Unit 1: From Page to Stage
Working Record Stage 1
Our stimulus for Unit 1, From Page to Stage: is ‘Our Day Out’ by playwright Willy Russell. We are using the straight version published in 1987 for our stimulus. In the play ‘Our Day Out’ I will be playing Mrs Kay and David will be playing Mr Briggs. We have kept Mrs Kay and Mr Briggs the same gender as Russell intended because Russell’s states that the reason Mrs Kay seems liberal is partly due to her gender – this then contrasts to Briggs’ stern male figure. We have Henry multi-rolling as the driver and Colin, Olivia multi rolling as Headmistress and Carol, Alana multi-rolling as Andrews and Karen and Max take on all the Kid lines as Maurice. In the play Mrs Kay's character hasn't been developed in a way that implies I have to play her in a certain way, so this gives me the opportunity to develop the character. I did that in a variety of different ways. One of them being the 'hot seat' activity. This activity allowed me to connect with the character in a way that meant I could round her, give her some history and meaning to her friendly and understanding attitude towards the children. This then gave me the opportunity to write a character profile for her, explaining in depth why she is like she is. We also completed an exercise in which we devised a scene of Mrs Kay in her childhood and showed the way it links to her currant life now. Our group made a piece highlighting the fact that Mrs Kay is continually told she will never become anything when she is older, causing her to prioritise fun over learning, causing her to have low attainment and lack of belief in the children. This supports Russell's intentions stated near the end of the play. 'Most of them were rejects the day they were born'.
The socio-economic context of the play is a crucial thing to highlight as Willy Russell’s intentions of the play were to show the contrasting social classes and how the young people in the 1980’s aspirations are affected by their lack of opportunities in Liverpool. Also the political context of the play is important to consider as Liverpool was under Thatchers government. In order to fully understand this aspect, I researched the political history and studied newspaper articles to get to grips with how Thatchers rise to power affected the children lives. Also in class we studied the London riots and wrote a monologue from the perspective of a young person involved in the riots. We discussed the media's portrayal of young people and then compared it to how the kids in the play are viewed. All this helped me understand the context of the play, which came in very handy when devising and writing the script for the play, aiding me to accurately follow Russell's intentions.
‘Our Day Out’ is one and a half hours long and the piece we will create will be 10 minutes long. To cut the play whilst still keeping Russell’s intentions, we have decided to take on the main scenes like carol’s end scene on the cliff and Mrs Kay’s argument because these are the characters key scenes and also the main climax’s of the play. Russell created these scenes to represent how Carol becomes aware of the fact that she is trapped into her social situation by virtue of her background and to represent the different teaching styles of Mrs Kay and Mr Briggs, therefore including these scenes fits to Russell's intentions. We have also made the piece more abstract and stylised by using physical theatre and techniques such as montages and tableaux, because this shows the audience the character thoughts and emotions in a non naturalistic way. We have shaved away lots of sections that are not relevant to the characters and replaced them with montages like the zoo scene. This doesn’t show any of the characters key moments but it communicates Russell’s intention of the kids stealing animals, which is highlighting their social deprivation and lack of education. We have also incorporated this in our...