Thursday 8th September 2016 – Practical Commission, Character And Obesrvation

Today we had a practical commission lesson and talked about cautionary tales. We looked at how their purpose is to teach children a certain way to behave; usually the social norms. We also discussed how a lot of attention needs to be paid to who the audience is for a show and that it needs to cater for the ‘lowest common denominator’. This means making sure the content is appropriate, for an example young children may not cope well if something is too scary or complex. This is useful for our commission work as we are unsure of who will walk past us because we will be performing in a public space. Also as it is at the Christmas fair, there are likely to be a lot of families with younger children.This means we will need to make our piece appropriate for all ages. We then went on to look at how heroic and villainous characters tend to have stock voices to immerse and engage audiences. As we are doing traditional stories I think this is useful to know and apply to our characters and an option for a villain may be using creak voice, which was a good suggestion that someone in the group contributed. Some wider knowledge that I acquired from the practical today was on zoomorphism. I had looked at anthropomorphism in English language A level but knowing about zoomorphism in theatre will be really useful for our commission project, as you tend to find the characteristics of humans and animals cross over in traditional stories. Lynn said something that stuck with me today which was ‘honest and truthful performances don’t always have to be naturalistic’. This is something I hadn’t really thought about until now but I completely agree and something I think will be important to remember in acting out traditional stories. To build on this I plan to experiment in our group pieces with getting a truthful but not necessarily naturalistic performance.

We also had a session on character and observation today. We began by walking around the room and picked another person in the room to observe. We looked at the way in which they walked and then tried to copy it, after this we then exaggerated the features of how they walked. This showed how much small traits like how someone walks can vary so much between different people. The way people walk can also reflect peoples impressions of that person, so for acting it was really useful being able to see what other people in the group thought about each persons walk, so that in the future I can apply the different traits to build a more believable character. We also looked at how people hold themselves and how this can sometimes reflect status, for example standing tall with your chin slightly raised connotes power and authority. This was again interesting to see how slight variations in body positioning can affect how people see your character. I am going to be looking out for how people walk and stand more closely in my everyday life now, just so I can see in real life situations how it shows a persons emotions towards what they’re doing. Hopefully this will develop my skills in observation and also help me to gain a knowledge of how to realistically show emotion without over exaggerating.

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