As mentioned in Monday’s blog, Lynn had gathered the second year students and spoke through her ideas for far for the structure of our Saints and Sinners show, based on what we had suggested. However, this had not been completed, therefore, the purpose of a meeting with Lynn this morning was to get a copy of the first draft of a full structure. My aim is to see where my pieces, Shopping and F***ing and Saint Joan fit into the piece at the moment, therefore, I will be able to go away and start researching the characters and aspects of the performance. The ending is currently a group number, which is no longer ‘A Facade’, but Beth’s idea of the song ‘Rebel’ by Alyssa Bonagura. I had originally wrote in my email to Lynn on the 20th March that I would like to see ‘Facade’ in the piece as I felt there was a message linking to both Saints and Sinners. But while I am disappointed this has ended, I feel that Rebel also shows the same message, with the use of the words ‘Saint’ and ‘Sinner’ being a strong link to the theme of the production which we can use within. While I have been able to get a copy of Shopping and F***ing today and have been able to find a copy of the Saint Joan monologue online, over the Easter I am aiming to have brought a copy of the play for research, while also getting the lyrics for ‘Rebel’.
After reading the sheet below, we have agreed that the structure of the piece at the moment is a club, where there will be characters and acts on the cabaret stage. Therefore, the pieces which are cabaret acts, will take place on a stage which we can portray during the performance by having a platform or a separate space, meanwhile, ‘offstage’ will be the character pieces.
I have found out from the sheet we were given that one of my pieces (Saint Joan) is an act, while Robbie and Lulu from Shopping and F***ing at the moment are characters at the cabaret club. However, before I started research on the pieces I am in, I decided to spend my free morning continuing research on the theme of Saints and Sinners. I wanted to try to get a range of online sources which were relevant to the theme, however, one of the issues I had was finding sources which were reliable. Many of the sources I found did not have an author or a date, therefore, it took longer than I thought getting this research finished. As seen in my Saints and Sinners research, I was able to eventually find sources which seemed reliable enough to use to carry on with the project.
I also took the sheet which had every piece within the show and calculated a rough estimate of how long the show will be. I looked at how long each song was, took into consideration speeches in between acts and how long it would perhaps take for them to set up, this is what I have come up with, the first act being roughly 40 minutes and the second act being an hour:
In terms of the casting put for the show, I had always imagined Jack as Saint Jimmy, therefore I was relieved, yet unsurprised with this casting, as I feel he will suit the character best and as it was his idea, he will be very dedicated to the research. I also feel that the trio of waitresses in Emma, Sian and Beth will work well due to their friendships off stage, therefore for the performance, they can connect well as these waitresses. I was disappointed that the final song will no longer be ‘Façade’, as the lyrics talk about faces appearing in the night-time, which is when our piece is set and as it is set in a club, people can reveal who they really are. However, I am happy with the decision to use ‘Rebel’ as the lyrics also have the message that people can be both Saints and Sinners, with the hint used before in this project of Saints becoming Sinners and Sinners becoming Saints. I feel that overall, the castings for the pieces are suitable to their pathway, there are pieces for just the dancers to work in smaller groups or together, with as far as I am aware, all of the actors having an acting piece, yet being able to get involved with singing. This case is also similar to the dancers and the musical theatre students, being able t sing as well as act, I am not aware of there being any dance pieces for the musical theatre students however.
