Baker, B. Redeeming Features of Daily Life (2008) (pp 211)
Beacom, B. (2015) ‘Brendan O’Carroll interview: I always wanted to please my mammy’ The Big Issue, 17 March
Bellinger, M, The Commedia Dell’Arte (1927), pp 153-157)
Dey, M. Devising Solo Performances (2015) Falmouth University (pp 18-22)
Kaplan, E. Going the distance: trauma, social rupture, and the work of repair (2005) pp 171-183
Oddey. A . Devising theatre a practical and theoretical handbook (1996) Routledge ( pp 25, 26, 27 )
Oh what a lovely war’ by Joan Littlewood, Len Deighton and Charles Chilton, (2014) Directed by Terry Johnson,( Stratford Theatre Royal, February 2014)
Taylor, D. Trauma and Performance: lesson from America (2006) pp 1675-1677
BBC, (2012) Mrs Brown Boys ‘Mammy’s going’ Series 2 Episode 5, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U430rpfjIIQ
BBC Worldwide, (2007) The French Exam Series 3 Episode 5, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zV1zK8zRCPo
mrsbrownboysofficial30 (2009) Brendan O’Carroll (Mrs Brown) in Fattest man in Britain https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yehcgG7MwMs
Beacom, B. (2015) ‘Brendan O’Carroll interview: I always wanted to please my mammy’ The Big Issue, 17 March
Oddey experiments with group work to explore the challenges of devised theatre since the 1960’s. The devising methods makes the performer confront what they devising within their performance. It engages with people on different levels. Working within the group you must develop a relationship thee must trust , honesty and openness between the group members. This enables the performances to move forward and create a devised piece. Within group work she states you must have trust to enable to reflect criticism within your performance.
As this helps you devising work to move forward and integrate to the next level. When devising a piece of work you must include stimula to understand the development of the performance which it is process. When in disagreement in regard to the processes of your performance this is reflected as a healthy option because it opens up new ideas and concepts on how you can move on from one point to another and reflect on how you can make changes to develop further strategies within your performance.
When devising core elements is essential skill as you are developing and processing your performance as you go along this is a learning process to develop new materials to our devised piece.
When devising on your piece you must think carefully on the subject matter for example Oddey had a open meeting that focused on women with alcoholic issues. She suggests to create an open environment so the audience felt the atmosphere of the piece that was happening. Oddey by positioning one of the actors to sit within the audience this brought the audience into the performance and this reflected how the audience member can feel connected and feel part of whats going on within the performance.
This precis connects with my autobiographical solo performance because it focus on alcoholic issues and this reflect on my mum that was a alcoholic, a gambler and a smoke . This linked in very well with the subject matte that was going around my performance.
She discusses that it has to be wide spread otherwise without people’s involvement, it wouldn’t work to expectation. Researching about the feeling of involvement. She’s basically researching on her own experience. The emotions that were spread being contagious, body to body transmission of embodied, was surreal to her. A form of political empowerment. The big question to ponder is how those who haven’t faced violence can comprehend it. Through encroaches, it is assumed that the traumatic experience can be passed on to those who didn’t participate. Cultural agency, the power to understand the how power is being transmitted.
Political demonstrations closes trauma because it offers a platform for formal closure, repair, eliminating self-pity, legitimizing the occurrence or the fact that such stuff happened. Uses case study and builds on it in a theoretical way. Performance and trauma always repeat itself. Trauma brings one back to the painful event e.g. war, death of loved one. Both felt in the present ie performance and trauma. Building a new theoretical framework to address the Argentinian case. Traumatic experience might be transmittable but is inseparable from the subject who suffers it. ‘Whether we situate trauma in the individual or social body its expression depends on live reenactments and interactive performance. (pp 1676)
‘Transmission also works through that interactive telling and listening associating with live performance’. ‘Bearing witness requires live participation it is doing an act of transfer that takes place in the here and now in the presence of the listeners.’ I believe that trauma driven performance does make us be the individual, collective, intergenerational and even national repercussions of human rights violations over the long term. (1675) ‘The fact that we cannot neatly separate trauma from post-traumatic stress points to the centrality of the reiterated effects that constitute the condition.
