In our final playwright lesson of the term, the purpose was to learn about Mike Leigh and one of his plays, Abigail’s Party. We were given an extract of the first act of the play which was split up into three sections for three groups of focus on each part. Therefore, after reading it all together, the aim for each group was to focus on each section and block it before performing it.
Mike Leigh was born on 20th February 1943 in Salford, as well as a writer, he is also a film director, one example of a film he directed was ‘Secrets and Lies’ (1998) (1). Along with Abigail’s Party, which was written in 1977, other written works by Leigh include:
- The Box Play (1965)
- Bleak Moments (1970)
- Dick Whittington and his Cat (1973)
- Ecstasy (1979)
- Greek Tragedy (1989)
- Two Thousand Years (2005)
- Grief (2011) (2)
For the task in this session, I was put in a group with Harry, Leah and James, we were tasked with blocking the middle section, when the new neighbours Angela and Tony, visit Beverly and Laurence. I played Angela and because in the section, she mentions how she was eager to meet all of the neighbours, therefore, I wanted to play her as very friendly, especially to Beverly and Laurence.
Here is the recording of our section:
Overall, we were able to have a simple set for the piece which allowed us to perform the piece well. Out of everyone, I liked how Harry played with his character and portrayed him differently to other characters, he was reserved with his arms folded and often paused before speaking his line. Reading this section and talking about it with our group made me think about the era it was set in (1970’s), particularly with stage directions such as getting out cheese and pineapple savouries from the fridge.