May 13 2016

Plan Crucible

How does Miller present ideas about witch-hunts in The Crucible?



In the Crucible, Arthur Miller writes using the allegory to the events and actions of ex-American senator Joseph Mcarthy. The ‘house of un-american activities committee’ was established in late 1938, and with the leadership of Mcarthy, persecuted and discriminated all any communist in America. People used the accusation because there was no real way of proving if the accused was communist. It was one word against the other. This is what Miller uses as he saw these events as a type of ‘political witch-hunt’; and therefore relates their meaning to his scene of 1600’s Salem.

‘Another suggestion to explain the systematic campaign against Rebecca, and inferentially Francis, is the land war he fought with his neighbours, one of whom was a Putnam.’


May 9 2016

Drama in the Making – Presentations

May 4 2016

Hawk Roosting – Analysis


May 3 2016

Working Record – Drama in the Making

The first thing we did, before knowing what the stimulus was was talk about the various ways we can begin any improvisation. Ideas such as finding symbolic meaning, crafting a story, characterization and researching the context came up. I decided to record my and my group’s initial reactions to the stimulus. This would allow us to capture our first and most pure ideas. We could then come back to the recordings when we get stuck so that we remember where we were planning on going.

The stimulus is the song ‘7 years’ by Lucas Graham. After listening to the song twice, the people in my group all said what they thought the message of the song was. I said that the message is that life is short and you don’t want to have regrets near the end. Other ideas were about not having a father figure to guide you and that life is like a bumpy road.

We decided while improvising to get these ideas into our performance by showing and not telling. After the first time improvising, we chose to have Lucas, a character, be near the end of his life in an elderly home looking back at life. Lucas will tell his carer about his life in a narrated style. At first, when he did this, I and another actor began acting out what he was saying and adding more depth to his story. It would be a type of flashback with two actors playing the character of Lucas. We are merging the elderly home with the flashbacks. This will mean that Lucas and the carer will have to freeze frame while younger Lucas and his mother act.

At this point, we felt like we had a good idea so I chose to carry on devising dramatic techniques that could be used during the performance. I also chose to develop our use of light in the performance.

The most used technique is flashbacks. Our whole performance is based on the idea that older Lucas is watching as his life is being performed before his eyes. This technique will be used after older Lucas finishes telling a chapter of his life. The flashbacks will take the audience on a trip through Lucas’s life allowing them to understand the character on a more personal level because it will feel like you have known him their entire life.

The way we will integrate the flashbacks is very reminiscent of one of Bertolt Brecht’s techniques. Verfremdungseffekt is one of his techniques that was created to make the audience feel less connected to the fictional action in the performance. Actors on stage will begin as other old people but when the flashbacks begin the old people on the side perform Lucas’ story. This will make the audience uncomfortable because actors are playing different characters before going off stage and changing costume. The reason I would want to do this is because when the audience feels too comfortable in their seats, no self-reflection occurs and this means nothing has been learnt from watching our performance. Also, in the last scene, young Lucas will swap seats with old Lucas and the carer will not recognise and will begin talking to young Lucas as if he was always speaking to him. This might confuse some of the audience members but this will symbolise that young Lucas has finally caught up with old Lucas. We attempted this in the rehearsed improvisation. Because he never looked back, due to fear, part of him was left in the past, but now that he has looked back he is complete again. This will also communicate to the audience that the performance is ending because the flashbacks have caught up to the present day. The audience will link the actor of young Lucas to flashbacks and that now he is in the present, I want them to realise life is short. Lucas was able to summarise his life in less than 10 minutes.

A spoken thought is another way to provoke the self-reflection. The main use for spoken thought is to show the true intentions and feelings of the characters, mostly Lucas, because when confronted by another character Lucas may be putting up a front because he is scared or another reason. During the flashbacks, spoken thought will be used to show how the mentality of Lucas changes. At the end, Lucas will realise that happiness doesn’t come to those who wait and this is one of the messages I want to put through to our audience.

Use of lights can be developed to enhance the improvised performance. My intention with the performance is to make the audience leave the theatre criticising their own life and stories. The first thing I want to do with the lighting is for the lights in the house to be turned on at the brightest possible setting, instead of the audience being in the dark. This will make the audience feel vulnerable. I want to expose them to the message of the performance. The lights staying on will confuse the audience into thinking that this isn’t a performance where they can just sit back and enjoy the actors portrayal of their characters. There will be not to be any blackouts or fade-outs. I want the audience to see everything. This is something Brecht would do because there will be no breaks for the audience and they will be forced to watch everything, even when the set changes. Strobe lighting will be used when young and old Lucas cross paths when swapping seats. This will communicate to the audience that what is happening is not literal but metaphorical.

