Unit 12 TASK 3C Reflective Journal: Thursday 27th April (Shopping and F***ing Rehearsal with Tutor Direction)

In our previous rehearsals with Sian and Josh for Shopping and F***ing, we have a rough blocking of the script, however, we have both had issues on our character and how to portray them. Originally, we had both of them playing angry characters, but after watching back the videos which have been posted on previous journals, we didn’t like how we were playing them. Therefore, since I have timetabled lesson with Erica and Sian had a free lesson, we decided to meet up with Erica where we could express our concerns and ask for advice. I have often put in my action plan that I need to meet with tutors, however, because of Josh’s direction, we haven’t done this until now.

To start off, we played the scene in the way that we had recorded on Friday 21st April with Josh and Erica watching. Erica expressed her concern that this doesn’t bring out the dark comedy within the piece, with Josh explaining how he had blocked it first. I wanted to argue that this is overdramatic and will also not provide the comedy, while I feel that being overdramatic with a piece about ecstasy will not bring out the ending which for me, should make the audience feel sorry for Ruby.

In order to solve this solution, we decided to play the scene out again, but with different characteristics, as this is what I was struggling about with Sian, Erica suggested that Ruby becomes an airhead. We are still playing the scene out as if  she is entering the club first, going straight into the scene, but instead of being fed up, she walks in guilty with a funny look. She does not realise how bad the situation where she has given out 300 ecstasy pills without getting any money back, while she is constantly being obsessed with boys. The story that Ruby describes already starts off bad by giving away a couple of E to a random boy who she found really attractive, but the story seems to get worse and worse. What we all noticed in the script was that there were “but then” in the script, which to add to the comedy can create Lulu’s reaction which get worse and worse as the story goes on. Lulu’s reaction to this story is more of shock and finds it unbelievable that someone could be that stupid. As I was playing with the character, I found that pausing for a bit, then saying “but then” put more comedy in the piece, so continued to do it.

As I have started to play Ruby as an airhead, I need to play with her voice, the typical stereotype for an airhead would have a high and confused voice. But along with playing Ruby like that, I will also use my research from Shopping and F***ing and ecstasy to add to this character. In my research, I noted that when a user takes it, they get to a high point, feeling incredibly upbeat. So I took this on board and tried to play her confused, happy and with a high voice, which in my opinion worked very well and gave her an identity.

Some examples in which this personality brought out the comedy within the piece included:

  • “There wasn’t a knife”- Now, I will play this with my head tilted slightly, confused as to why she mentioned a knife as there wasn’t one in that situation. I feel that although this will come out confused, she is also trying to reassure Lulu that there was not a knife.
  • “I was out there on my own”- Rushed, trying to defend herself but in a happy manner due to the drugs.
  • “Three. Maybe four”- Saying “three” in a blunt voice, but “maybe four” in a voice which gets higher throughout both words. This would be because she was reluctant to tell the truth, trying to tell Lulu in a tone which may make her more forgiving.

The purpose of adding this was to build up the piece, explaining the constant stupid things Ruby has done before this scene can then lead onto the final speech. My aim for my final speech is to start it by making it sound serious, which can then create more comedy when she suddenly starts talking about spacemen, kids in Rwanda and grannies in Kiev. In order to build this speech up, I will start quietly, as if she is starting to space out into her own little world, before making my voice louder and higher, adding hand gestures, still feeling the effects of ecstasy. With my voice I will take on what I have learned in my voice lessons to be loud but clear so the audience can still hear and understand me. This speech will then drop in tone when it comes to the final section when she explains about getting hit in the previous club. Along with being quieter, I will turn and look away from Sian to avoid eye contact with Sian, which can make not only her character feel bad, but the audience realise that this was a serious situation and feel bad for laughing. By this point, the drugs would have started to wear off, so I will take on my research of how users not only feel low, but the lowest they have ever felt, the constant change of emotions is what I need to really work on over the next few weeks to make it believable and to get the comedy correct.

With this change to Ruby and Lulu being a character who just cannot believe Ruby could be so stupid and Lulu reacting over the top for audiences to see, we were able to get some laughs from Erica and Josh. This is exactly what I wanted so I am now more confident and happy with this new character, which Sian agreed with in terms of her character. Now, we need to work on Ruby and Lulu’s relationship and what their connection is. We need to take into consideration that Lulu is a waitress in Jimmy’s bar which decides who goes to heaven and hell, therefore, our initial idea is that Lulu is an angel in the form of someone that Ruby knew, who got her to sell these drugs. Meanwhile, as my character is this character who does stupid things and Lulu’s reaction right at the start is “now what have you done?”, I need to think about what other stupid things Ruby could have done. Erica suggested it could be something as stupid as leaving her keys in a locked car.

I then thought of other things that Ruby could have done in the past:

  • Put pasta in the toaster because she wanted to know if it would cook the same and if it would be quicker.
  • Locked herself in the house and missed her years anniversary date with her ex-boyfriend
  • Dropped her brand new phone in a cup of tea after being on it while holding a cup of tea below.
  • Boiled milk in a kettle as she thought it would be quicker, but broke it
  • Fake tan gone wrong, had to go a week looking like an orange

I will talk to Sian and see if this list is enough and if not, I will continue to think of other situations.

The final discussion of this rehearsal was about whether Ruby was a saint or a sinner, so it links with the piece. At first, we both said that Ruby was a sinner, however, after thinking about it, because of this new personality, she probably thought that she was helping people to make them feel better, which would make her a saint.

Using Sins and Virtues Research:

In task 2, I have uploaded research about the seven sins and virtues, now that I know that my character is going to be a saint, I can look into which virtue Ruby can be. I feel that after looking back at my research, Ruby’s virtue would be kindness, as she was just trying to make other people happy about their life, believing to do an act of kindness by giving them the ecstasy to give them that.

In conclusion, this session with Erica was very helpful in terms of learning about my character and creating a personality to make her different, which is what I was struggling. My aim was to solve this problem which myself and Sian was able to do so now we can go away, look at developing our characters even more as well as our relationship. `



One thought on “Unit 12 TASK 3C Reflective Journal: Thursday 27th April (Shopping and F***ing Rehearsal with Tutor Direction)”

  1. This is a really strong, solid piece of character work and scene analysis. The ‘back story’ ideas about things she might have done in the past really conjures up what kind of girl she is – and you have made some good decisions based on this in order to portray her for the audience. The research is playable and relevant, not just a personal exercise.
    I like your break-down of how you worked with Erica to discover the comedy of the scene (and very dark comedy it is, considering the subject matter!) and the technical description of what you can do to with the angle of your head, for example, to indicate her confusion or ineptitude. Dark comedy is always interesting to play – you are forcing the audience to find funny some subject matter that, on another occasion, they would find unpalatable. It’s a powerful medium.
    Your conclusion about whether Ruby is a saint or a sinner shows that you are aware that even the ‘worst’ of characters sometimes have the best intentions in mind!


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