Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Cardboard Citizens

I have just come home from watching 'The Help' and thought it was great. Before i went in i was a but dubious of what it was going to be like as i have been a bit sceptical of Forum Theatre before. However this piece was really thought provoking and informative. One of the issues that really hit home with me was the amount that hostels cost to stay in! I felt so naieve that i didn't know so many things about this area and to be honest, however much i don't want to admit it, that it had never truely crossed my mind. However saying this, i feel that the whole wpoint of Cardboard Citizen is to help and educate and they really educated me on an area of life which i was quite uninformed about.

The joker - I thought she was excellent. She really kept the piece together and moved the piece forward without dissmissing any point or suggestions that were highlighted by the audience. I felt she instantly relaxed the audience by 'clapping and chearing the late commers'. This was something that automatically warmed up the crowd and made me want to listen to what she had to say.

The antagoinists again were really good. They made it hard for the specator but without making the volentee feel like there idea was given, then a door slammed in their face. They worked with them but encouranginly against them.

I did find it hard to completely engage and connect with some of the stories such as Rowina's or John's as i have never seen or been in those situations myself. However it was nice to feel that this was ok as the joker made me feel that even though i may have not been in these situations, i was still a human being and therefore could empathise with the protagonist through human emotion.

The Props were outstanding! the use of puppets as the children were creative and believable thorough characturisation. My personal faveroite was the younger actor being the babies head with the body being a puppet. Using his facial expression completed this particular story for me as it allowed the audience to see the perspective of the child as well as thinking about the protagonist.

The bag lady was a great way to connect the scenes but also allow the audience to keep homing back in to the original point of homelessness. The running joke of the spicy soup was especially well placed as it kept the piece upbeat whilst not detracting from the main point of the forum piece.

The fact that it was so hard to come up with suggestions really resinated with me about how hard it must be for the people in those situations and made me really think about what i would do if i were in that situation and how would i try to get out it. I didn't get many concrete answers of how you would but has definately made me think about the issue seriously.

I felt the way that the piece was put across to us was great by the company as a whole because i felt that even though the performance was over, i felt free to ask how to help with the situation or if i was a homeless person watching this that i could chat to them and maybe find help with a way to improve my situation.

We went for a drink with the actors after the production finnished and it was nice to hear about their situatuations and how they became involved with cardboard citizens. It was reassuring that they really work hard with people in hostels and don't just go in, show them a play and the leave and how much hope they give the audience watching the piece and really try them to get involved; not just with the performance itself but with the work that they do before and after. They are going on to show a piece in a prision in London but there is no way to see it unless im in prison - so petty crime is on my do to list!

The main thing i was worried about was that when we come to do our pieces, i dont want to just go into a place a come across patronising or seem like 'i know what your going through' when i dont have a clue. I spoke to the Joker about this and the main advice she gave me was be honest, don't just pretend to save face and research, research, research! It has made me really enthustiastic about our up and coming projects.

If you didn't see this show then truely you missed out. I came away feeling really possitive, motivated and inspired.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

09/10/2008 Lession on Narrative

What happened in the lecture...
  • Ball Throwing Game
  • Read the start of 'Overspill' in groups of three then watched one group perform it
  • The 12 Dancing Princesses told in different way
- Relaxed way (allowed to sit in a comfy position)
- Primary School Teacher (Patronising, acting out the words i.e Rowing, disjointed, sit up straight, told off)
- Students took the seat and tried to relay the story back. If got it wrong another student allowed to sit in the chair and tell the story correctly
- Adapting the story, using the same start then going around the circle saying a couple of sentences to develop the story into something different
  • Tell a true story to each other in Pair, One interview style (i.e. controlling the story by asking questions) and the other free speech (letting the storyteller speak freely without questions)
  • Read our Stories back to each other and then in groups of 4
  • Chose a story and how/where to stage that story
In the lecture when Molly was telling us the story, I felt relaxed and free to imagine the story how I wanted to and as she allowed us to relax and just told us the story, the story told itself and allowed the class to get lost in imagining the fairytale in our heads. Then as soon as Molly suddenly changed into a very assertive manner and told us all to sit up and concentrate, this completely distracted me from the story. Molly also told us to stop fidgeting and to act out the actions within the book like, the rowing of the boat. Telling the story in this way made the narrative disjointed and almost felt like she was forcing us to imagine what the boat would look like and what the castle would look like instead, of just allowing our minds to wander and imagine freely. The status between Molly and the class at this point was very unequal. However when we started to move on and were allowed to tell the story ourselves sitting in the 'teacher's chair' it allowed the distance in status to diminish. This was taken one step further when we all sat on the floor in a circle and allowed to adapt the story sentence by sentence. However this total equality did have its limitations as you would have a sentence of what you wanted to say already in your head and then the person before you would change the story completely so it forced you to be spontaneous and give up your idea. Another downside to telling a story this way is when you come up with an idea and then the person next to you says 'no they didn't do that they did ...'. In a class children where some of the members might be quite shy these sorts of comments can be a little bit damaging.

When we told a true story of a night out that we had had to another member of the class and they told it back to us, i became very possesive over my story. If they missed a slight detail out i wanted to correct them as i felt that every point was important However, when reading someone else's story i felt quite responsible for not missing out details on their story. It was quite nice to learn a little bit more about someone that otherwise i might not have known.