‘Like performance, trauma always makes itself viscerally in the here and now’
Diana Taylor reflects and talks about traumatic events that has happen in the past and how this can be transcribed through performance by listening and speaking. Through performance an individual i.e. the performer brings a power with a political message. Traumatic experiences is a mental issue or long term condition. Within performance trauma positions itself continuously so that the performer can create a comedic atmosphere which covers the traumatic experience but still leaving the awareness of the trauma. This fits in very well with what I wanted to do with my performance I didn’t want the audience to focus on the trauma I didn’t want to create pity within the audience. I just wanted to focus on the here and now. I think that this particular reading and relates to what I was saying with a light humor effects so it takes away the sadness that lies behind the performance.
Diana Taylor Trauma and Performance: lesson from America (2006) pp 1675-1677
It is imperative to understand communication experience distance this has a connection to the character that the actor is playing they do this by living inside the story and stepping outside of one self. Therefore this undermines peoples viewpoints and makes a vehicle and social change through thought using stories that heeled people and helped them grow having a feeling of living in someone else’s skin through the character of one self in regard to personal stories and this creates and empathy and distance because of living inside the story because you step out of one self. When engage this engagement is needed as this gives control over traumatic memory’s and for insight you experience a reaction which gain control over traumatic memory’s which in return rewrites the plot and at the same time honors other positions without disorient which gives good tools to use within engagement and growth but there is a need for critical distance between the actor.
Witness testimony from truth and commission hearings, what does it mean to retell a story? What does it say? What right does an actor have to retell the story? What is the distance part? Also what weight does live experience have? Does it have one type of knowledge When doing workshops rumor or soldiers and kidnapping also sadly been killed and the identify to soldiers that become dealt and productive distance was not easy to achieve, during workshops teenagers started to talk and communicated to each other and shared fears and hopes and talking about this war but they were energized by the work it helped break the epic line because before there was no conversation when the teenagers were on the break from the workshop within the workshop the stories expressed different powers for example group identity they did this by using trust exercises and they used slow and soft ones using laughter to cover discomfort.
Within the different groups they identified age, gender, disability, religion, power also power identity’s was exploited horizontal shared power which created control but this is not easy as what I think when I see you or what is true about me and what message have I gave? Name calling because of your religion or ethnicity can say you may have power or no power stereo typing and power is used as well as practical realization and imagined voice compassionate listening through expressing own stories within role reversal you are commented to hear uncensored story, there two groups one of which are Jewish and the other group is Arab boys.
Within the workshop the two groups of boys worked in pairs one of the boys said from one group said “I admire you.” and the other group replied “I will change something about myself.” “Without listening to the enemy I could not make informed decisions”, when the scripted seen there is no passion or power involved within the characteristic Arab’s and Jews teenagers created together original plays and performed it in public schools when using distance it helps the actor remember what was left out for example whether the character was supposed be showing humor through there acting.
Kaplan explores how with the use of power challenges how people are socially accepted whether it be through religion or status etc. I would like to express how being a disabled person makes you socially different in the same way that Kaplan expressed with the two boys that are socially different but by using power and performance through acting you can change this perception and put this in another light. I wanted to reflect how disabled people should be socially accepted and I believed this fit in with my work.
Ellen w. Kaplan: Going the distance: trauma, social rupture, and the work of repair (2005) pp 171-183
This case study will focus on Brenden O’Carroll who is the writer and main actor comedian of the series of Mrs Brown Boys.
According to an interview in The Big Issue, (2015) it was the death of his mother that made Brendan O’Carroll become a comedian. O’ Carroll states in the interview ‘But my mammy was part of this. I made it because I’d kept it all going for so long. It was mammy who gave me belief’.
