Our text we used was from film, television and video. We would then use our chosen text as an inspiration for an improvisation. Our group suggested a range of different ideas. Some included Titanic, which is a love story and a tragedy; however we decided not to use this because we felt we could get more inspiration from another film, TV show or video. We then discussed the possibility of Moulin Rouge, which also deals with love and tragedy but is also a musical. However, we eventually discarded this idea too. Eventually we chose Blind Date a TV show that sets up a boy or girl with a partner which they choose by asking questions to three candidates.
Our storyline was very different at first. We were going to start out with a crying girl who was sitting in a restaurant and had been stood up on a date. We would mark the moment by saying her thoughts out loud and then it would cross cut to how this date was set up. We did like this idea because it would catch the audience’s attention, but decided that the plot of what lead up to the date wasn’t very interesting and wouldn’t have enough characters for everyone to play. We then chose to base it on speed dating where one couple would be acting while the others have frozen to make a still image to make the audience focus upon the couple that was acting. However, we decided we still liked the idea of cross cutting that was mentioned before and decided to incorporate it for speed dating. This lead us to decide that we should start from a group of girls comforting someone in a coffee house and they would cross cut to their experiences of speed dating. We then discussed how we would use characterisation in the improvisation to make different characters. We discarded the “boring male” character because he was too boring and would bore the audience and we could get more comedy out of a weird character.
The final plot was eventually decided between us. A girl cries about how she had been dumped and then someone suggests that they should go speed dating to cheer her up. However, this leads to several different reactions from three members of the group who retell their stories. First there was the story of having a date with a strange geeky person who oozed with stupid chat up lines which would provide comedy. Then the girls would laugh about it and another girl told them all how she got married as a result of speed dating. This was a very sweet scene. These first two experiences would clash with the final scene, which was very frightening and told of how she got raped.
Here is a list of the characters and their descriptions:
Weirdo- Played by Siï¿½n
Siï¿½n played a young man who wore glasses on the bottom of his nose to appear geeky. She also hyperventilated and stuttered which made him seem extremely nervous. Another interesting quirk was that he said very poor chat up lines which were delivered in such a way that they sounded offensive. He also sat on the back of the chair and not the seat which makes him even weirder and more nervous. She also made him snort when he laughed which isn’t very attractive.
Weirdo’s Date- Played by Beth
Beth played a young girl in her late teens/early twenties. She was very cold and reserved towards her date, which showed that she was also quite like that. She was also very well spoken, which meant that she might be well brought up and was fairly well off and she had excellent posture which also suggested this. She wore normal clothes and hung out with a range of different people which suggests she isn’t pompous and status obsessed.
Groom- Played by Claire
Claire played an overly romantic young man which is shown by making over the top gestures and over exaggerating syllables. Also Claire put a lot of energy and enthusiasm into the character which made him seem all the more hopelessly romantic. He wore casual clothes, which shows he just wanted to be like every other normal guy.
Bride- Played by Alex
Alex played a normal girl in her twenties which is shown by her clothes. She was shy, which is shown by her small gestures and quiet, soft voice.
Rape Victim – Played by Natalie
Natalie plays a girl who is pregnant (because her costume has her stomach stuffed with a jumper) which subtly suggests the rape has made her pregnant. She also quiet, but is more jittery and nervous than the bride.
Rapist- Played by me
I played the rapist who was a man in his twenties; I wore a big hooded jumper with the hood over my head. I moved stealthily, which was a mixture of deliberate slowness and sudden jumps. I based it on the slow and then quick movements of a spider. This showed that I was a common fear and that I was unpredictable. My voice was lower and was creepy with a touch of amusement to make me sound scary and dodgy. This showed that I was not doing a good job to hide the wicked intentions in my mind. My face had a simpering grin on it or a look of frustration. I did this by moving only one part of my lips up and occasionally dropping it and rolling my eyes. This showed that I was quick to anger and had horrible ways of revenge that I would find amusing.
If I was not in the improvisation it would have been affected drastically. The climax would have not been there when my part grabs the girls hand in the intention of rape. Also the choral narration would be nonsensical as they wouldn’t be narrating anything. Also it would mean that the whole last date would make no sense and the message of the improvisation would have been ruined.
The Explorative Strategies we were required to use in the workshop were cross cutting and narration. We chose cross cutting as a method of telling stories in away which would be more interesting and more dramatically effective than just a character talking about his or her experience. However, we did not want to seem that the characters were re-enacting it for their friends, but that their story was brought to life and so you could see their memories. We used narration to make the scene clear without having to act out the rape. We made it even more effective my doing it chorally and also repeating key words after each line had been said to build tension up to the climax.
The Elements of Drama we used were Forms and Climax/Anti Clamax. We used Forms by changing the way the story is told at the end of the improvisation. We had previously been telling the girls’ stories through cross cutting back to their memory and re-enacting them, but at the final scene we used choral narration and while Natalie and I froze. This made the scene much more dramatic and left the horror much more to the imagination. After building up for each scene and then acting them out, the scene Climaxed with our reactions, which were laughing or screaming. We then used Anti-Climax by talking about the scene afterwards. To make a bigger effect at the end we did not use an Anti Climax so the audience remained shocked.
We thought about using Drama Mediums such as sound. While the choral narration was going on we thought about having a drum beat growing steadily louder and louder until a scream sounded at the end. We would have done this to build tension and to help make the climax at the end. We used space and levels to show the relationships between the characters. The rapist was always seated much higher and closer to his victim to show dominance.
When creating the scene we wanted our audience to feel a variety of different emotions. At first we wanted them to be concerned and amused when a girl was crying about being dumped and then we wanted them to laugh a lot at the date scene with the weirdo. Next, we wanted the audience to be pleased and also amused about the engagement. We hoped this would entertain them, but also lull them into a false sense of security when the rapist attacked and we hoped the audience felt shocked, scared and disgusted.
We mainly created the atmosphere by using the use of chat up lines or well known phrases. Depending on how we said these lines and what actions went with them we made the atmosphere different. At first we made a light, cheery atmosphere by the weirdo’s failed attempts to woo his date. We then hoped to make a very cheesy, romantic atmosphere by overblown gestures and lavish language. Then we hoped to instil an atmosphere very similar to horror by a creepy voice whilst saying chat up lines that could be easily turned from cheesy into something that is scary and highly inappropriate.
My understanding of the text has been developed through the use of explorative strategies, drama mediums and elements of drama. I now understand the different implications behind Blind Date and the different outcomes these dates could have and also entertainment from humiliation isn’t very kind. Also by using these explorative strategies, drama mediums and elements of drama they have helped us improve our improvisations by learning how to make the improvisations purpose seem justified, for example by climax and anti climax (element of drama). They are also more interesting due to characterisation (drama medium) so all the characters are fully fleshed and real Also marking the moment (explorative strategy) has helped me understand that you can convey peoples thoughts through different ways and how this is shown in drama.
By using these strategies, elements and mediums I have learnt that it is not just the content of improvisations or plays that are important but also the structure of it which is also important. Elements of Drama such as Forms, Rhythm, Pace and Tempo have helped me understand this. By this I have learnt that improvisations can be greatly improved by using these and make the plot itself seem more interesting. I have also learnt that Drama Mediums such as space not only make the scene as crowded, but also help to show characters relationships. An Explorative Strategy called Marking the Moment has made me understand the benefits of still image and speaking thought out loud and how they do not seem out of place but emphasise a particular moment. Overall these strategies, elements and mediums have greatly improved my understanding of drama and creating improvisations.