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Rosie in The Cuckoo Sister

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  • Pages: 11
  • Word count: 2536
  • Category: Character

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1. Analysis of the Artworks

Skungpoomery – Textual Analysis

This is a comedy and uses two stereotypical characters as the basis for the humour. There is a weak and easily dominated son and a formidable and dominant mother.

We did a visualisation exercise and I view the mother (Mrs Wibble) as a big, strong woman with a loud, deep and powerful voice, but who moves in a quick, efficient manner. I imagine her son (Nicholas Wibble) walking with his head down, a tall, skinny man with a quiet little voice.

Imaging how the character is and what kind of person they are was useful in the performance process because I could get into character and see how the character would move and talk.

The characters appear very stereotypical. The mother thinks her son is still a little kid “Nicholas! You little fibber! We both got those sandals at Clarks and we both looked down the X-ray machine together and we both saw that you had plenty of room in those sandals Nicholas!” and “Kiss please. I’ve made you some sandwiches”. She still irons her son’s clothes and makes him a packed lunch for work, even though he tells her he wants to eat in the canteen with his friends. She also makes him wear sandals from Clarks in hot weather which she says they both chose – but I don’t feel he had any choice in the matter, as with everything else his mother tells him to do.

The son, Nicholas, seems to do everything his mother tells him to do. I think he is nerdy, as he still lives with his mother, even though he has a job as a policeman. I feel that he walks slowly with his head down like a little boy. “O I’m not ungrateful at all, mum. I’m grateful. I really am. Its all right. I’ll take the sandwiches. And I’ll enjoy them.” He uses short sentences when he talks, like an frightened, intimidated child.

I feel that this is a piece of sad comedy, as it shows the man being frightened by his mother, and we all think that it is a funny situation – but it isn’t for him.

The following is a piece from the Skungpoomery text that I looked at and performed in more detail

Mrs Wibble: I should think so. O Nicholas! I ironed those trousers at the weekend and now look at them. They’re all baggy at the knees. Don’t you hitch them up when you sit down?

Wibble: Yes

Mrs Wibble: Take them off and let me give them a quick press.

Wibble: O no, Mum – look I’m going to be ever so late now.

Mrs Wibble: Take them off, Nicholas, it won’t take a moment.

Wibble: No

Mrs Wibble: Nicholas!!!

Wibble: Ooooooooooooooooh! (Stamp and paddy. Mrs Wibble waits. He sulkily removes his trousers revealing Chilprufe underpants. Mrs Wibble takes the trousers off and returns with an iron and ironing board.)

Mrs Wibble: Right

Wibble: Please hurry up, Mum

Mrs Wibble: I am being as quick as I can, Nicholas. (She is now ironing.) The number of times I have been on to you, Nicholas, to just think before you go to bed at night, what you’re going to need in the morning, and go over it and check it’s all right then; there’s absolutely no need for this breakfast time misery. But you, you never seem to know what you’re at or what you’re doing. (The phone rings. She answers the iron, holding it next to her ear.) Hello, hello? Yahhhhhhhhhhhh! (In her agony she puts the iron down on the trousers.) Butter! Get the butter, Nicholas!

Wibble: Oh yes, here you are (He shoves a full round soft marge pack onto his mum’s ear. They tie the pack to her ear with a scarf.)

Mrs Wibble: Nicholas, you’ll be the death of me!

Wibble: How’s it my fault, Mum. If you stick the iron on your ear.

Mrs Wibble: Nicholas, just shut up (Clouts him) Oooooof. (The pain of the burn.) Go and answer it.

Wibble: (picking up the phone) That’s alright. That’s not so good. That’s very good. That’s just first class. That’s awful. That’s good. That’s rotten.

Mrs Wibble: Who is it?

Wibble: It’s Auntie Glad. She wanted some help sorting out her tomatoes. O no! O Mum look what you’ve done now! (He picks up the trousers revealing a huge burn hole.) O no.

Mrs Wibble: I’m not in the least bit sympathetic, Nicholas. It’s just a direct result of your own thoughtlessness.

Wibble: What am I going to do now?

Mrs Wibble: Well you’ll just have to wear your shorts.

Wibble: O no!

Mrs Wibble: They’re in the airing cupboard.

Wibble: I can’t wear short trousers on the beat, Mum!

I played Nicholas Wibble as I described him before, as a nerdy little boy. He behaves like a spoilt little boy (such as stamping his foot, wearing Chilprufe underpants), and although his mother tells him off for not thinking for himself, she treats him as a young child, making him unable to grow up.

Set design – Skungpoomery

I have attached a plan of the set design for this sketch.

I have designed it like this as it is set in a kitchen and there needs to be quite a lot of space because a lot of action things happen in the scene, such as ironing, taking off clothes, soaking clothes in a bowl, answering the phone and putting the “marge” pack on her ear. It is important to set the stage before rehearsal so that there is enough room to carry out all the actions.

We did an exercise with pieces of paper, where we wrote the names of pieces of the set on them (such as sink, ironing board, table) and put them in places on the floor. We experimented with these in different places on the stage to get the best effect in terms of movement between the characters and the objects. This helped with the development of the performance because we then knew where things were, where to move to and the space that we had to perform in. I used the same technique when setting the stage for The Cuckoo Sister, my final piece, but different objects were used (such as beds, bedside table and rug).

I think that the stage should be realistic as it is important in this case for the comedy to work, such as when Mrs Wibble ” (The phone rings. She answers the iron, holding it next to her ear.). Hello? Hello? Yahhhhhhhhh!” This wouldn’t have the same impact if another object was used.

I developed my ideas for the set as I read through the text and decided what was needed, even though some items were not referred to directly. This can be seen in a few instances.

