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Too Much Punch for Judy

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For this exam we have been given the text “Too Much Punch for Judy” a play in which two middle aged sisters chose to get into a car to drive when they are both way over the legal limit of alcohol. As the play progresses Judy and Joanna get into Joanna’s car, but Judy decides to drive them home. A minute from their home in Epping the car crashes into a small bridge and Joanna is killed instantly, but horribly, Judy survives. The play is based around Judy’s thoughts, feeling, emotions and the memory of that dreadful night. In hour three, our class was instructed to read section 4 of, too much punch for Judy.

This section is called ‘The Aftermath’ and is about exactly that. In the beginning of the section Duncan, the kind-hearted resident, recalls his memories of that evening. He explains what he heard and saw when the accident took place. As we read through this section we were shown slides of the car after the accident, how mangled and ripped apart it was. The images were pretty shocking to say the least; I’m not sure how anyone survived that accident. The concert from the bridge had gone straight through the windshield and onto Joanna’s face. It was disgusting.

The text continues as Duncan explain what happened between the time he left his house to help the people in the car and when the police and ambulance arrived to take Judy to hospital. Duncan can recall in great detail how horrible the whole event was and the schooling things he saw on that night. Throughout the rest of this section the police officers talk about how they helped Judy away from the accident and how they had to confront Joanna and Judy’s mother about the accident. Here are some of the emotions that came up on our brainstorm that we had to do as a class.

Tragic * Ugly * Horrible * Socking * Stomach turning * Upsetting * Gross * Bloody * Disgusting As a class we were told we had to devise a short piece around the facts, important information and issues raised in section 4 of the play. In hour four, Miss Phillips recapped section 5, where Jo and Judy’s mother, Vi, found out about the accident and the death of one of her daughters. The section continues to tell us about her reaction to the news and her reaction towards Judy when she saw her for the first time since the accident.

In this section Judy finds out that she killed Joanna and her mother has to find a way to tell Judy and comfort her as best she can. Towards the end of this session we looked and discussed the issues raised in the play and mentioned at the back of the book. The main issue was drink driving and how dangerous and deadly it could prove to be. At the back of the book the author has pointed out some key facts and figures about the death rate and penalties behind drink driving incidents.

Some of the main issues we talked about during this lesson, were how Judy was going to be able to cope with the fact she had killed her sister and how she was going to prevent this from happening again. Throughout the play Judy mentions how sorry she is and how she would never be able to drink and drive again, but towards the end of the book we learn Judy has got into a car drunk and has killed another person. This is a complete contradiction to her views and statements about drink driving, but highlights the fact she didn’t learn for her terrible mistake.

For this I feel sympathy and anger towards Judy, not only should she be made to accept the fact she killed her own sister, she killed another innocent person in a separate drink driving accident. Judy obviously felt no remorse and for this I feel nothing but pity for such an uncaring and evil person. At the end of this session we had to explore Judy’s character in a number of different ways, but most people in the class gave the same feedback and response; Judy deserved all that she got.

We used the techniques of; * Hot seating * Thought tracking * Conscience tunnel * Writing in role Key moments. In our group we decided to use the idea of hot seating and key moments. I played the role of Judy and the other people in my group took it in turns to mention and key moment and then ask me a question about why I did it and what I feel about it now. We decided to show Judy about 10 after the first accident, when she had then killed two people. The group switched between questions about Joanna and then the other accident to show how closely linked they were and how confused Judy would have been. Our piece lasted about 3 minutes, question after question.

This was to represent how so many people would have wanted to ask Judy the same question, why? I didn’t like playing the role of Judy but it gave me a chance to experience how closed in and threatened she would have felt before after the first and second accident. Although I didn’t like the experience I think it was a good techniques to have used because it really helped everyone in the group to get into Judy’s mind. Our final piece. In hours 5 and 6 we were told we had to device a piece of drama about 6-7minutes long, using some of the themes and topics raised in the book, Too Much Punch for Judy.

In my group there was, Jack, Selina, Nick and Billy, unfortunately Selina wasn’t very well so after the first lesson she was unable to attend the exam sessions. Although it took the boys a little while to get focused and working, we came up with some good ideas. We talked about a number of ideas for quite a long time. Jack thought rein acting part of the play would have given our audience a good insight into how Judy was feeling and what her life has been like since the death of Joanna. I understood where Jack was coming from with his idea, but I didn’t see how we could have made the piece our own and formed it into something we would enjoy.

After many ideas a suggestions, we settled on the ‘depression stages’ each of us played a number of characters, to portray to the audience how mixed up and stressed out Judy was. We used the same type of story, the car accident, death, memory ect. But changed the characters. Billy was the male version of Judy, Nick played his brother, whilst Jack took on the role of an outsider, someone who wasn’t involved in the car accident, but knew Billy and Nick and what happened in the car. I also played Billy’s character.

We used the ‘good angle / bad angle’ technique, to show how Billy had sunk into this depressing and confused state, whereas I was fine with what had happened and saw it as nothing more than an accident. We wanted to make sure the audience knew who the characters were in our piece, so at the beginning we used a section of dialogue that we devised, to show that Billy was the person driving the car and he was responsible for the death of Nick. Our opening scene began with Billy sitting on a chair in the middle of an empty room, with 5 empty alcohol bottles around him listening to the radio.

Jack then read our first piece of dialogue. “And in local new today, two Essex teenagers have been killed in a tragic alcohol related car accident… ” Billy’s reaction to this was to turn off the radio and being shaking and panicking. This was to show the audience that the radio programme had reminded him of the tragic way he had killed his brother. Billy then began talking, but not to the audience or another character, to no one. Billy was showing the character in his own world completely, not having anything to do with the outside world.

In our piece was wanted to use the ‘flashback’ technique to show the audience what Billy was remembering about. We needed to make sure we used the same gesture each time, so that the audience knew they were seeing events from the past. We decided a hand movement would have been the best way to do this. Billy holding up his hand signalled to the audience the change in the time period. Nick then joined Billy (who was now sitting the a scene, set up to look like a car) Billy and Nick were now playing the role of the drunken brothers as they came out of the nightclub the night Nick was killed.

After falling about drunk they had a fight over who was going to be driving, Billy won and snatched the keys from Nick, both characters then froze, while the original dialogue was read out and a high-pitched scream was heard, the lights were turned off. When the lights came back up, Billy was alone in the car driving down a stretch of road he uses everyday. The scene showed Billy going about his everyday life, driving to work and so on, but in complete silence. This was where Billy’s other side came out.

I walked across behind Billy, reading a short extract form the book (chapter5) “no way did I want to know what has happened, I just wanted to remember Nick he was the day he left work2 as I read this script Jack and Nick acted out Nick leaving work and setting off to meet his brother to go to the nightclub. Jack then froze as I walked back across towards Billy. To show the major differences between my character and Billy’s I needed to show the audience we were the same people but both had very different attitudes towards the death of Nick.

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