How Performers Impact the Mood and Atmosphere of a Live Production

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Explain how one or more performer(s) used their performance skills to alter the mood or atmosphere for the audience during one live production you have seen and asses how effective they were at doing this at particular moments.

On September the 25th I went to see the West End production of Blood Brothers at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth, directed by Bill Kenwright. Written in 1983 by Willy Russel he described it as a ‘play with songs’ rather than a musical; it is unusual in the fact that the Brechtian technique of presenting the ending of the play in a wordless re-enactment at the beginning of the play along with the opening monologue delivered by the narrator, played by Marti Pellow. The play is set against the backdrop of 1960s Liverpool and was performed on an proscenium arch stage which created a strong fourth wall between the play and the audience. The vocal and physical skills used throughout the piece created strong responses in the audience.

In the opening scene the ensemble used choral delivery when performing the opening song to create a tense and uneasy atmosphere, and when Mrs Johnston walk on with hunched shoulders, a heavy walk and distressed facial expression when staring at her two dead sons this feeling only intensifies. However straight after the opening monologue the mood abruptly changes from distressing to humorous. Mrs Johnston’s change in demeanour and gait heavily contrasts to that in the previous song; her walk is light and jumpy, she moves quickly around the stage with a happy expression on her face as she sings the opening song. In addition to this the vocal techniques she uses change as well; before she was singing with heavy breathing, using long pauses to change a sombre atmosphere as well as using an accent. After the change in scene Mrs Johnston’s voice is slightly higher in pitch, and her accent comes through stronger than before as well as singing more loudly. Her naturalistic characterisation in the first scene creates a...
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