For unit 2 of Drama, we are studying Teechers which is by John Goodber. Goodber is well known for plays such as Teechers, Bouncers and Shakers. Teechers is a play inside a play. Most of the plays Goodber writes are for few actors, so each actor has multiple characters to play. His characters are generally stereotyped and are exaggerated in how they act. His main explorative strategies that he uses are direct address and different types of narration. One main type of narration used is mimed action. This is used when a character is speaking to the audience, but the other characters in the background or foreground are still moving. Teechers features lots of monologues which gives us insight into what Salty, Gail and Hobby (the 3 main protagonists) think of the characters they play. At the beginning of the play Salty address the audience by saying “All we want of you to do is to use your imagination because there’s only of us, and we all have to play different characters”. This is saying that the audience need to pay attention from the very start of the play. To help us get into character of the teachers, Mrs Parry, Mr Basford, Miss Whitham, Jackie Prime and Mr Nixon.
Mrs Parry is the head teacher of the school and is large, loud and a real eccentric. Her character loves Drama and had featured in many plays in the past. To help us get into her character we took a short monologue from Nixon and applied it to how Mrs Parry would walk, speak, address the audience, and react to her surroundings. Mrs Parry’s actions are very exaggerated and large so when we said the short monologue about being late and walking across the stage we put big movements with our bodies and used our hands and arms to make gestures towards “A fifth year non-exam drama group lounged about some stacked chairs” and “I’d taken a wrong turn at block one and found myself in the physics block”. These gestures show what kind of character Mrs Parry is. The last line, “I walked purposefully to the stage” needs a lot of emphasis on the word purposefully because it can show how confident the character is. Mrs Parry is very confident in her self, and her love of the subject drama helps how she can say it.
Mr Basford is the deputy head of the school and is the strictest teacher in the school. He is a typical kid hater and is a nasty piece of work. I enjoyed playing his character the most as I like to shout a lot and use my voice to project what I’m saying. With Mr. Basford my face was in a permanent frown, as that’s how I would imagine him to be, just a man that would never ever smile, even at anything that everybody else would find funny. I don’t think that I did any specific gestures as Mr. Basford. I know that when I was shouting, I was rocking back and forth on my feet to try and emphasise that I was angry and to try and show that I wasn’t happy with the students lounging “about some stacked chairs”. I also moved slowly and looking around at my surroundings, asserting my authority over everything in the room and showing that when Mr. Basford starts speaking or enters a room, he is in total control.
Miss Whitham is a fussy, hopeless teacher, who is desperate to leave the school. She is terrified of the children and can’t control them. She is the exact opposite of Oggy Moxon who is the toughest person in the school; where as Miss Whitham is the hopelessly fastidious (yet powerless). To play her character, I didn’t project my voice as much, but just enough so that the audience would be able to hear her. Martha played Miss Whitham very well. When she was walking across the stage, her voice was quiet and sounded nervous. She put a lot of pauses in and shuffled her feet showing that she was nervous about teaching the children. When she said “I walked purposefully to the stage”, she looked down and shuffled forward very fast. This worked very well as Martha made her character very comical and much more interesting.
Jackie Prime is a dolly bird of a P.E. teacher. Everyone likes her especially the new teacher, Mr Nixon. Jackie can be very patronising and can be described very similar to a children’s TV presenter. She is very involved with the children and obviously gets on with them better than the other teachers. To portray her, I made my movements very much like Mrs Parry’s, exaggerated and large. I made more gestures with my hands and moved faster than the other characters but slowed down my speech to make it sound like I was patronising the children in a lesson. I found Jackie the hardest character to play as I didn’t see her as a patronising person, I saw as a more self centred character as she would be the gorgeous teacher. She would be more cocky and about herself.
Mr Nixon is the new drama teacher in the school. The script doesn’t reveal much about how Nixon acts and talks so he was quite hard to play, but as he is new, I found Nixon would be a bit more like Miss Whitham when entering but when walking to the stage; he would be like Mrs Parry with a lot of confident as he would have a brand new degree. For Mr Nixon, you can play him however you like; he could be confident, nervous, strict, cocky or fun. But at the start of the play, Nixon is portrayed as being nervous then getting more strict with the children through the play. Nixon is one of very characters that changes throughout the play and can be changed at any moment.