By Noel Coward
Performed by Nothcott Theatre Company
Private lives is a play that is set in France, 1930's which explores the absurdities of human emotions. The story is based around two recently married couples who are on the there honeymoon. I will reflect on my understanding of how the elements of drama are used in the play, and deliver my interpretation.
The first scene is set on a balcony at a French hotel that is overlooking a harbour. The colour of the hotel has been made to reflect the time of day, which is evening. The colours were blue and purple which gave and effective, evening atmosphere. The lighting has been directed to highlight the balcony that the actors work on, and I noticed that there was a slightly rippling light that was imitating light that was being reflected off the water. There was a big sign at the top of the wall which had the French name of the hotel. I think this gave the audience a visual perception of the location other wise the may have not understood. On the balcony there were two sections that were divided by a few large pot plants on each side was a table, a couple of chairs and its own private entrance to their room. I thought that the split stage was an interesting way of displaying the similar situation that the two couples were in, and it also showed a link between the two couples.
The story begins when the first newly wed arrive on the shared balcony at the French hotel. Eliot, who has a suave, lofty charm, enters the stage with Sibyl Chase, who has a perfect kittenish nature who constantly wants reassurance that she outshines her husband's first wife, Amanda. Coincidently, that very woman arrives, sashaying onto the balcony in a stunning silk gown with her new husband victor. The gown was the first thing that I noticed about her and I think that her cloths are a big part of her character, because it displays what type of person she is as soon as the enters the stage. Her personality, being confident, successful and spoilt. I fell that the costumes reflect all of the characters personalities. Sibyl arrived in a smart, cute skirt and jacket, with here hair neatly short and curly. Her husband had a smart three piece suit on and came across to be very proud and successful (much like Amanda), and victor also wore a three piece suit but he was very smart and well mannered.
Costume is a very important part of the character, especially on the first time they enter the stage. That is when the first impression ids made by the audience.
When the first newly wed couple, Sibyl and Eliot, arrived on the stage the first thing I noticed was the Excitement that the two people had. Sibyl, being quite a bubbly person, was buzzing and energetic. She seemed almost childlike. She constantly looked for re-assurance from her husband, and pestered him about Amanda. I could tell that she was pushing Elyot's patience. She seemed to whine like a little girl and always seek his attention.
When they left the stage Amanda and her husband, Victor came out almost instantly. In her stunning silk gown, Amanda filled the room with her upper-class accent and her confident attitude. She wore red lipstick and her hair was pulled back into a slick knot. Victor, much alike Sibyl, also constantly looked for assurance from Amanda that he was a more suitable husband than Elyot. He supported his case with the fact that he is more reliable and can offer her more stability in a relationship.
At this point it is obvious from there costumes that the two couples aren't quite right. Amanda and her gown, with Victor in his English tweed, Elyot in his triple breasted three piece suit, and Sibyl and her frumpy skirt and jacket. To me the couples just don't match up visually.
Sibyl goes off to have a bath and Victor goes and gets changed which left Amanda and victor on the balcony together. They both catch a glimpse of one another without seeing each other. Then they both run off to persuade...