Case Study – Catherine Tate

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.


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