Friday, 18 May 2012

Adjudication of The Attic, The Pearls And Three Fine Girls

Compiled by Carol Beauchamp, Executive Director

Highlights from the detailed adjudication by Annette Procunier of Gore Bay Theatre’s presentation of The Attic, The Pearls And Three Fine Girls at Theatre Ontario Festival 2012.
  • Set: Representational walls were a successful choice for this play, they created working spaces for the actors, and a particularly good choice for a traveling set; the use of lighting effects helped to enhance the creation of spaces successfully
  • 1st Entrance: The actors entered in a black-out and used flashlights.  This was a good choice to create a sense of entering the attic and also the excitement of young children. (The original script called for the entrance to me made through a trap door).  Annette suggested using an upstage entrance for the “attic” entrances – creates a definitive space helping to define the “attic” scenes for the audience by creating this convention.  It also encourages a great use of the overall space.
  • The pieces around the stage did not necessarily enlighten the audience – everything should give us a sense of time and space.  Suggest putting props into specific spaces e.g. living room, attic.  This further engages the whole space.  Would also suggest exploring what things are, and why they are there (particularly Jelly’s boxes, being distinct from attic “junk”).
  • The transitions between scenes were good – the convention of the music and lighting helped with these transitions.  Would suggest the actresses keep the emotion of one scene a little longer during the transition – take the moment – allow the audience to gradually join you in the next scene.
  • The music plot was lovely – 4 original tracks were in this plot – the choices were good and enhanced what we saw on stage.
  • Always aim to enlighten the playwright’s intention – it is about the script – choices need to be dramaturgically sound and connected to the script – we need to respect that.  Let the play be the play.  Pace coupled with the - rhythm – it is the director’s responsibility to create a believable situation by controlling the pace and the rhythm of the play.
  • Characters – the casting choices for this play were good – the look and feel worked, with good contrasts in physicality this was reflected particularly well between Jelly and the two older sisters Jayne and JoJo, as the two older women are more closely aligned.
  • The inherent challenge in the writing of this play is that the children are the first to enter – this creates a difficulty in engaging with the audience – adult women portraying children – we were not always sure what age the children were.  The actors need to make very specific vocal and physical choices to define the age of the children they are playing.  How are they different?  What age are they in relation to each other?  How do the choices for the children inform the choices for the adults they become?
  • Vocal energy needs to match the physical energy, particularly at the beginning of the play.  The first entrance on stage is the most important.  Need more focus on the vocal choices, and more focus on the individual intentions of each character, so the audience knows what to watch?  Whose scene is it?  What is their intention?  Good surprise of Jelly.
  • Specifics of the clothes – why are you wearing what you are wearing e.g. Jelly’s bra – we need to understand who Jelly is trying to be – who each child is trying to be when they are dressing up – this will help the audience to understand.
  • There was good physical awareness and strong use of bodies by each of the actresses on stage – all were very good at this. 
  • Arguments were believable – particularly towards the latter half of the play. 
  • Shared memories – there is an opportunity to further explore the sudden realization of a shared memory when the sisters are adults – particularly between JoJo and Jayne.  The audience needs to see the beginning of the recognition of these memories.
  • The cast created an environment where the audience cared about them and entered into their world.
  • Within the fast pace of the play, consideration should be given to the rhythm – there were beautifully times exchanges between JoJo and Jayne whilst ignoring Jelly.
  • Watch how the children interact – they all have different ways of behaving as children and adults – they need to keep their own specific character identity – be careful not to meld the character to become a group.
  • Good job in creating momentum within each scene.
  • There are complexities of the script with respect to the boxes.  If its Jelly’s image and idea, one essential question is to ask – whose story are we telling?  Annette’s conclusion is that this is Jelly’s story – she is the central character.  The boxes are part of this – the boxes could grow into something for the art installations that Jelly is preparing for in Germany – an artistic creation could develop as Jelly’s confidence and character develops.
  • The Boxes on stage right are indistinct – there is an opportunity to have something grown and develop out of this – this would give us an opportunity to understand another truth.  Perhaps connect the significance of the pears further to the boxes at the conclusion of the play.
  • Go back to the script and review every reference to the boxes – your roles as creative artists is to go beyond the italics and further create.
  • As directors it is important to look for some recurring image that we can take throughout the play and throughout each character.  This can balance the relentless argument of the play.   We can become engaged in the installation and creation of the artwork of the boxes.
  • Last third of the play:  money is an underlying theme in this part of the play – explore the unsaid stuff.  Don’t let the intensity of the argument mask what you want the audience to know.  Break down the narrative components – what are the issues that are important to each character and each scene.  Why did the writer choose the words used?  When working on a script that builds emotional intensity – particularly one that has vague wording, it behooves the actors to fully understand the scene and what is left unsaid.
  • Dancing between Jayne and JoJo very successful during the funeral party scene.  The Tam O’Shanter Scene less successful.
  • JoJo putting on the bridal dress was very good – a good sense of creating the decay that JoJo is going through – the threatening aspect of the cake knife captured the essence of the moment really well.
  • The fighting scenes as children were a little restrained – you  need to give yourself permission to go for it – don’t hold back – training and practice help with this.
  • Arcing in the play – each time a new character comes in they create an arc that builds.
  • There is a difference between acting technique and the character.  The character needs to do something, therefore the actor needs to it e.g. the character is going to hit someone or something – the actor needs to hit – cannot hold back.

No comments:

Post a Comment