Politics of Memory – Groupwork for Bethnal Green

Olivia and I went on YouTube, and found and chose all the soundtracks and backing music for our piece. Then Shakira, the other group member, just put them into the order that I wanted them and emailed them to me.

I met up with a student producer on Friday 13th March 2015. Together we set up the music that is going to be used as a backing track for the piece, putting it in the right order.

Olivia and I are doing the stage tech run today (Wednesday 18th March). Andre, a group member from my drama group, has kindly agreed to do the technical support needed for the day of the performance as Jay the technical advisor is not available on that day.

Olivia and I created the Powerpoint together. I used all the research I obtained from the Bethnal Green archives. I did all the research for that part alone. Olivia and Vicky read through some of the newspaper reports I obtained and suggested what could be included.

I was asked by the tutor, Eve, on Monday 16th March to include Mary in our group as she didn’t have a group already. I had to create a new character within the group so she could take this assessment. I used the Bethnal Green interviews. When I went home Monday night, I looked at all the characters within the group and linked the characters with extracts from the interview transcripts using colour coding to identify which character the extract related to. When we come to perform it, we can look at the interview transcripts like a play script so we know when we need to come in.

The next day I gave the other students the interview transcripts and the words to the song that we are going to sing – I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts.

We still have to produce one liners that fit into the time of World War II but this is an ongoing process.

First possible one liner:

Question: You know what?

Response: No

Answer: You’re barmy!

I went to visit Jay for a tech rehearsal for my other module – Applied Children’s Theatre. I had a brief discussion asking him about what I could do for the Bethnal Green performance because I wanted to create the atmosphere of being in a dark tunnel.

Previously on my HNC course, I did a course where we used torches to produce the atmosphere of being in a tunnel. I wasn’t sure if we would be able to do this again. I asked Jay for some suggestions and he suggested using torches, so I decided to go with this idea. I’ve asked the group to bring in one torch for themselves and one for an audience member so the audience can participate and light up the actors.

We are also going to use props. Through the research and photos I got from the archives, it showed that slapstick comedy was popular during that time. Men dressed up as women using aprons and balloons, and tea towels on their heads as scarves. They used to do this type of slapstick comedy to keep people’s spirits high and bring out community spirit. Going into the shelters at night was a regular occurence, and scary and unsettling for most people. I thought it was very important, as the main idea of the piece is to show community spirit and the emotional content which is the main body of the whole piece, to show how emotions can be developed through theatre. I wanted to show the devastation of the bombings and how sadness showed through the stories of the survivors and what happened to show the survivors respect through story telling.

Olivia and I researched on the internet. We found newspaper clippings about March 1943, reports of the disaster which were published afterwards. We are yet to copy that off and will make the paper old by dying it with teabags to get the effect. We are also going to make a sandwich board advertising what happened on that disasterous night. Also the actor, Olivia, will be giving out newspapers to the audience as they would have done in those days.

The props we are using are balloons, aprons, torches, a tray, cakes, army uniforms and hat, policeman’s whistle and hat, newspapers and sandwich board.


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