In the morning, Jamie, Liam and I met up for a few hours to discuss ‘No Exit’. This was our first in-depth talk on what we wanted to achieve with our performance and any ideas we had for the piece. We all wanted to have read the whole play before we started to work on the piece and this really benefitted the discussion. Erica had already given us a suggestion of who should play certain characters and we all agreed with the casting, as we think it shows off our acting abilities the best with this combination of characters. I will be playing ‘Estelle’, Liam will be playing ‘Garcin’ and Jamie ‘Inez’. We then talked about which part of the play we wanted to perform and we agreed that the beginning part would work really well, as our audience won’t struggle to understand the context, like they would if we performed a section nearer the end, as it relies on the audience knowing what has happened in the play earlier on. It also captures what the whole play is about and we will still be able to get ‘Sartre’s’ message across, that ‘Hell is other people’.
We then went on to have a discussion of some production ideas for the performance. As the play ‘No Exit’ is set in Hell, our group decided early on that we wanted to keep our set and props to a minimum. We want the audiences focus to be on what we are saying and the message of the piece, rather than some props, which would not have fit our performance, due to the circumstance of them being in Hell. Therefore for the room that the three characters are in, we want it to feel empty, so that the thought of having to spend eternity there was not pleasant. That is why we made the choice not to have props and only the set which is specifically mentioned in the play. This includes, a red sofa, a blue sofa and a vivid green one. To create these pieces of set, we knew that it would be too difficult to use actual sofas, due to the fact they would be hard to source and we would struggle to move them between performances. Therefore we came up with the idea of using the sofa blocks that we have at college, and then drape them with the coloured material which each sofa is meant to be. This should solve the transportation problems, as they are much lighter than actual sofas. As well as this, we want a small square table, which again we could find at college, and this would hold a speaker or gramma phone. We want this, as our idea is to have the lines of ‘The Valet’ pre recorded and it would give the impression that the characters could hear the voice through the device. This solves the issue of us having three actors and four characters in the play.
For lighting, we again decided that we want to keep it minimalistic and we have decided that a white tone would work really well for our piece. This is because it makes it feel clinical or hospital like. We want it to be bright and almost painful for the three characters, to again make the experience of being in the room and in Hell , less enjoyable. We want our piece to open with the pre recorded voice of ‘The Valet’ and we think that a fade in would work really well along side this. We also have a very dramatic end line to our section of the play, which we think should be accompanied by a snap out on the lights. This makes it more impactful and dramatic as the audience are left on a cliff hanger.
As for our sound, we want the start of our piece to be pre recorded by one of the male members of our college. We want them to record ‘The Valets’ line which introduces ‘Estelle’ into the room. This means that although we aren’t going from the start of the play, the audience will still understand where the characters are and what is happening. It also adds and element of mystery as it leaves people wondering who the voice is and where they are. This is the only sound we want for our piece, as again we want to keep it as minimalistic as possible, as we think that style works well for ‘Jean Paul Sartre’s’ message.
To come up with all of these ideas we started by going through the play and writing down any mention of props, costume and specific set requirements. We then built upon this as a group and came up with some more ideas, which we think are achievable and would fit the style of our piece well. I then chose later to write these down and put them in a mind map, with the quotes which support our production choices in pink.
In our scripted lesson with Gary, we were given a new script to work on, It is a comedy scene which I will be performing with Karolis and then again with Ryan. It is an American side, with two characters. I will be playing ‘Ms Duffy’ and they will play ‘Eddie’. We are planning on disecting and working on how we want to characterise our chatacters over Easter and then we can meet up for rehearsals when we return to college.
We showed our initial blocking of ‘Alice’ to ‘Erica’. She agreed with a lot of the suggestions for improvement that we came up with yesterday, as areas to focus on. She also suggested that we do our piece without the table. This would make ‘The Hatter’ and ‘The Hare’ seem even more mad and would fit in really well with Surrealism, which is the art movement that our painting is in and that our piece is inspired by. At first our group was unsure whether we wanted to do this, but by the end of our session we all agreed that we will try it after Easter when we are next scheduled to rehearse, as the suggestion could really add to our performance and make it very different from other performances of ‘Alice’. Erica also informed us that our piece was going to be at a good length for the performance, so we won’t need to cut down the lines. It should be perfect after we have learnt our lines and got the pace of the piece, which we are glad about, as we think the section of the play works well as a performance piece.