funny enough to pull off the ridiculous plot. For example, some of our scenes broach contemporary, clutural, slightly controvertial issues, such as homosexuality and cross-dressing in the date scene. But we have developed this scene in a way that makes it funny and light-hearted by filling it with crude jokes and comical situations. We think that making the scene funny by playing the characters very exaggeratedly and stereotypical will make it more successful with the audience than ....... However, like Can't Pay, Won't Pay still managed to convey a political message and the underlying anger at the government of the time, I think it is important that our play still communicates the importance of the included issues.
This play, similarly to Can't Pay, Won't Pay, includes multi-roling and massive, comical secrets, (i.e. the fake pregnancy in Dario Fo's play and all the secrets in our montage of scenes).
One Man, Two Guvnors:
Seeing this performance will help us to improve our piece as it was a very funny play and we can learn a lot from the performances of the actors. All of the characters were very stereotypical, for example, the blond, ditzy girl with a repeated catch phrase: 'I don't understand!' and the posh boy who keeps mentioning his experiences in boarding school and says ridiculous things: 'Soggy biscuits!' or 'Oh, whoopsy, butter fingers!' which sound much funnier when said in his outrageously posh accent. We considered using some funny catchphrases in our theatre piece, something that might be repeated that would capture the audience's attention. We created a few lines like this which stick out, such as the class calling the teacher 'Miss Didgeridoo' in the PE scene, and trying to incorporate 'butter fingers!' into the date scene.
Something that we have also included in our piece is the repetition of a character called Trev. In the date scene Shirley pretends to be Trev, in the office scene Margo threatens to go back to trev, in the PE scene Trev had advised Stacy and Tracy to steal PE equipment, and in the builder scene Pia's character keeps leaving the room to look for Trev, the birthday boy. We never see the real Trev but this creates a link between the scenes aside from the theme of secrets and it keeps surprising the audience and inspires curiosity and comedy.
The physicality of all the characters in One Man, Two Guvnors was exaggerated a lot which increased the comedic value. An example was the old waiter, who shook very obviously as he walked around, and all his movements were slow and methodical, and looked painful even. This was hilarious to watch, especially as he kept falling down some stairs. The actor really played up to the archetype of an old deaf and feeble man with a pacemaker, who kept answering the wrong questions.
The play's fast pace made it more entertaining for the audience and there was a lot of build-up to completely over the top situations, like the dinner scene. At this point, the entrances and exits were so quick, that all the characters were practically moving around on top of each other. There were clearly things going on off stage, which is related to our date scene, where the waiter shouts backstage in the kitchen.
The play involved several asides or monologues to the audience, often explaining a situation or confiding in the audience, and telling them what they were going to do before they do it. Some of the things they mentioned were things the audience could easily relate to, like Wooly's and when the characters thought about what might happen in the future and they predicted things like phones everyone could carry round with them, but that would be bad because your mum might ring when you're in the theatre, or that there would be a woman in government who made things better for the poor (a joke on Thatcher). We decided it would be good to include some asides to the audience to increase the hilarity and include them more. We did this in the date scene when the waiter mutters things about Shirley and Jackie, and when he says 'But I no like the Jackie.' as she is coming on to him. Part of the waiter's character is to be a bit wild and extravagant, so him muttering and confessing things to the audience works well to convey this.
We dedicated some of our lessons to improving the quality of our lines after seeing the play, trying to include as many inuendoes as possible, such as in the office scene which we based in Jeffrey's work place which is a pencil company and this gave us an opportunity to use several inuendoes about pencils.
To make our performance as funny as possible, we wanted to use physical disasters as we saw being used in One Man, Two Guvnors, such as.......
Also, in the play Noises Off, there were several big moments that centred around physicality, mostly in the ?secondhalf? of the play when the audience saw the characters behind the stage getting into a big mess and hurrying around and getting into quiet fights with each other. That section of the play was mostly physical rather than vocal as the characters were actors backstage of their own play being performed in front of an audience. At one point a character had his shoelaces tied together and needed to be up the stairs to go out on stage from a blcony door, so he hopped up the stairs with his feet tied together. There were several moments like this in Noises Off and they were some of the funniest parts of the play.