Continuing with playwrites, after looking at Oscar Wilde last week, this week we looked at John Godber. The aim of the session today was to learn a little about his biography and then focus on two of his plays “Bouncers” and “Shakers” which we would then read and set out afterwards. John Godber was born on the 18th May 1956 and is still writing to this day, his latest play was released in 2015 called “Shafters” , however, he was writing in his prime in the 1980’s. In 2011, he established ‘The John Godber Company’ which is based in East Yorkshire after leaving The Hull Truck Theatre Company after 26 years. Godber focused more on creating working class roles. This was evident of the plays that we looked at: ‘Shakers’, which the girls of the group would be working on and ‘Bouncers’, which the boys would work on.
Although I wasn’t personally in this lesson, I wanted to take the opportunity to watch my classmates work and make note of the devices used in the text by John Godber and evaluate how they presented these as actors.
After reading the first few pages of the first scene I noticed that some of the actors would have to change character during the scene in order to multi roll. Hannah had the challenge of transforming from her current character, Carol, into Daz – a rowdy male who rudely flirts with Mel, who serves them. Hannah implemented this change by lowering her voice and projecting to produce a louder, harsher sound. However, I feel in order to make the character distinguishable and believable, she could have changed her physicality much more and adapt a firmer, wider stance. It is noticeable that Hannah had the intention of adapting her originally walk when becoming Daz, however this wasn’t consistent throughout the entire scene and so lost the essence of the character. I know that the characterisation needed for Hannah’s second character is so different to her usual casting and would have been a challenge for her to capture; however I feel she made a really good start and should continue to explore ways of changing her body as well as her voice, in order to clearly differentiate the multi rolling characters.
The Boys looked at the play ‘Bouncers’, which they had the task of staging. From watching the video of their work so far, I noticed how well they used their voices to swap between various characters without confusion. It was easy to tell that they had become female characters simply through the use of their voice getting higher in pitch; yet, this was weakened by their physicality which remained very manly and unlady like. Understandably this may have been an intended directorial decision to add to the comedy of the piece, as they are clearly not women, however, in this case I think this is very unlikely and was because the boys focused all their energy onto the voices. They could easily have captured the female characters by refining their posture and the way they were sitting – rather than having their legs open, crossing the legs or holding them to the side would have improved this and implied a feminine quality.