Continuing with playwrites, after looking at Oscar Wilde last week, this week we looked at John Godber. The aim of the session today was to learn a little about his biography and then focus on two of his plays “Bouncers” and “Shakers” which we would then read and set out afterwards.
John Godber was born on the 18th May 1956 and is still writing to this day, his latest play was released in 2015 called “Shafters” (1), however, he was writing in his prime in the 1980’s. In 2011, he established ‘The John Godber Company’ which is based in East Yorkshire after leaving The Hull Truck Theatre Company after 26 years (2).
Unlike Oscar Wilde, whose characters were upper class, Godber focused more on creating working class roles. This was evident of the plays that we looked at: ‘Shakers’, which the girls of the group would be working on and ‘Bouncers’, which the boys would work on.
What I learned from reading the first few pages of the first scene was that some of the actors would have to change character during the scene, this is what I had to do with my character, Carol. The character I had to change into was Daz, a male character who was quite rowdy and rudely flirted with Mel, who was serving them. For me, this showed the importance of really distinguishing your character so the audience are not confused if you have changed character or not. In order to change, I lowered my voice and was much louder, however, I feel to improve in this aspect, I could have changed my physicality much more. At first I changed how I walked but as the scene continued, I noticed from the video that I slowly dropped slightly, then going back into it through the way I leaned at the bar. Here is the video below:
The playlist also has the version of Bouncers which the boys had the task of staging, what I really liked in their performance was the use of voice as they also had the challenge of having to change character. Through their voice going higher and changing accent, it was easy to tell that they had become female characters. Another aspect I enjoyed was the physicality at the beginning when they we bouncers, however, I feel they could have improved their female characters through physicality as they were still sat as men. Simple changes including sitting up with their legs crossed could have improved this.
Overall, I was able to meet my aim for the lesson and learn about another playwright that I hadn’t heard of before, looking slightly more to Godber’s background afterwards. Although I had heard of Bouncers and Shakers before, I did not know that they were written by Godber and didn’t know about having to change character, something that must be completely different to your previous character in that play to avoid confusion.