Exploration Notes- as Level Drama and Theatre Studies- Metamorphosis and a Doll's House

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Exploration Notes

1) Discuss and compare the exploration of characterisation in Metamorphosis by Steven Berkoff and (A Doll’s House). Draw your own practical understanding of the skills used including use of language and voice to portray character.

In our practical sessions of Modelling Gregor in “Metamorphosis”, we thought about how we would physically see Gregor. To do this, we had to individually create the shape of Gregor with our bodies. We all started off thinking about it really literally- “How would a beetle look?” rather than thinking about how our body represented Gregor and his feelings towards society. We then expanded on our thoughts about Gregor and then tried to empathise with him and think about how we would look if we were in his situation. My finished individual beetle was crouched/curled up on the floor on my side with my head down, hidden away- this represented Gregor’s vulnerability (a beetle on his back is helpless and cannot move, but a beetle has a hard shell which protects him; I was half and half because with my head down, I didn’t want to be seen by society and I was ashamed of what I had become however with my front/underside slightly showing, I was exposed to society and helpless but because you could see my back/shell, I was half protected by family- I think that throughout the show this would change and I would end up completely on my back because the family does end up abandoning/killing Gregor) , one of my arms was in a jerky/awkward position and the other was outstretched away from my body- the jerky arm represented Gregor changing and being abnormal and different, the outstretched arm however showed that I was reaching for someone to help and save me from what I was turning into; my legs were limp, lifeless and in an awkward shape to show that I was, again, turning into something new and weird but could not move and physically get away from it. After we made our individual beetle, we then worked in partners and modelled them into Gregor. I decided to use props for this (I used a chair). Hana (my model Gregor) ended up being positioned on her side, with her head under the chair and one of her arms reaching out onto it, her legs were crooked and awkward to show that she couldn’t move from her pain. After that, we raced our “beetles”… Hana lost.. but this showed that Gregor was in a good position because he found it difficult to manoeuvre himself and get away from what was happening to him- his movement was limited and awkward when he did so. Hana then modelled me, she had me stood up with my legs wide open (showing vulnerability) and one of my legs turned in and that knee bent (which looked awkward, abnormal and hard to move), my head was dropped and my stomach was contracted in. She placed my arms out to the sides in awkward positions, which was quite physically demanding as I was holding the position. We then used these positions for a scene of Metamorphosis. The dream scene; we incorporated our ideas of how Gregor felt and moved into this scene. We decided to have a narrator and an actor onstage being Gregor. I tried to capture the essence of Gregor’s franticness yet vulnerability in the way I directed Hana as Gregor. I did this by changing the speed and dynamics of how she was moving; this matched the way I was narrating as I also changed the tempo, dynamics and pitch of my voice to really capture how Gregor’s character felt.

To create the family we thought about the physical features of a beetle and applied them to the metaphors of the family. We ended up putting Mr Samsa in the middle, seeing as he is the heart of the family; we then had Gregor again in the middle with his arms over Mr Samsa almost saying that he is protecting him and the family with his income but he is still exposed to society and therefore vulnerable. We had Mrs Samsa knelt in front of Gregor and Mr Samsa looking straight forward with a blank expression almost as if she hasn’t got much to say about the...
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