The Wednesday afternoon session with Lynn was a chance for the acting group to have a discussion about our thoughts towards the structure of the show. The main topic for discussion was about the melodrama which had been placed towards the end of the second act of the show. I am not a part of this group, however, everyone involved is in this class, they voiced their concern and they had already thought of an idea to change the concept of the piece to create more links. The melodrama originally was about the history of Bury St Edmunds with Saint Edmund, personally when I saw this, I was not fully convinced of the story line. This is only because the history of Bury St Edmunds was a focus point to our final project at the end of our first year, therefore, for something that would have to be written, it would be interesting to use a fresh idea. Lynn was able to explain to us that the reason a melodrama was thought of for particularly the second act, it could be a relief piece. Many of the pieces in the second act are sinner based, all except for my Saint Joan monologue, therefore, the use of a saint as the main point of the melodrama can also join my monologue as a Saint piece and provide an uplift. If a melodrama is not used, only my character will be performing a saint piece in the whole act. This made a lot of sense and after hearing this explanation, it made me want to keep the melodrama in. Lou then explained to Lynn an idea that herself and other members of the group had created for the melodrama as an alternative, this was to mix it with Jane Eyre, in which Lou was already playing Jane, with Harry as Mr Rochester. However, as this is already a piece, in order to create the comedy, this will be a spoof of the piece. The section of Jane Eyre which will be performed for the Saints and Sinners performance is when Jane discovers his marriage to a character called Bertha. This is where it changes in our performance, with Beth being written down to play Katherine, from Henry VIII and is a new character introduced in a lover triangle between herself and Jane with Mr Rochester. The spoof created will see each character played by different actors, Leah will spoof Jane, Daytona will be Mr Rochester and James will be Katherine (Updated: Beth has now named her Rose). While the melodrama of this love triangle is playing on stage, Lou, Harry and Beth will be watching as their characters in the background.
The idea of having this story line will then be able to mix with the original Jane Eyre piece put into the show, however, it has been decided that they will not run together. Instead, the melodrama will be played towards the beginning of the second act, with the original Jane Eyre piece still playing towards the end. During the session I agreed that this change was a positive idea and I felt it would provide greater comedy into the piece. However, now after the session, I am slightly concerned, the melodrama plays as a spoof to these characters at the beginning of the second act, however, I was wondering that the original Jane Eyre piece should be played first, then the melodrama mocking the events would make more sense. Especially with the original characters watching the melodrama, audiences may get confused to the concept of the piece, also being able to appreciate the comedy of the melodrama and the love triangle better once they have understood the events from the section. As I have only thought of this after the session, it is something I will try to bring up in a conversation with the group, just to get clarification of the piece in case I have misheard.
Following the session, Lou then re-wrote the order which Lynn had created so that it fits with the new ideas approved by Lynn. Communication to the rest of the year about this idea is important as it could effect the structure of their show, as they are part of the commission, they also need to know everything that is being decided. They can then have their say on whether they agree or if they have any ideas to make changes to further improve it. Because of this, it means my Saint Joan monologue has also been moved in the piece to the first act, this was not a concern for me as because I am considering the monologue as a cabaret act, it should be able to fit in anytime after the previous act. The only difference for me now is that I now have equal amounts to do in both acts, with one part of Shopping and F***ing and Saint Joan being in the first act, with the second half of Shopping and F***ing and Rebel being in the second act.
Other ideas which were brought up during this session was the idea of a drinks menu made of drinks inspired by heaven and hell. I liked this idea and would like to come up with some ideas, thinking that we could have some clear or white drinks to represent saints, with red drinks to represent sinners, I will also take into consideration non-alcoholic drinks for those under age or not wanting to drink alcohol. Technical aspects were also discussed with a platform being used for Jack’s character, Saint Jimmy. I liked this idea and the thought that Saint Jimmy being situated high up can display his authority as head of the bar and in charge of who goes to heaven and hell. It will also be convenient because as mentioned in my action plan, our production of Bonnie and Clyde will be the week before, which will have platforms, this means that we can use this platform and will avoid using our little budget. We will also communicate with the production arts students about this idea as they will be in charge of this. One member of the production arts team, Leah, has posted today which member of the production arts group will be in charge of which piece technically. For me, Leah will be in charge of Shopping and F***ing, while Alex will be in charge of Saint Joan. It is important I know that as they will be my point of contact technically and I will have to let them know of any ideas or decisions made in terms of costume, lighting or sound. Here is the full list:
In conclusion, I know that none of my three ideas have been put into the structure, however, after discussions of what the piece should be and the cabaret theme, I agree that it does not quite work. I now know what further research I must conduct and what I have to learn, I need to set a deadline for the research which I am currently aware is Wednesday 19th April instead of this Friday. I will add this to my action plan and start to focus on the pieces that I am involved in. Overall, to improve today, I know that I could have been more involved in the discussions even though the piece was not something I am in, I could still have a say. I will remember this for future discussions regarding the Saints and Sinners performance overall.