In small groups we devised a still image combining our body language, facial expressions and other dramatic techniques such as proxemics and levels. We decided to create a still image based on a young soldier who has just been called up to go to war, and moreover the vast affect it has on the whole family. Several characters were shown in our still image; the mother (Rebecca), the father (Chadrick), the sister, who was also a nurse whom had seen the cruel effects of injuries in the war (me), younger brother (Sam), the girlfriend who was also newly pregnant (Laura) and of course the soldier himself (Rhys). Importantly, this still image highlighted this extremely poignant moment in a soldier’s life and portrays everybody’s thoughts and feelings in a powerful way.
Firstly, we decided to have Rhys who played the soldier isolated from the rest of the family, which perhaps suggests that the family are resentful of his decision to go to war and consequently his anger. Despite this, the sister who I played was the only character who was in close contact with Rhys in the image, and as you can see I am attempting to persuade Rhys to not go to war, the reasons for this is ambiguous, because naturally a sister will want to protect their sibling, nevertheless there is more depth to this relationship as I was also a war nurse who had previously treated wounded soldiers and had witnessed the terrible injuries that were inflicted on soldiers in the war, and I chose to play the character of the soldiers sister because I liked that complexity about her.
What is also ambiguous about our still image, is that the audience are left unsure about Rhys’s motives for going to war; whether he was conscripted, and therefore making him a victim or alternatively, he volunteered, which would clearly explain the families distaste when looking at him in the picture. Also, on Rhys’s face there is a sadness about him even though he is angry with his family for the lack of support offered, facial expressions played a central role in telling the audience which character was who in the still image.
Carrying on from this, the younger brother whom was played by Sam was coherently shown, by the using of levels; Sam knelt down portraying childlike characteristics, what was also interesting about Sam’s character was that he almost looked at Rhys as though he was heroic, which of course is what most younger brothers would feel about their older brother when they don’t really understand the truth about things such as war, Sam highlighted this point by the wave of his hand, and the look of admiration on his face. Supplementary to his, the parents whom were played by Chadrick and Rebecca, were in close contact with Sam; holding him by the shoulder, nevertheless the levels were different between them both, showing contrasting body language. Rebecca held her head in her hands and indicated an air of defeat at the fact there is nothing she can physically do to prevent her son from going to war.
On the other hand, there is no eye contact or physical contact between Rebecca and Chadrick, which could maybe suggest that Rebecca is disappointed or even infuriated with Chadrick, a possible reason for this could be that Chadrick forced his son to go to war, by means of persuasion or otherwise, again we leave this up to the audience to ponder and think of possible reasons for themselves, this also creates an atmosphere between our characters, even in a still image. Additionally, the girlfriend of Rhys, whom was played by Laura, effectively used proxemics, this was shown by her being the furthest away from the family, almost as though the support link had been broken and she was exiled from the family. Surplus to this, due to Laura’s body language and the fact that she was holding her stomach in her arms, clearly demonstrated the fact that she was pregnant, which highlighted the powerful effects a soldier going to war can have on their family and friends, the relationships that break down because of it, and the people who would be devastated if something were to happen as a result of Rhys going to war, i.e.- a child would be left without a father in their life.
Overall, I feel our still image vividly displayed how not only the solider thought but the way in which the family were going through strong emotions as a result of war, and the way in which war can tear a family indirectly apart. In my opinion, our still image would awaken the minds of the audience to the wider view of the effects of war.