Evaluation of Arthur Davies’ character development.

I believe that hot seating is an excellent method for developing a character. The type of questions didn’t directly relate to the performance but questioned the morals and attitude of the characters. This would allow the actors to portray the character more realistically since they will understand the views their roles have. This will, in turn, improve the overall performance. The deeper understanding of the characters will also make creating the plot more fluent.

If there was a way Arthur could improve his methods for characterization, he could carry out an additional activity within his group where lines for the script are read off stage while the actors are on stage focusing on their movement and portayal of their character. Another possiblity is for the actors to improvise off the plot. An unrelated performance with different situations will allow the personality of character to shine through and this knowledge could be used in the real performance.

Apr 19 2016

Final Performance: Oh! What a Lovely War!

Apr 18 2016

Drama Video Journal

Apr 14 2016

Mapping Hale

Rebecca Nurse – ‘Let us rather blame ourselves and-‘ with the entrance of Hale, she tells is ‘I fear it.’  These quotations make the readers feel like Hale is a corrupt man that brings corruption wherever he goes. It would be better to deal with the problem without external help because no good will come with them. Rebecca is a credible character because of her age and this means we can rely on her opinions.

‘charity Proctor charity, what I have heard in a favour. I will not testify in court. God help me, I cannot judge her guilty or innocent – I know not. only this consider: the world goes mad, and it profit nothing you should lay the cause to the vengeance of a little girl.’

Apr 11 2016

Performance Deferred

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to defer the external performance of your “Oh What a Lovely War!” piece until Tuesday 19th of June (a one week deferral).

You will now be timetabled in lessons as normal tomorrow.

Our apologies for the lateness of this notice.

Apr 8 2016

Research Notes – Oh What a Lovely War

My initial response to the script stimulus is that there is a lot of political satire. Satire is a tool that can be used to criticise people through the use of irony, comedy or exaggeration.  While reading the script I became more uncomfortable as the characters, some of whom were symbols of countries, talked about the First World War as a method of making money. I also recognised how the war was perceived differently by people of different ‘classes’ and positions in their careers.

The way that the characters were and possibly did make a profit was through the selling of arms. These men need war to make a substantial profit, this is immoral. This is one of the dark sides of capitalism. In today’s world, one of the biggest weapons manufacturers and distributors is Northrop. It reported revenues of $25.218 billion in 2012. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Northrop was the target of many high-profile criminal and civil cases. In 1995, an employee of TRW Inc., a company Northrop Grumman bought in 2002, discovered that satellite parts manufactured for the U.S. Air Force were faulty and likely to fail in operation. TRW suppressed the employee’s report of the problem and hid the information from the USAF, even after a satellite in space equipped with the faulty parts experienced serious anomalies. These cases can be linked to the fact that many guns during WW1 were faulty and there was a lot of close quarters combat with their bayonets.


The idea that the everyday man is expendable is fascinating. The battle of the Somme lasted 1 July 1916 to 18 November 1916. More than 1,000,000 men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history.  The reasoning behind the battle was to try and break the stalemate and to help relieve some of the pressure on the French at Verdun. This goal was successful but it came with a price, a price that could have very easily been avoided. There was poor planning because the leaders were rushing. Before the battle, there was a five-day bombardment of the German trenches. The aim of this bombardment was to break down the German trenches, also to break down the barbed wire protecting the German trenches. The British Generals were very naive and thought that nothing would be alive on the other side because of the heavy artillery bombardment. Field Marshal Douglas Haig, therefore, ordered his men to walk across no man’s land with 80 pounds of extra equipment. The Germans had hidden in dugouts during the bombardment and weren’t wiped out. They had time to quickly place machine guns ready for the British advancements.  On the first day alone the British suffered 60,000 casualties and 20,000 deaths. The generals had failed to notice that the strategy was terrible but due to stubbornness and failure to assess the situation. The machine gun was also underestimated. This lead to a war of attrition. Many people blamed General Haig. Nearing the end of the war people started to lose confidence in the generals and particularly General Haig. Most of the troops had lost all respect for the generals and confidence in them, at the start of the war people were raring to fight for ‘king & country,’ but by the end of the war, the soldiers couldn’t care less. Their own battalion shot many of their men for ‘cowardice’. The troops had lost belief in the generals leading them to victory in the war.

During the war, a government film was made in Britain. It was heavily censored and was used as propaganda. The most memorable scene for me was when a group of ‘soldiers’ were sent out of the trenches and one man was shot down. This scene is famous for being fake. It was included for dramatic impact. Deaths were entertaining to some people. this could be interesting to explore in the performance.

The style of the script is Pierrot. This a style of comical mime found in French pantomime. I believe the writer wanted the play to allow the audience to laugh at the characters, however, there is still a seriousness cast over the play due to the topic. I will try to bring that into my performance.

