In order to play and experiment with both of my characters: Ruby and Saint Joan, I have completed research on the plays Shopping and F***ing and Saint Joan, as well as looking more into ecstasy pills, which my character Robbie (now Ruby) sells.
There was a group discussion about which format to have the show, the idea to have a cabaret club meant that we could do a show in our purgatory format to perform whatever we wanted. It will give everyone the chance to showcase their skills without having a showcase with no links. We can then keep a link between Saints and Sinners with the acts and create a variety.
By doing research into cabaret clubs, I was able to learn that they included a variety of acts, which one of mine turned out to be. One particular piece of research I used was about how they would try to get close to the audience. Although for Saint Joan I wanted her to stand still, that will not stop me from leaning in and making eye contact with different people, therefore, this character could connect better with everyone else and have a deeper impact on the passion of Joan.
When I first researched about Shopping and F***ing and the ecstasy pills which are talked about in the play and that section, I researched about the user being on such a high, but also crashing to a very low point. I discussed this with Josh, who helped us initially to direct this piece at the start of the process and we agreed that Ruby would have taken some of these pills as they were there. As this point in the play, Robbie has been beaten up, which I thought would mean that she has crashed back down, so as she is telling this story, she is on the negative effects of the drugs. However, after rehearsing that, the issue we have had was that as it is quite a long section of talking, the negative feelings Ruby has wont be exciting to the audience. Therefore, from a performance point of view, I have changed it so that her emotions vary, based on what I have researched from the drugs. After working it through with Erica, I was going to portray the down effects right at the end so that the audience has heard her story, not taking her seriously due to the speeches and the high she is on, but then feeling guilty at the end.
We changed this again slightly, still having her on the effects of the drugs, but to also be feeling down at the beginning of the section, as from taking into consideration not only the point where it is in the play, but also the Saints and Sinners piece. Based on what I researched, we decided to have this scene play out as if she has been beaten up just before I enter. In order to show that to the audience, we have added in a link scene before where Ruby enters before anything has happened high on ecstasy.
Despite this, I wrote about in my Shopping and F***ing research that she would be played off as irritated, which I am going to continue to do, but only in the section where Lulu asks if there was a gun and a knife. Because the situation to her is completely different, she would get confused but also, because she is in this really down mood from the drugs, the questions would still irritate her.
Makeup and costume is something that has not been considered up until show week, although I had a dress, I have had to think of a specific look for Ruby. Going by what I have researched, I had posted a video in my Shopping and F***ing research where they follow people on a night out. These people would look and feel very rough, therefore, to use this to help portray Ruby, I have decided that I will have very messy hair and horrible makeup. As she is a dealer and tells of how she gets beaten up, she can’t go into the club looking clean, instead, her hair should be very messed up, mascara under her eyes and bruises, which we can put on with makeup. However, the link scene is before this has happened, therefore, although she would still be scruffy, she wouldn’t have the bruises. I also originally had character shoes, but I don’t think that this would work to have such a scruffy appearance and costume, I have chosen a casual dress but to keep the look too casual, I will also wear converses. One other addition was to have her enter with a beer can, which because it was getting clearer through the rehearsal period that she was rough and was coming from another club, it can indicate to the audience that she has been elsewhere doing other things beforehand.
I originally wrote in my research that because a jail sentence could be handed out, this would be in a hushed tone. However, this has been adapted to Lulu trying to keep it hushed, this is because as Ruby is going to be on such a range of emotions and still feeling the drug effects, she wouldn’t notice or care. However, Lulu is working at the bar and doesn’t want Jimmy to hear, therefore she is now trying to keep it hushed.
Through researching the play and drugs, I was able to create my own character analysis of Ruby:
- I have decided that she is unemployed, which is why she has been linking up with Lulu to try to sell the drugs, Robbie is also not employed in the play, relying on Lulu’s trial with the drug selling to help both of them out.
- Where am I: At this scene she is currently at Saint Jimmy’s after being at previous clubs trying to sell the drugs. She would have also been there to have fun and drink lots.
- Surroundings: At that time in the scene, although she is in Saint Jimmy’s, she will recognise that other people are there, but because of her influence on drugs, although she is on a high, she will also be on edge. At the interlude scene, she is carefree, ignoring everyone else, thinking that she is above everyone, despite being of a low status, which is why late on, we decided to add a beer can. She is not carefree when it comes to the actual scene, instead, she is cautious, but again, her main focus is finding Lulu, not caring about anyone else.
