I have chosen to analyse the performance of Jamie Hackshaw (Son), Danny Hodsall (Father) and Lee Green (Doctor), and my own group’s presentation, which were both based on breaking the news of cancer. Danny Hodsall’s group portrayed the news of cancer being broken to a Father and Son in a Doctor’s Surgery. Ours involved the news being broken initially to the victim’s daughter, and then to the rest of the family. In Danny’s group, the doctor was positioned with his back to the audience.
This was effective because it meant that the focus was not on his face, just on the reactions of the Father and Son. It might have created a problem with acoustics and blocked the audience’s view of the Father and Son’s faces, but was avoided by the way the actors positioned themselves. The Doctor spoke loudly to compensate. In our group, I (Julie) was incorrectly positioned, with my back to the audience during the second scene, which I feel might have impaired the audience’s view of my reaction, and the reactions of other members of the group.
In the Doctor’s Surgery, fewer characters and no unnecessary conversations made a strong impact, focussing on reactions when the news is broken. This also meant it felt realistic. One problem with taking this approach could be that there was less opportunity for personalities to be conveyed to the audience through interaction with others. In my opinion, the impact of the news was greater because the personalities of the characters were not elaborated on. In our presentation, the story was slightly more complex, as more characters were involved.
It focused on the situation in which the characters found out, as well as their reactions. This could be considered a disadvantage, as it took attention away from the impact of the bad news. However, one advantage of having a larger group of characters would be that personalities are easily distinguished/ recognised due to interaction with others. The change of scene in our presentation added variety. Scene two added to the tension/awkwardness of the situation, as the family had just sat down to a quiet dinner when the news was revealed, causing chaos.
Important aspects of both presentations were the Parent/Child relationships. In the ‘Doctor’s Surgery’, a stereotypical Father/ son relationship was illustrated by use of language. An example of this was the Father’s comment to his son ” At least you’ll get to have time off school” This and other reassuring comments (from the son also) gave the impression that Father and Son were hiding their emotions from each other, although clearly their fears were just below the surface.
In contrast, the ‘Mother-and-Daughter’ relationship between Emma (Sarah) and Charmaine (Hannah) was honest and blunt; they communicated their opinions and emotions without restraint or much concern about upsetting the other. This behaviour is stereotypical of Mother and daughter relationships, as is the reserved behaviour of Father and Son. I think both presentations could be improved by varying the reactions of the family members. In the Doctor’s Surgery, the Father and Son both react by suppressing their emotions, while in our presentation, all of Sarah’s daughters reacted similarly, in anger.
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