I will pick the performer (devised) brief.

The distance between the everyday soldier and the general shows an interesting relationship that could be substituted in many scenarios. The lower class being perceived as less significant is a story we hear far too often in real life. This could be used as inspiration for the performance because the social message of equality will be prominent and audience interaction will be possible.

The letter stimuli could be what our performance is based on. The performance could be the tale of a character writing home and looking retrospectively at how he has gotten into his current position of where he knows he is going to die. Lighting could be used to differentiate between past  and present. We could also explore the censorship of letters from the front line.


When researching, I found a lot of poems relating to WW1 that linked to stimulus ‘Oh what a lovely war’ because they talked about the devastating impact that bromine and chlorine gas had in the trenches. One poem caught my attention, ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ by Wilfred Owen, because the description of gas killing a man that didn’t put his gas mark on was very realistic and intense. I brought it up with my group. We improvised and devised methods that we could use to express the severity of the damage that was caused by gas during WW1. We took turns to show the pain that was described in the poem. When one actor was performing the other actors would stand still, however, in a position of pain. Each actor would show a different source of pain, such as eyes, ears, stomach, lungs and heart.

We experimented with spoken thought. The spoken thought allows the audience to tap into the minds of the characters and see their true feelings. When performing, the best delivery was when the characters spoke more personally to the audience. We decided that this was going to be the way we do spoken thought because it gave the audience time to gather thoughts and opinions. This is an unrealistic method of acting, breaking the fourth wall. We will use this opportunity to relate to the characters on a personal level.

When reading the extract from ‘Oh What A Lovely War’, one aspect that attracted my attention was that the characters were sometimes more of an idea rather than a specific character. We decided to start with basic moulds of a character, rich man,poor man. From these moulds, we would develop the characters so that they would be easier to portrayal because we would have a better understanding of them as actors.



Our final performance will be a series of scenes that are in chronological order. The scenes will focus on the idea of corruption and will try to make the audience feel more sympathetic for the character of lower status.

One of the last scenes will contain a death. Death is difficult to portray on the stage because any suspension of disbelief would become broken. If a character was to die on stage the audience’s attention will be taken away from anything that will be said and will be on the body checking if they are breathing or moving. Anything achieved before this moment will be wasted. If we were to use methods created by Konstantin Stanislavski, which we are, acting death would be impossible since only a rare number of actors have experience of dying. We had to come up with ways to avoid this happening during our performance. I came up with the idea to make the character become a sort of spirit of them self. The characters still alive will act as if the body is still in the position of the original death. There could be a symbol of the character in the place where the person died like a shoe or hat, but the object needs to develop it’s meaning during the performance. When the other characters draw the attention to the prop, the now spirited character has the possibility to talk with the audience and deliver a soliloquy. The characters will not recognise the spirited character. This will give the audience the explanation that it is a sort of fantasy. Another option is to make the death occur off stage and make it implied. We will not have an off stage available so this isn’t an option. We are going to make the dying soldier stand straight on his feet. They will suddenly stop and a track of a heart beat slowing down will start playing. This will symbolise the stopping heart. We will also use red lighting focused on the dying soldier to symbolise the blood and death. During the dying moment, the actor will be able to talk personally to the audience, evoking more emotion.

I came up with the idea for the transition between each scene to be met with a piece of audio. The audio will be a type of narrative that sounds like a radio broadcast. The voice will be one of the actors and will be recorded prior the performance. The messages will either be informative, for example, the number of under-aged soldiers that fought in WW1 and that John Condor was the youngest recorded British soldier to die in the war. I came up with the idea to add names from the audience when calling out the men that joined the army. This derived from Bertolt Brecht’s techniques of making the audience uncomfortable when watching the performance. Hopefully, the impact will be that the audience will feel the shock and fear that men during the time would feel.

Reflection and Evaluation

The intention of our performance is to show corruption in war. We also intended to portray the inequality between different statuses. I believe we succeed in reaching our intention, however, some technological mistakes need  to be looked at.

The relationship between the lower class servant and the upper-class businessman, who becomes a general, was shown well. Gabriel showed his superiority more during the dress rehearsal. This allowed me, who was playing the servant, to have more to work off and be more powerless and submissive. Gabriel having a harsher tone is beneficial for me and the audience, since it shows his power and my reaction will be more realistic.

The transition between the skeet scene to the trench scene could be improved. We attempted to make the transition seamless. Both scenes would contain two guns. This aspect would confuse the audience slightly because suddenly they were thrown in the middle of a battle. The confusion would be similar to the confusion felt by the soldiers, allowing the audience to be more empathetic. I feel that the lighting was ambitious but we should stick with it. After a slight freeze frame, the light will flash white and black and the sound of machine gun fire will symbolise the battle. The problem that occurred was that  the lighting was off with the sound. The sound should be simultaneous with the light.

