Tuesday 6th September (Afternoon)- Playwrights

Our Tuesday hour long session with Erica throughout the year will be focused on learning about contemporary playwrights. This is something I was excited to hear about because currently my knowledge on this subject is very limited, something that I was not alone on when mentioned at the beginning of the lesson. I was also informed that one of our sessions with Lynn will focus more on Shakespeare. However, my aim for these specific sessions is to be able to expand my knowledge on playwrights and learn different names, not just that but to gain more information about them including what they learned. For this lesson today, my aim is to be able to gain some knowledge on contemporary plays.

When we started talking about contemporary plays, we had a discussion on what dates can make a play contemporary (modern). This is important especially for this year because I will be aiming to audition for drama school and from my research on each choice, each place will require me to perform one contemporary monologue. What we all agreed on was that plays written after 1980 can definitely be a contemporary, however, different places ask for different dates, some will agree after 1970 but others may say post-1950 is acceptable. I contributed to this discussion by stating that most monologues will be acceptable if the author is still alive. When I looked online after the session, I went onto some of my choices, RADA who want contemporary monologues after 1960 but Manchester Metropolitan University want monologues after 1970.

After this small discussion, I learned that a monologue can usually be classed as contemporary from 1953 onwards when ‘Look Back In Anger’ was written by John Osbourne as it looks at the working class. I wanted to double check this afterwards incase I misheard anything and it turns out the play was written in 1956 and tells the story of Jimmy Porter, who tends to take his anger out on other people, including his wife Allison and friend Cliff, with personal issues partly contributing (http://www.enotes.com/topics/look-back-anger).

The focus on the session then turned to our monologues and themes, it is one thing knowing our monologues but to help understand it better, it is important to know the theme. I then went away and thought of the themes for my monologues:

  • Alex from ‘As We Forgive Those’ by Andrew Smith- Desperation as she is desperately trying to seek forgiveness from her sister Sophie, who she attacked four years ago and lead her to run away from home.
  • Judith from ‘The Cutting’ by Maureen O’Brien- Love, this is because she is currently in prison obsession over her lover Gerald who she hasn’t seen since she was arrested and is explaining her actions to a psychologist who specialises in child mutism, Alex.
  • Emelia from ‘Othello’- Anger and betrayal, at this point she is warning Desdemona about men and their cheating actions, but at the same time she is also hurt as her husband Iago is always harsh to her, never showing affection towards her.
  • Lady Anne from ‘Richard III’- Anger and revenge, Anne is confronting Richard III, who interrupts Henry VI’s (Anne’s husband) funeral, she clearly wants revenge on her husband’s death who Richard III killed. She is also warning the men in attendance about what Richard has done.

In conclusion, we were able to start talking about contemporary monologues, however as this was the introductory session, we didn’t talk too much about playwrights, however, hopefully I will be able to learn throughout the year. This session made me dig deeper into my own monologues to help understand the characters feelings better by thinking about the themes and I can put this into practice. After the session, I noted that I wanted to make sure certain details were right about ‘Look Back In Anger’, which I have done and incorporated into this log. Before the next session, I want to try and get some names on contemporary playwrights so in the future, I am not completely confused when we start looking at names, one name mentioned was Oscar Wilde so I will look into him first.

 

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