(The Big Issue, March 2015)
This indicates how the relationship with his mother inspired him to create comedy. In his comedy show Mrs Brown Boys (that he wrote and performs as Mrs Brown) he recreates a traditional Irish mother figure. By performing this, it was his way to connect with his mother. This applies to me as it reflects the way I look after my children. I show this in my performance by using plates and knives and serving fruit to show a loving caring mother who looks after her children. However my own upbringing was the opposite and I wanted to show this to the audience without the audience showing a reflection of sadness or pity. By using comedy this changed the atmosphere and changed the seriousness of the sad memory. This linked with ‘Oh what a lovely War’ as they used humour to cover the traumatic horrific subject matter which takes the edge of the trauma effect which the actor is trying to portray to the audience. I felt this connected very well with Mrs Brown Boys Character as it linked it with my solo autobiography.
In the second series of Mrs Brown Boys, an episode titled ‘Mammy’s going’ specially shows how the children of Mrs Brown are talking about Mrs Brown dog and how they believe the dog needs to go to a home. Mrs Brown listens in to the conversation, where she misunderstands and assumes that they are discussing about her. She creates comedy by the use of facial expressions and over exaggerating moments. For example when one of her sons says ‘She was pissing herself as she was walking and didn’t even know it’ Mrs Brown looks down on the floor and grabs a mops to wipe where she has been standing. By watching this episode it gave me ideas on what I could use in my performance. I used a ‘big arse’ to exaggerate and used props to extend the meaning behind my autobiographical performance. I used parody comedy so the audience would detach and not feel sorry for me. In the same way Mrs Brown used this in his performance to give the audience choice to how to react. (Mrs Brown Boys Series 2 Episode, January 2012)
This is referring to ‘Oh what a lovely war’ as they use parody comedy and Commedia dell’arte. They achieve this by the use of clowning costumes and the use of voice for example one scene in the play the Sergeant shouts orders to the soldiers that are clothes in clown costumes and are holding umbrellas. This combination of using props and costumes created humour as it detach you from reality. Also the tone of the sergeant’s voice was low and he was giving orders using gibberish language. Oh what a lovely war The Musical at Theatre Royal Stratford February (2014)
Commedia dell’arte is a type of theatre that is based on improvisation on real life events. It began in Italy in the 16th Century. (Bellinger, 1927, pp 153-157)
Misri Dey states how when developing a solo performance how it evolves around one person’s story which is usually viewed by numerous audience members this puts the performer in a vulnerable position, but gives power and control to the performer. She suggests how by speaking to the audience it creates engagement to the audience. This works considerably well and brings political issues within the piece of work. It shows you power gets your message across between the performer and the audience.
In regard to the practitioners within their interviews they was a complex way of proceeding. Etchells, Baker and Pearson specially used auto biographical performance to bring their personal experiences to life, in order for the audience to see from another perspective and experience other people’s memories. Misri (2015, quoted in Baker and Barret, 2007, p.30) ‘Baker has made an extensive body of solo work, spanning over forty years. She uses sculpture, interactive installation, theatre, performance art, film, music and more recently movement, and is renowned for her strongly visual performance, having trained as a fine artist at St Martin’s School of Art, London. Like many other experimental visual artists, she started to include herself as a performer in her artwork, wryly documented as starting on the 15th November 1973 in her piece called Princess Anne’s Wedding Day: ‘a marvellously auspicious occasion on which to become a “performance artist”’
Bobby Baker has unusually method of interacting solo work with her use of performance art, Movement and use of props. Baker has over 40 years’ experience as a performance artist, her work involves working with mental illness. The use of props and the awareness of mental health conditions reflects on my solo autobiographical piece because my mother was an alcoholic, a gambler and addicted to cigarettes. Baker gave me the idea to use props within my solo performance because it brings that power for what you are trying to perceive.
I also researched other work that Brendan O’Carroll did for example I watched a scene in the film (The Fattest Man in Britain) where Brendan played a vicar at a funeral. It was hilarious because the use of over exaggerated props for example the oversized coffin that had to be lifted by a Crane. The coffin had a picture of an English breakfast this how the person showed the cholesterol dietary health problems and what can happen to people who overeat. I particularly liked the part where the coffin got stuck in the plot of ground made for the coffin. The grave was too small for the coffin that was extremely oversized, so the vicar played by Brendan O’Carrol and the funeral members jumped on the coffin to make it go in the ground. It gave me the idea that you can cover the sadness behind the story you are reflecting as a solo performer and used this within my work.
