In our groups we presented the progress that we have made in ‘Art and Life’. We explained some of the research that we had gathered, on the two pieces, which you can see in much greater depth in Unit 8 Task 5 and Task 6. We also talked about what we had done so far regarding the casting and process of choosing our characters. We explained about the play, giving our group context to the pieces we will eventually be performing, so that they have a better understanding of our contribution to the show, along with our aims and intentions for our piece. We also mentioned the art work, and everything that we had found out about it in our research. It is important we all know about the inspiration for our pieces, as it led to a lot of decision in our actual piece, such as removing the table in our ‘Alice’ piece, to fit the surreal style more.
To find our characters in ‘Alice’, we started by reading through the scene as a group. We did this multiple times, with different people reading different characters each time. That way we could find the best combination and work out who should play which character. We already knew going into the rehearsals that I would be playing Alice, and we ended up choosing Liam to play the character of ‘The Mad Hatter’, as he had an extravagance in the read though which fitted the character perfectly. The way he looks is also very castable as ‘The Mad Hatter’ so it will be more believable for the audience which is what we want to achieve. We then explained how Will is going to be playing ‘The Hare’ and also puppeteer and voice ‘The Dormouse’.
Initially we were faced with the problem of having four characters but only three actors. However whilst we were discussing various solutions to this problem, such as splitting ‘The Dormouse’ lines between Liam and Will, Lynn suggested the possibility of having ‘The Hare’ with a puppet mouse who he uses a different voice for. We thought this would work really well as the character is meant to be mad and this almost creates the idea of a split personality with this fake mouse, which would add to ‘The Hare’s’ madness and also the overall style of the piece. As I mentioned earlier, this is another element that coincides well with the surrealism of our painting inspiration, creating a stronger link between the art and our section of the play. It also could add some more humour to the piece, which works well as it is one of the more comedic sections of the play and intends to be funny to watch.
We briefly explained about the play itself, as it is useful for the whole group to know a little bit about what we will be performing but we realise that the information is going to be far more beneficial for our own personal research and use. However we thought that it was vital that we explained how ‘Alice’ is hugely inspired by ‘Lewis Carroll’s’ ‘Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland’, which becomes apparent as soon as you read it. Although this is the case, it is much more modern and Wonderland is created by Alice, as a form of escapism, to help her come to terms with her brother’s death. It touches on a lot of modern-day issues and will be important for us to know going into the piece, as it will affect how we characterise and perform. We also gave some of the basic facts, such as that the play was published in 2010 and it was first performed at ‘The Sheffield Crucible’ on the 17th June 2010, not long after it was published.
In our presentation, I then went on to say how the art work that our piece is inspired by is ‘Mad Tea Party’ by ‘Salvador Dali’ and that it was part of a collection of twelve different pieces of ‘Alice In Wonderland’ inspired art. ‘Dali’ was commissioned to illustrate an exclusive edition of ‘Alice In Wonderland’ that was published in 1969. There is one piece of art for each of the twelve chapters and the ‘Mad Tea Party’ painting relates to the ‘Tea Party’ scene in ‘Alice’, which is the scene we will be performing. It relates very well to the piece, as both are showing the same scene and are about the same story and the same characters. ‘Salvador Dali’ was also a surrealist painter and that style also fits with the mad and imaginative themes in ‘Alice’. ‘Lewis Carrol’, ‘Laura Wade’ and ‘Dali’ have all focused their pieces on dreams and imagination, which ties them all together. On top of this, ‘Dali’ was also a theatrical man and during his extended career, he participated in the production of ten films, three theatre productions, two operas and nine ballets. We wanted to explain that he had a huge interest in creative stories and wanted to tell the ‘Alice In Wonderland’ story through his art.
Then we presented some brief research and told the group about our progress we had made in the extract from the French 1944 play ‘No Exit’ by Jean Paul Sartre. We started by explaining the context of the play, which I think worked well as it opened our presentation with helping them understand the circumstances of the piece and also the task we have as a group as it immediately shows the challenges we will face to create it, such as it being set in hell.
For our characters, Erica already had a suggestion of who we should play and we agreed with the casting of it, so the process of how we reached the decision of casting was easy to explain. We explained that Jamie will be playing ‘Inez Serrano’, Liam will be playing ‘Joseph Garcin’ and I will be playing ‘Estelle Rigault’.
Just as we did in the presentation for ‘Alice’ we then went on to give some information about the play and where it was first performed. Also we talked about the works of ‘Jean Paul Sartre’ and how he was an existentialist playwrite. We thought this would be useful information to explain as this ties in really well with our renaissance art work called Visions of Hell and we wanted to clearly show the link. The artist is Hironymous Bosch and Bosch decided to abandon the Bible’s version of hell, which emphasizes fiery punishment and destruction, and create a more human underworld that focuses on the people and the sins they have committed. Both his art and ‘No Exit’ are representations and interpretations of Hell. Renaissance art also tends to focus on individuals in society which is also true for ‘No Exit’. Overall I am happy with the content of our progress presentations as it explained enough that the group knew more about our pieces, but didn’t overwhelm them with information that is solely relevant for us as the performers in the pieces.