Analysis: Metamorphosis by Steven Berkoff and My Mother Said I Never Should by Charlotte Keatley

Topics: The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka, Nonverbal communication Pages: 6 (3225 words) Published: October 19, 2014
During the first course of the year in As Drama and Theatre Studies, we have been exploring Metamorphosis by Steven Berkoff, and My Mother Said I Never Should by Charlott Keatley. Both of these plays allowed us to explore critical factors which make up the course, these headings are: practitioner, vocal awareness, non-verbal communication, visual, aural and spatial dynamics, language, plus social, historical cultural and political contexts. Finally the plays uncover interpretation and characterisation along the way too. When looking at the deeper meanings behind the plays, they do have similar themes for example change and family interactions. In the sense where My Mother Said deals with time change between family members; how the era they were born in has an effect on their opinions and the approach they take, in order to deal with a situation their faced with. Similarly Metamorphosis deals with a change on one family member and how this ricochets on to the rest of the family, but is also exposes how affection increases or decreases amongst the relatives. The plays are different when it comes to style/ genre, as My Mother Said is mostly a naturalistic play as it focuses around more of a real life situation, which could more likely happen to any family. On the other hand Metamorphosis is much more non-naturalistic, as the techniques used at some points in the play are to deliberately create a non-natural environment (coral speech).


Before reading the text Metamorphosis we as a group did some background research on the play and I had found out that the original play was created by Franz Kafka a German writer. Originally Kafka wrote this play so that is could reflect how he was feeling at the time as he felt that society looked down on him as an inferior being not even a human which is why In the play the family representing society at the time abandon Greggor who turns in to a betel. Greggor symbolizes Kafka. Later on in time Steven Bercoff develops the play Metamorphosis by adding his own style of acting to it (total theatre). The definition of Total Theatre is that all elements of the production are all equally important. In the first stage production of Metamorphosis the acting would be described as ‘mellow drama’ as the actions are very over the top and not realistic. The audience at the time complained as it was like nothing they had seen before but most importantly the original writer was disappointed as the over the top acting created a decoy from the main factor of the play which was to share the emotional strain and torment Kafka was experiencing in his life.

A Konstantin Stanislavski idea about acting was to become the character rather than to pretend to be the character. He developed his system with a simple phrase; inside out and outside in, this help his actors to become the character so first they would look at the ‘inside’ things which create their character, for example morals, the way they think, likes and dislikes etc. Then they would go on to the ‘outside’ aspects like the way the character is dressed, their walk and how they would talk too. These are task the actors would have to under go in order to master Stanislavski’s acting technique. Practically we explored this system as a group when we were asked to be explorers that are fascinated by the room and are looking for facts. At the end of the time limit was were then ask if we were actually collecting facts about the room or are we acting (pretending) as if we are, by then end the majority of the class were found to be pretending.

Vocal Awareness

To get us started with this topic we did some off-text improvisation which allowed us to explore how the characters surrounding, time of day and who they may be talking to can have an affect on how they sound and how the lines are delivered. To explore this in more depth we did a group practical where we each had to create a sinario. For example where the character is,...
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