Mrs Wibble: “(She leads him my his tie to the bowl and cloth)” SINK.

Mrs Wibble: ” Butter! Get the butter, Nicholas!”

Wibble: Oh yes, here you are. (He shoves a full round soft marge pack onto his Mum’s ear. They tie the pack to her ear with a scarf.) FRIDGE.

Images of Characters

I was given two photographs to look at to help me develop my role in The Cuckoo Sister. They were both pictures of a family with one young child. The first picture I looked at had a man, a woman and a child in a hug, appearing very happy. They look like a very close family, because they are holding each other quite tightly. I think Rosie would have felt like an outsider if this was her family. The second one has 2 men (one looks older, like a grandad) a woman and a child. They look as if they are out for a walk, enjoying themselves, as they are all smiling and playing with the child. There doesn’t appear to be anything missing from these two groups of families. They also both look like middle class families, which Kate is, but Rosie isn’t.


I looked at the set of Cinderella to get ideas for putting together a design for a set. A designer would use ideas from a variety of sources, such as magazines, photographs, paintings, textiles, colours etc. They would evaluate the artwork and choose the ones that best fitted the look and feel that they wanted to achieve. The set of Cinderella might be developed in this way by evaluating the pictures of staircases that I was given, and rejecting the ones that do not fit into the overall impression of the set, i.e. dungeon stairs do not fit into a palace ballroom scene. Other factors that have to been taken into consideration in the design process are the time and expertise needed to make the set, as well as the size of the venue and the cost. Using the example of the staircases, the time taken to make the stairs for the performance, the backstage storage between scenes, the cost of materials and labour to make the stairs, whether the venue can accommodate the stairs and the type of stairs to suit the scene all have to be looked at in the set design process. I used this design process for The Cuckoo Sister, by collecting different pictures of furniture from various sources and then choosing the most suitable for a young girl’s bedroom.

2. Evaluation of the process and performance

Process and Performance – The Cuckoo Sister

My initial impression of my character is that she is a bit rude (to Kate “You’re a bleeding little snob, aren’t you”), younger than me (“I’m thirteen now, that’s nearly grown up”), boasts about things like running away (“I nearly ran away once. Got my bags packed and everything”) and has mood swings (“No. Sorry it ain’t your fault…..They don’t know what it’s like do they?”). When I performed this play I showed her mood swings by changing the tone in my voice, changing the volume of my voice and also the way I moved help show this.

I watched children’s TV to see how 13 yr olds behaved and acted, although I already had an idea because I was that age not long ago. I would imagine my character to be energetic, (look at my picture) and loud voiced. My character wouldn’t speak posh though, she would speak with a kind of rough accent. I would think she would have a rough accent because it says she is street wise and it says on the script that Rosie has a very different background and upbringing from middle class Kate.

My character wants to be loved but doesn’t like showing her emotions. She talks to Kate as if she is stupid and soft, sometimes in a harsh manner. Kate is trying to be nice to Rosie all the time, while Rosie is being horrid to Kate, probably because she doesn’t want to show her feelings. “oh, you ain’t said nothing. But I seen the look on your face like I was a bad smell” said by Rosie to Kate. I think she feels insecure, which is the opposite to the way Kate feels. Rosie also feels that Kate’s Dad doesn’t like her “I ain’t stupid. Your dad’s been kind and all that, but he won’t never be happy not knowing. Every time I do something wrong, he’ll be thinking, ‘She ain’t one of use'” Rosie can be sensitive sometimes though “cheer up, kid. It’ll be over soon. Your hair’s drying rough. I’ll brush it for you.”

The worries that I had about my character were her age, the class difference and her body language. I think also she has rough voice and my voice is different. The character is in a situation I haven’t been in myself, so I thought that I might find it difficult to relate to her problems. I overcame most of these worries, like I watched TV programs to see how 13 year old girls act and I also just practiced doing different accents.

I first developed my piece by using the sheets of paper with items of furniture written on to design the set in order to see how much room I had to move about in. This was very effective and worked well. I decided that I needed to move about the set to give a better impression of the character. Another idea was to act out some of the speech, “Horrible. Huge. Fat. Hairy. Like a blooming red ape”. I was going to add some more of my own speech into the script but I didn’t have the time to think what to say.

I was able to show elements of my character on stage by showing emotion, such as when I was shocked about Harry Jenkins. Also, shouting ” Might be! That ain’t good enough. I want to KNOW!”. Rosie:” She says she wanted to send me her bouquet. I wish she had. It’d be something…something to…” this is the part in the play where I thought Rosie I was upset about her Mum leaving her, she doesn’t want to show her emotion.

The set was developed using furniture such as two beds, bedside table and a rug. Props, such as Cd player, clothes, teddies, hairbrushes and Cds were used to make the set look more realistic. For my costume, I wore jeans, and a hoody top, which are the clothes that I would expect a street wise girl of thirteen to wear. There were clothes all over the floor, like a typical 11/13 year olds girls’ bedroom.

The final performance

I feel that the final performance went reasonably well, but there was room for improvement. I felt that I could have shown more emotion, as Rosie was an emotional character. The bedside table also looked like it had too much stuff on it to be effective.

One of the things that was successful was us both talking in different types of accent to make us sound like we were from different classes. I feel that the set worked very well and that the set design looked like a 11/13 year olds bedroom. The colours worked well, the wall posters were appropriate and the props fitted in well. It had the desired effect.

Our performance was the last one to be seen, and I feel that if it had been in the first few we would have got more of a reaction from the audience.

I think one of the things I would improve if I did the performance again would be to add some of my own dialogue into it. I would also have more actions around the stage and make it more realistic in the things I do. The final improvement would be to perform with more emotion.

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