In our group, we used a variety of Brechtian techniques for our piece of Epic theatre. Such examples of using it are using the theme of ‘gay rights’ as the ‘social improvement’ for our piece of theatre. We then present this by using the well- known story of Romeo and Juliet and converted it into a parody, in which it questioned the rights of homosexuals and freedom of expression (we represent this by using the theme of love) in different periods of time that have completely different opinions about those ideas. We also present the piece satirically, using both physical and verbal comedy. Such evidences of this is that in the performance, we have a funny ‘dance’ in the second scene of our play when Romeo meets his gay lover and in the first scene, Romeo struggles to climb onto the balcony where Juliet is. In terms of verbal comedy, most of the characters’ speeches contain hidden meanings, which are mostly used for comedic reasons and to present the story. To add up more comedy into our play, we used a song to sing during the play.
The song that we used is called ‘can’t help falling in love’ by Elvis Presley, which also relates to our social improvement of gay rights and expression of love as the song contains lyrics which talk about those ideas.? Comedy routines and jokes are incorporated as well; they are used as speeches by main characters to convey to the audience about their feelings on the issues of the social improvement. Gestus is used as well, as each of the characters in the play are related to a specific part of society, such as Julius represents the populace of gay homosexuals and that the narrator is the ‘law’. In order to make our audience understand more of the play, we used labels to identify each individual characters and occasionally used stage directions to guide the movement of the characters on the stage.? However, I think that it would be better if I can apply more Brechtian techniques to our performance as it seems that our play somehow lack several Brechtian techniques, which due to not employing them, hindered and lowered the quality of our play.
In our groups’ performance, I think for some of the techniques, we have used really well and can successfully convey it to the audience. However, I also think that there are several other techniques we employed that didn’t go really well and that we need to improve them.? In terms of the audiences( popular) reaction, engagement and understanding, I think that our group have achieved very well, as the audience is very engaged to the performance, laughs alot and looked very interested and happy. However, they might not understand the play really well as there are several parts in the play where tghings started to go confusing, such as the ending, in which the audience looks very confused.? In terms of critical reaction, I think that we have done well in promoting our ‘social improvement’ as our performance narrated the case clearly, however there are flaws as well, such as that our messgae is not conveyed throughly enough and that we rushed things in quickly, which means that things can get easily confused. Also, some of our jokes are not well understood and that we have not used enough Brechtian techniques, which I think hampered our performance.
One important issue however, is that the performance might be mocking the other parts of society. Due to the sensitive issue of gay rights and expression of love, our group need to either push the offensive material much further or make it not mocking at all, either which would make our message to the audience clearer.? In terms of self targets, I think that our group need to improve on several things: add more Brechtian techniques, make the ending not confusing and also related to the plot and to ‘break the forth wall’. I need to add more Brechtian techniques as I realise that our group lacked in it, therefore we need to add more Brechtian techniques to our play so that we can increase the quality of it.
The ending of the play is very confusing as at first our group decided that we wanted to end it by using a scripture from the bible that talks about the rights of gays, however, one of our memebers in our group( I won’t mention it’s name) does not know we are going to do that and just somehow walked off the stage. This teaches us that we need to be more cooperative with the group, communicate more with indivudual members and also try harder. The last self target that I wanted to set is to ‘break the forth wall’. This is because I think that our play would be less confusing if we can engaged more to the audience by using more Brechtian techniques.
I think that our group ‘synthesis’ our content moderately well as the audience, whom after the performance, referred to our performance as the ‘gay Romeo and Juliet’ performance. I’m particularly pleased with that reaction as this means that our audience unerstand the plot of our performance and know what our characters are saying.? However, there are several factors that I think we didn’t synthesis our content well with the audience, the first reason is because of our ending, whom I explained it in the 2nd answer that our group got confused and ‘messed it up’.
This therefore means that we need to improve on our speech and group planning skills, to ensure that there would no more further confusions in the future. I think that the use of singing songs related to the performance and using labels to identify the main characters are extrememly effective. This is because using songs helped to make the audience unerstand more of our play and allows them to react humourously to it, yet understand the hiden message about the song, which is about acceptance of love. Uisng placards and labels allows the audience to know which character is which, so that they would not get confused, and to know which scene is which.
Overall, I am content with our groups’ work and performance. However, there are several alternatives that I might prusued. Instead of using the theme of gay rights and acceptance of free love, I could prusue in suing the theme of ‘racism’ as it would be much easier to fins resources and themes based on that. Hoever, the problem for that alternative is that it might not be as funny as the theme about gays, whom the masses usually preferred to look that things which seems queer to them and not common.
Instead of using the play Romeo and Juliet to parody. We could find more interesting and non- fictional history accounts which actually talks about gay rights more seriously. This is because parodys based upon serious stories are much more funny. The two aspects of my peers work that I think are brilliant are the group that used ‘bullying’ in their context and the group that talked about ‘acceptance of gay marriage’ in their performance. This is because these groups have used the Brechtian techniques more sufficently and that they are much more organised. They also incorportae jokes, dances and other types of media very well, sometimes even ‘braking the forth wall’.