This week, for our lessons on modern playwrights, we focused on Joe Orton who died at an earlier age compared to the other playwrighs, we have looked at. Orton was born in 1933 and died in 1967, at a time when it was massively frowned upon, Orton was openly gay and in a relationship with Kenneth Halliwell. Halliwell was the cause of Orton’s death after hitting him over the head 9 times from jealousy because killing himself through an overdose. We learned that his diary entries had been released, including his final one on the day he died where he stated that Kenneth had been acting weird and declined the chance to join him in Leicester.
Orton died in the decade where he started writing and was very well known in London, the piece we looked at in this session was ‘Entertaining Mr Sloane’ and this was one of three full length plays he wrote, all of them were black comedies (1). His other plays were: Loot and Funeral Games.
For the sections we looked at, I was paired with Beth, each group was given a different section to work on and we were given a scene between Kath and her brother Ed. I played Ed which meant I had to focus on how to change my movements and voice, although I changed my accent, I felt after watching the performance back that I could have deepened my voice slightly. The only problem I had at the time was that I didn’t want it to sound over the top. I also feel that I could have gone slightly further with my movements, but changed wherever I felt was necessary.
After watching the clip back, I feel that I was able to have a good connection with Beth during the scene and tried to make Ed look like the bad character, not just through the voice but also through movements (for example, by pushing her). We received positive feedback afterwards and was able to get a positive reaction during the performance, when Ed spots Mr Sloane’s trousers on the floor. This was something I felt I could get a good reaction from straight away but didn’t want to put too much into it. I also made sure my voice was clear, especially during the longer speeches, ensuring I wasn’t getting faster.
Overall, I enjoyed learning about Joe Orton despite his very short career and it was great that each group was given a different part of the script. Although I like to see how different groups interpret it, I wanted to know more of the script at the time.