In this essay I am going to compare and analyse the differences and similarities between my improvisation and a film called “The Colour Purple”. My group’s play was based upon a certain part of a painting, painted by our drama teacher – Mr. Burgon. The painting was used as a stimulus. Our part of the painting was showing a man in a mask painting a car. WE had to build up upon it and produce a lengthy piece.
The themes of our improvisation and ” The Colour Purple” are violence and domestic problems, abuse. Our play could be thought of as quite controversial, as it deals with domestic violence, child abuse, and rape to a certain extent. In order to make our improvisation as realistic as possible, and not too offensive I decided to research the topic in more depth.
Therefore I searched the Internet for information about the victims. I found out that the majority of the people affected were molested in their childhood/early teens. Most of them were naï¿½ve and not fully aware of what was going on around them. A large amount was in a single parent family. I also found out that the experience had an immense effect on their adult life. Most are not able to have a sex life, they rely on anti-depressants, self-harm etc.
I think that it was harder to cope for abused women in ” the Colour Purple” because they had no one and no-where to run away to, whereas today women can call help-lines etc. to help them through their problems.
In our piece I play the role of Jade, a long distance relative (cousin) who 14 years ago was raped by Eddie, who then married Jade’s cousin Alison. She couldn’t have children so they decided to adopt a child. Jade fell pregnant at 14 with Eddie, so she gave away her baby to him and Alison and Eddie raised up their child without her knowing that she was her cousins baby. According to Eddie Ellie (the child) is the source of all problems (not only finantional, but moral as well). He blamed Ellie for him relationship with Alison not working out.
Another play that portrays similar family issues is ” The Colour Purple”. This was set about a century ago (1900’s) and can be firstly considered as completely different from our play, but if we take a closer look, we realize that there are some unusual similarities. Cilia are a young black youth, who at 14 was raped twice by her father. He is a rapist and an abuser. As a result to the rapes Cilia gives birth to two children: Olivia and Adam, who are taken away from her. Surprisingly a very similar situation occurs in my play where Eddie rapes Jade and he takes her baby to bring up as his own with Alison.
In “The Colour Purple” Celia is shown as a young vulnerable girl, who gets raped by her father, then chucked out the house. She was forced to marry a grown-up man and move in with him. But that is not the end to her troubles. In the film we can clearly see the family status. We see that the husband is very important, and makes all the decisions. Celia has to call him ” sir”.
In my play the family status is also publicized, but it’s not as drastic. I.e. Alison doesn’t have to call Eddie ” sir”. WE can clearly see he has control over Alison at the Dinner table scene:
Alison: I’ll just get the phone….”
Eddie: [slams down hands on table] NO!!!!! SIT DOWN!!!!
In my improvisation as well as ” The Colour Purple” the husband is a control-freak and the wife is scared to stand up to him. They might be afraid of his reaction or might think that he will go completely berserk and try to do something terrible. I.e. murder, or beat thoroughly.
In ” The Colour Purple” this is very clear when Celia is shaving her husband and he says ” you cut me and I’ll kill you.” Celia is scared and tries hard not to cut him. In my play Alison doesn’t stand up to Eddie when he yells at her to sit down, she just obeys him in silence.
The way both characters deal with the abuse is different , because in the end Alison tells Jade that Eddie is abusing her and Ellie. Whereas Cilia, doesn’t tell anyone about her troubles, she keep it all inside her. They deal in different way, but yet the abuse is very similar. Both characters get raped ( Cilia and Jade), both character are abused by their fathers ( Cilia and Ellie). I have noticed that the different things that happened throughout my play to 3 different characters( Jade, Ellie Alison) happened to one character in ” The Colour Purple”.
Also in ” The Colour Purple” the husband can’t do anything for himself. When he brings home a woman from a bar, he tried to cook for her , but he is completely useless.
There is a very similar situation in my play when Alison and Ellie leave Eddie and the flat is very messy, there is rubbish lying around everywhere, empty beer cans, half-eaten ready meals etc.
Even though both plays were set about a century apart, they still have many similarities involving family issues such as family status, respect, domestic violence (abuse). They both show how victims cope with the abuse and what effect it has on their lives.