October 13, 2011
In one class we did a dramatic piece about a witch burning. This really reminded me of Wicked, when the townspeople sang a song about wanting to kill/burn a witch.
We had to put most of the elements of drama into this piece. To do that, commoners watching stomped their feet and hands representing the drums for the execution. This made the tension increase as there is really slow and loud music in the background. Many movies use this type of tension like in Merlin, when a wizard is being executed, they play the drums. When I watched this scene in Merlin, it made me feel tense as the rhythmic beat sounded kind of like a clock to make me feel that the wizard’s time was near. This was from the area of expected surprise.
I hoped when people watched our skit they felt like that too. The beat also reminded me of when we did the tension exercises, and the one that was the most tense had a rhythmic beat as music in the background. Another area of tension is task and the importance of it. As everyone on stage thinks how important the burning is, this makes the audience feel that way too. Also in our skit, we were all in a semi circle. This reminded me of tension as the ‘witch’ could not escape as wherever she turned there was a person or thing getting in her way. This reminded me of the version of Twelfth Night I saw, where Sebastian was being enclosed and pushed around by drunk townspeople. How we used space was, like I said before, a semicircle. We did this so the audience could see everyone and there was a little triangle between the mayor of the town, the commoners, and the fire. There were also more triangles between the witch and the mayor too. There also was kind of a height triangle when the civilians tried to tie up the ‘witch’. The witch was standing and the commoners were on their knees showing depth. Also the main points of a stage is centre, down centre, and down right. The ‘witch’ and the executioner came in from down right making their entrance grand. For focus, we used eye contact: many people looked at the ‘witch’ to make the audience look at the ‘witch’ but also everyone looked at Nora at one point, so the audience would look at Nora. As we lost interest in Nora so did the audience. When Nora had the speech that the ‘witch’ was her sister, this created tension. Everyone wanted to kill the witch, so the sudden shout that said “STOP” created an area of of tension which was surprise. It was also a surprise when Nora gets knocked out as William suddenly hits her on the head. This reminded me of Merlin again when the same thing happens. The only difference was the surprise of the sudden knock out to the surprise when the person in Merlin suddenly disappears. Also William always walks slowly. This creates tension as you don’t know what he will do, and when he will do it. This reminded me of the tension exercise we did, and in that we found that walking slowly, especially for a ‘murderer,’ created more tension. This is under mystery of the element tension. It is also a bit of expected surprise, because the audience knows that he will probably do something as he is always walking slowly, so they will be tense and focused on the scene more, making sure they are prepared for any sudden surprises. This is used in many horror movies like in the Grudge, when the grudge is walking slowly in the apartment.
For the element of focus we focussed on the execution as everyone’s mind was set on the execution alone. We however focused on the fire too as it was in centre stage, so that it was in the middle of the audiences attention. This is like in Macbeth when the cauldron is in the middle of the stage making the audience focus on it. We also made the audience focus on the ‘witch’ herself, as she was standing down centre which is right in the middle of the audience’s view. Plays use this position a lot when people usually want to make big speeches like in Twelfth Night, when Orsino says the speech, “If music be the food of love, play on…” For the human context, the situation was the burning of the witch, the relationships was that everyone hated the ‘witch’ except for Nora, who was sisters with the ‘witch’. The roles were first the mayor who told everyone why they should kill the ‘witch’. The executioner who brought the ‘witch’ out, torched the wood, and knocked out Nora. Nora who tried to plead anyone to stop the people of killing her sister, getting repaid by getting hit on the head, and finally the civilians who couldn’t wait to see the ‘witch’ burn and urged the executioner on. The setting, I thought, was a village in early America (judging by Alec’s accent,) and was very superstitious. The situation was the burning of the ‘witch.’