- Pages: 4
- Word count: 941
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This year we have been studying a play by John Marston called ‘the Malcontent’. In the play Malevole is the banished Duke of Genoa who returns in disguise to his former court. The Duke contrives, under the guise of a mad frame of mind, to speak the bitterest of home truths deriding aristocratic behaviour. Through intrigue and betrayal throughout the court, he eventually manages to regain his position as rightful ruler of Genoa, and his deposer and his cohorts are brought to justice. For the past two weeks we have been having drama workshops and investigating the possible explorative strategies that could be used within the play.
We have focused on four scenes in the play and used a different explorative strategy for each scene to explore it in more depth. The first scene we studied was Act four Scene five. In this scene Malevole reveals himself as the banished duke Altofront. We used marking the moment in this scene, which is when the most significant point from the scene is chosen and everybody freezes, when the right effect has been created the cast start acting again until the end of the scene. We thought that the significant part of this scene was when Malevole unmasked himself.
So we decided that we would mark the moment when he has just unmasked himself and Ferneze and Celso enter. We thought this was very exciting and astonishing and so everyone involved in the scene had big open expressions on. Ferneze, Celso, and Pietro all looked shocked and Malevole looked proud and dignified. This really worked well because it accentuated the important bit tremendously. We decided to use marking the moment in this particular scene because we thought it would make a really good effect, the scene really had the right atmosphere for marking the moment, and the most crucial point in the scene was clear.
The second scene we studied was Act four Scene three. We decided to use still images for this scene. Still images are when the scene is performed in a number of freeze frames showing the story of the scene. We decided three still images would be enough to show the scene at its best. Our first still image was showing when Malevole and Pietro enter the room full of people dancing. We decided to do this still image because it shows how everyone finds out the news of Pietro’s ‘death’. The still image was fairly effective and the expressions on everybody’s faces helped to convey who was who and what was going on.
The second still image was of Pietro Preparing to jump off the cliff with Malevole watching in shock and to the side of that was Malevole telling everybody about what he had seen. This still image was supposed to show how when Malevole was telling everyone about the incident he was also having a flash back of what he saw. This was extremely effective as is showed the audience exactly what Malevole had seen. The reactions of the characters were clearly shown by the expressions on their faces and the shape of their bodies. The image was powerful and worked well.
The third still image shows the after effects of the ‘death’ of Pietro. Malevole is being crowned the new duke whilst Pietro is watching. Behind that is the ‘dead’ Pietro, to show the audience what happened before this. Aurelia is kneeling beside the ‘dead’ Pietro with her hands together in prayer. We decided to do this because we thought the image of the dead Pietro behind the new duke would be very striking. It was very compelling and worked to great effect. Still images worked well with this scene because there was a lot that we could use.
The third scene we used was Act five Scene two. We decided to try out forum theatre because we all felt that we could give each other some tips on how to make the characters more realistic and better acted. At the beginning we all felt a bit wary of it and didn’t want to offend anybody. But we got into it and we all gave each other tips on how we believed each part should be acted. Parts were swapped and questions were asked about the reasons why a part was acted in such a way. For example, the part of Maria was fine but we all felt it could be more dramatic.
We each gave our thoughts like putting more expression into her speech and openly showing her emotions. She would be rather angry and insulted at this point so these emotions had to come across to the audience, which they weren’t before we helped. We then decided that someone else should try the part. I think forum theatre is an extremely good way of getting everybody used to every part. It also helps people to feel more confident and in the long run improves everyone’s acting skills. The fourth scene we explored was Act four Scene one. We decided to use hot seating for this act.
We decided to act out a group therapy session to make the hot seating more interesting and we all slipped into our roles fairly well. However, some of the characters started to take up traits that weren’t in their usual character. For example, Emilia became very outgoing and her and Bianca started a slanging match with Maquerelle so we had to stop and say that a character was acting oddly and that she should be more like her normal character. We all did this fairly well except for a few slip-ups but they were easy to fix. I think all in all it went well.