- What do I want? In the short term, Ruby will not care about anything, on drugs and alcohol, she is looking for a good time, but also aware that she has this job to do for Lulu. This is proven in her monologue at the end of her section, where she exclaims that we should forget about money and the world and be happy instead. In the long term, I think she wants to carry on with this job of selling as to her, it is a chance to meet boys and have fun, not caring about any responsibilities.
- Obstacles: The main obstacle for Ruby would be her sellers who are getting the drugs for free, as she wants to have fun, having people who are angry and beating her up will stop her from living that care free life. This is seen in the extract where she talks about everyone being happy and not caring about money, being crashed down to Earth when she gets beaten up. The ecstasy pills would also be an obstacle because although they make her the happiest she’s ever been, they can also make her crash to her lowest point, so if she wants to not care and be happy, this effect will no help. Lulu would be an obstacle for our piece for Saints and Sinners, she works for Jimmy, who is the leader, she doesn’t want to lose her job but she also wants to help Ruby. When something goes wrong, such as losing all of the pills and not getting the money, the lack of support could drive her over the edge, therefore, the pressure of keeping on top of her job is also an obstacle.
- In order for her to get what she wants, she would have to be more independent and be more careful about who she sells drugs to, because the wrong person can cause her to crash back down to Earth which she doesn’t want to do.
- Because she is so involved with drugs, I got to thinking about why, I came with the conclusion that she is an orphan, both of her parents died while she was young and was raised in foster care with people who got into drugs and alcohol. She would be told about how great drugs are and start to take them herself in her teens, all the way up to present day where she is in her early twenties and moved out, trying to build a life but not wanting the responsibility.
After reading the play ‘Saint Joan’ and researching the historical background to her, from the beginning, I have wanted this character to be completely serious throughout this monologue. I mentioned in my research that this monologue comes at the end of the play in jail before she gets burned at the stake, therefore, having her freedom taken away because she believed that God sent her a duty made me think straight away that there would be a lot of passion and fight for herself and God in her speech. When cutting the monologue, I kept in mind keeping aspects about her freedom being taken away from her to show this to the audience. These people have locked her up because she was trying to protect France, which is why I kept the beginning part to call them fools, so I could therefore play this out to the audience as if she was talking to the French.
In my research, I mentioned about how she was highly religious, always making mentions about God, which she does in this monologue, but only once. As she did this so much through the play, I wanted to keep the one mention she has of God in the final cutting of the monologue to stay true to the character and also portray to the audience how strong her opinions are. However, afterwards, she does get executed, but one quote which I put in my research was about the argument against burning her, as it is what the Church would not do. This would then link to a part of the monologue at the end where she talks about their counsel being of the devil, which again, was something I wanted to keep as religion was her argument and this can argue that the people around her were not Saints.
In terms of the voice, I wanted her to be clear and passionate to really draw the audience in, I had to keep in mind that she was not from a wealthy family, which would affect the quality of her voice. But by this point she had been talking with Charles VII and other high members, while also being away fighting, which again would make her voice more clear. By having a posher accent and clearer voice, she would be taken more seriously, with a serious expression to rally grab attention.
Costume wise, I had made a separate page on costume, taking inspiration from research about her dress which she wore at the stake when she was burned. However, the monologue actually happens when she is in prison and she also came from a poor family. Therefore, after having a discussion about costume, it would make more sense to have a more rough costume which was not a skirt and a dress, due to adding in a bit of the monologue: “I could drag about in a skirt”. I researched that she also preferred to wear men’s clothing, staying away from what women wanted to wear and when they forced her to wear female clothes, she took them off again in her cell.
- Saint Joan of Arc, as Saints and Sinners is in a purgatory club, she would already be dead, in one of the later drafts of the script, there is a mention that she has been turning up since 1431, which is when she died. Therefore, this will be set in a 1431 French mindset.
- Where am I?/Surroundings: She is currently at this point at Saint Jimmy’s ready to perform her monologue. Although she is a low status, she wants to make herself of a high status to be passionate and get her message across, after serving King Charles VII.
- Obstacles: The French monarchy locking her up and deciding her fate to die through execution. In the club, because she is making herself on a high status, she will not let any obstacles get in her way to deliverer her thoughts and feelings on being trapped.
- What do I want? To be listened to and taken seriously, her aims her only to protect France and help Charles VII to be King, which she helped do. At this moment, she is desperate to be set free and feels that she should not have her freedom stolen from her. In order for her to get what she wants, she will listen to God and follow her path from there.