(The Fattest Man in Britain 2009)
My first case study will be exploring the techniques and materials that Catherine Tate uses in her performances. I will be explaining the techniques that she uses and how I used these materials in my own performance.
Catherine Tate is a well-known comedian that has done various character comedy, she aims to portray characters that people can relate do in everyday life. For example in The Catherine Tate Show she plays the school girl character Lauren, the Nan, the overreacted upper class mother, an Irish Nurse and a paranoid woman. I liked the way that Catherine Tate plays Lauren, how she interrupts other people in the scene for example in the episode The French Exam (2006) where she is being obnoxious and couldn’t be bothered attitude. This reflects the way she uses characters that you can relate to. Especially Lauren the school girl, as a teenager you have similar views on what she is going through. I related this to my autobiographical work as some traits she showed was how I was as I was growing up, so this inspired me to use these materials in my own work.
(The French Exam Series 3 Episode 5 November 2006)
Catherine Tate uses very effectively phrases things e.g. Her School Girl character Lauren saying ‘Am I bothered’. It draws the audience in and makes the audience give their own interpretation of what she is doing. Her school girl character Lauren relates to my autobiographical teenage self, which is an archetypal teenager that many of us can identify with. It also links into the older character who has a strong, boisterous determination and likes to swear. The piece that I produced is about my upbringing, my disability and links to my aims in my performance piece. My mother was an alcoholic and it portrays how she was with me, for example swearing and being aggressive most of the time. It shows the East End matriarch. These are characters that all of us can identify with to some extent. A part of myself, my mother and the character I wanted to portray on stage as well.
In my research Misri Dey the writer of Devising Solo Performance suggests how solo devising uses a set of different approaches to create and devise new elements within theatre work. She discusses how theatre consists of experimental practices which creates creativity through the working process within solo performances. The creative processes in regard to writing within a performance, is both challenging by writer and performer. ‘Bobby Baker acknowledges this gap in her book Bobby Baker: Redeeming Features of Daily Life (2008): ‘as it went along we realized how little there was about process in it’ (BB1: 1). 3.’ This demonstrates how the solo performer is more focused on what is going on rather than processing information at the time.
Misri (2015 stated from Melrose, 2007: 1) ‘Initial surveys of writing on devising and post-dramatic work confirmed that group devising is commonly discussed as synonymous with devising itself and solo devising remains undefined: like practitioner expertise, it is ’not lost but not yet
This statement describes the processes of devising work within solo pieces and how the solo pieces are a continuation seamless piece without an ending. It is continuous as it is a work in process.
(Dey Misri 2015: 18) Devising Solo Performances
She discusses and explores how social mixed ethical groups are able to perform even though the social impact can interfere with the topic matter within working solo performance. This can help me develop different strategies that opens up different questions and answers which helps the process of social impact within solo performances. This may include how to strategist and use humor and to transform the political seriousness behind the work that gives the audiences the lighter experience of what is going on.
‘Baker subsequently went on to develop a series of small-scale solos from 1988–2001, later named the ‘Daily Life Series’, using food, projected film and multiple objects, as well as characteristic tones of humor, abjection, celebration and awkwardness. The work is overtly personal, autobiographical narrative: ‘It’s all about myself. I don’t go much further than that because I don’t work in another way’ (BB1: 18). At the same time, she plays with the notion of identity, as fluid and unstable, repeatedly performing multiple versions of herself: ‘I’d like to make it absolutely clear, yet again, that I am Bobby Baker (taps her head) and I am (gestures to her breasts) a woman. Good. I am glad we got that straight’ (Baker& Barrett, 2008: 211).
Bobby Baker uses and specifically focuses on feminine issues to open up the awareness of the political propaganda around femininity and the objectives that are happening. Bobby Baker achieves this through using comedy to create humor to cover the trauma of the sexist issues in regard to women using their breasts.