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‘Two’ by Jim Cartwright

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The play ‘Two’ by Jim Cartwright is on the subject of pub Cultures and relationships. With relationships it explores; Faithfulness; Domestic Violence; Old Age; and Death.

My initial response to the text was, it is an interesting story and I enjoyed it. It seemed to be centered on different stages of relationships. The underlying message seemed to be that trust is the key in all good relationships.

The first explorative strategies we used were, Frozen Image and Spoken Thought.

The scene we looked at was the Roy and Lesley scene. My first impression of their relationship was that perhaps it had started well but had then led to domestic violence, rather then it being there from the start.

The first Frozen Image I did was of their wedding day. Roy had his arms around Lesley as they were cutting the wedding cake. They were looking into each others eyes and smiling happily. Roy’s body language was neutral so as to show he had no control over Lesley yet. I did this to show that they might have started out as a happy couple, even if Roy had some doubts, shown in his spoken thought.

The Spoken Thoughts I used were “He looks so happy! I feel so happy! This was meant to be, we’re going to spend the rest of our lives together.” For Lesley and for Roy “I will be more careful this time, I will give her no chances to leave.” Roy’s quote was used to suggest that he had had a relationship and it hadn’t worked. This idea could be used to explain why he is controlling over Lesley and violent to her. Because his past relationship had made him insecure and he didn’t want to be cheated or left again.

The second image I used was of Roy slapping Lesley. Roy’s body language indicated that he was being very aggressive and controlling, his arms are tensed and he has a contorted and angry face with hard eyes and clenched teeth. Lesley’s body language shows that she is giving in to Roy, by hunching low and cowering. She has her arms raised to try and protect her face.

I did this to show that Roy is in control and being abusive to Lesley, it also shows that Roy doesn’t treat Lesley like a person but more like property.

The spoken thoughts I used were “I was supposed to be happy, we got married had our honeymoon, got a house, but I am far from happy. He keeps hitting me, what can I do?”

For Lesley and Roy’s was “I have to make sure she obeys me or she will leave me.”

From doing these explorative strategies I have learnt that Roy is a shallow and insecure character and is afraid of Lesley leaving him. He might even be a sexist because he is acting like Lesley is an inferior and like she needs to be controlled.

I have also learnt that Lesley might not have thought through marrying Roy at the time and is now not strong enough to leave him.

In the next work shop we looked at the explorative strategy of Narration, mainly looking at Self Narration as a technique. Self narration is when the character being focused on is saying what they are doing as they do them, also they could talk about memories thoughts and feelings, this gives a hint to the audience as to what might happen later or a deeper look into the focused upon character.

The scene we looked at was a scene not in the play, but of the old woman carrying her sick husband to the sofa. In this scene I played the part of the old woman.

To help me self narrate my character in this scene, I looked at what she said in the play to get me in the frame of mind of the old woman. I believe this to be a mind frame filled with regret concerning her husband and of inner conflict as to whether she should run off with someone else or to stay with her husband.

When self narrating, I talked about how my husband was before his illness and what my wedding night was like. I remembered being in his arms rather then the other way around. I also imagined what it would be like being with the butcher that is mentioned in the play. In the end I said I would stay with my husband till the end, I said this with doubt in my voice, to show she was having an inner conflict as to whether she should stay faithful.

From doing this explorative strategy it helped me understand what happens as couples get older and how old age can affect people. This gave me a more in depth look at the struggle the old women was going through, looking after her immobilized husband and resisting the temptation of going off with the butcher.

The next explorative strategy we used was cross cutting, this is when two scenes happen and are focused upon simultaneously; the dialogue from each scene is often linked by a word or phrase, so both scenes could be having similar conversations so to the audience the two scenes look like they are talking to each other.

The scenes we looked at were Roy and Lesley and Mr. and Mrs. Igor. We choose these scenes because they have strong characters and they both look at faithfulness; Roy is trying to enforce Lesley to stay with him and Mrs. Igor is clearly being unfaithful because she states that she loves big men and she describes her husband as “Mr. feeble”

In these scenes I play Mr. Igor, the weaker one of the relationship.

We explored the weaker members of the relationships and how they felt and we looked at them fighting back. We had Mr. Igor having an outburst and being more assertive. When this happened Mrs. Igor was shocked, she had wide eyes and an open mouth. This was to indicate that something like this hadn’t happened before and Mrs. Igor wasn’t used to not being in control.

We had Lesley stand up for herself and then leave the pub, again the dominant partner, Roy, looks shocked so as to show this hadn’t happened before.

But near the end both of the stronger characters take control again. This was to show that Roy and Mrs. Igor have stronger personalities then Mr. Igor and Lesley.

From doing this explorative strategy I have learnt that there can be a lot of conflict in a relationship, also some people may not necessarily marry for love, but rather for money or social status, this seams to be the case with the Igors.

The next explorative strategy we used was forum theatre, this when you get a character from a story and put them in different environments and situation, to develop their personalities.

For this work shop we looked at the scene near the end with the ‘other woman’, where she wants to confront her lover and his wife. We choose this scene because the descriptions of the characters aren’t in depth so it gives us a lot of room to experiment and muck about with.

In this work shop I played the part of the wife. I used forum theatre to look at the reaction of the wife, and whether or not she would deny it, disbelieve it or be outraged at her husband or his lover.

From using this explorative I have learnt about looking below the surface of a character and looking from a characters point of view. I have also learnt how an affair can affect all parties involved, either by destroying a relationship, losing one’s moral codes or making one addicted to risk.

The next explorative strategy I used was hot seating. Hot seating is when a chosen character from the play is put into a chair and is asked questions by someone outside of the play.

In the work shop I played the character of the old man, who had lost his wife, but was still in contact with her, or so he thinks.

I was asked questions such as “would you ever consider finding another partner?”

To which I replied “I wouldn’t dream of it ma’ boy, for my wife and I are still bound together. As soon as I leave this body an empty shell, Ma’ wife and I will be together for the rest of time.”

I gave this answer because in the play because in the play the old man says he’s still in contact with his wife, he also talks about slipping off with her, meaning dieing and going with her to the afterlife. From what it says in he play and the hot seating work shop I think they had a happy marriage and it seems that they remained faithful.

I don’t think the old man is the type of person to find someone else because he considers his wife to be his soul mate, even after death.

Overall I think I have learnt a lot about the different stages of relationships, and what needs to happen for it to be a good relation ship. I have also learnt that there are certain things that can affect a relationship in a negative way. In the case of the Landlord and his wife, it was the accidental death of their son, with the old woman and her husband, it was his illness. And with Roy and Lesley it was Roy’s possible past experience with a relationship.

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