The unrealistic aspects of the performance were successful as well. The red lighting for spoken thought moments makes it clear to the audience that only they are hearing what is being said/thought. The red lighting will be used any time we perform an unrealistic part of the performance, such as the spoken thoughts or the time my character dies, however, stays standing. This will make it easier for the audience to comprehend.

A problem is that some of the dialogue are improvised and that makes it looked unprofessional and sometimes the things said doesn’t make logical sense. We will need to have clear ideas of what we will say during the performance. The initial scene between me and Gabriel has improvised. This caused inconsistency problems. We planned a script and decided to repeat the word ‘millions’. My character is using the word to talk about the number of deaths while Gabriel’s character is talking about money. We won’t say money or deaths because the way we say it should be clear and it’s unrealistic for people to explain what they mean by what they say in conversation. I have decided to use lines from the famous poem ‘lest we forget’ in my final soliloquy (spoken thought). This will give me a better structure when speaking to the audience.

‘They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we shall remember them.’

I will have to show my character’s anger and confusion, this may lead to me reading this poem in a disrespectful way. Someone needs to question the motives of the men in power and that is what my character will do. Today, everything is questioned and all mistakes by leaders and politicians are noted and they become targeted by social media.

The radio voice overs were very successful and I believe that nothing needs to be improved. The heartbeat soundtrack is really helpful in communicating the idea that the soldier had died.

We had to cut out one scene before the dress rehearsal. We realised that the scene didn’t offer any character development and would confuse the audience. The confusion would come from Gabriel having to play a different character or Gabriel’s character doing something that would not make logical or historical sense. The other two reasons for this edit is so that we can smoothly transition from the skeet scene to the trench scene and some things don’t need to be explained to the audience. The audience would appreciate that we left them with their imaginations to figure out what happened during the scenes. We had to rewrite the light and sound script and delete the unnecessary radio broadcast about conscription.

During the skeet scene, we would hold a freeze frame after each shot. This pose will be visually powerful because it will communicate to the audience the idea that the general and the businessman are more alike than previously thought. The idea that the war and the economy are linked is the main idea we were trying to communicate. They would also hit every clay disc. This would show that the upper class had perfection and did everything perfectly. My character, servant, will open a Champagne bottle. The pose I take will be similar to the shooting pose. We are trying to let the audience see into the future. This can count as chorus of movement. The stance of shooting up will be promenant in this scene.

The final freeze frame for Gabriel and Arthur has been updated. Arthur will now have his hands behind his back with his fingers crossed. In this scene, Arthur is the Prime Minister of the UK. The cross will be visible to the audience. This means that what he says is not truthful, this is a childish thing to do, however, it is understood by the majority and is an unrealistic aspect.

When it came to costume, we decided to keep it simple. We would all wear dark colours but Gabriel’s character will wear a military style blazer with silver buttons to show his higher status. A white military cap will be used when Gabriel’s character is in the army, this with represent his privilege in a time of struggle.


Light and sound script

start off with all lights down.

Sound – Play radio 1 (voice-over) July 28th, 1914

Light – when sound ends fade to white light.

Bruke and Gabriel begin to act when Bruke turns on the radio…

Sound – Play radio 2
(radio) Hello and welcome to the BBC I will talk story Austria-Hungary has declared war on Serbia the possibility of a wider conflict is looming over the rest of Europe.

Spoken thoughts by Bruke and Gabriel.
Light – red + white.
Bruke will go last.
Light – white.

They will carry on acting.

Freeze frame.

Light – fade to black.
Sound – Play radio 4 in darkness.
(Radio) The spoils of War a glorious businessman who own weapons factory across the world are living in a world Of glamour and riches, their only worry, what happens when the war ends.

Light – when radio ends white light.

They act and shoot clay discs.

Sound – After second shots, play machine gun. Until Arthur runs on stage.
Light – flash white with the machine gun.

Sound – When Bruke starts walking forward play heart beat.
Light – flash red with the heart beats.

Hold red light.

Light – When Bruke walks backwards fade to white.
When Arthur and Gabriel shake hands fade red.




Jan 15 2016


The themes of love and hate are presented in act 3 scene 1. Ceasar is assassinated in the Capitol. Love is presented when when the last word that comes out of Caesar’s mouth is “Ceasar!”. The love that Caesar has for himself is clear as the cliché for dying words is along the lines of ‘tell my wife, I love her’. Shakespeare wanted to represent Caesar’s arrogance and Caesar as a character overall in his last words.