In today’s lesson we worked on helping Leah develop her character of Mrs Dollysmith to try and help her distinguish a difference between her characters Mrs Dollysmith and Granny. We had previously made suggestions on to how we could do this when Leah was absent with Erica (when she stepped in during a rehearsal) and then we put them into practice on Leah’s return. We focused on the voice in particular and decided an over the top country voice would suit the character of Dollysmith and the village gossip like character.
I also gave the group a new updated script which had the amendments I had worked on over the Christmas holidays as well as the added coda which resolves the plot and features ESC giving her flowers at the end. I was really pleased with how the rest of the group acceoted the the changes I had made to the script and how open and flexible they were to work on these again – although, it did originally fraustrate me slightly that I was the only one who had thought to take on board what Erica had said before half term and contribute ideas to how we could amend this and work on the areas of script that needed tweaking. Nevertheless, the fact it meant I had control over the writing style and quality was a slight relief (even if it did mean I had a heavier work load than the rest of the group). I did worry at times that the group would think that I was being bossy, as I have seemed to take on the role of a director or assistant director throughout the process (as well as writer), in the way I constantly offer ideas and feedback to the other actors. However I knew that these things needed to be done and was confident in my inside knowledge around the age group and also my creative ability.
We focused on the interaction side of the play and how we have to change the way we speak and perform as actors to accommodate the children and get to their level. I spoke to the rest of the team about my experience in taking my 4 year old cousin to the theatre to see a play and the way the children in the audience responded to the actors on stage. They children tended to take everything quite literally and were very observant and picked up every small detail. This is why I thought it was important to warn the rest of my group about asking direct questions in a way that they can understand and also the skill of accepting any answers given and then turning it around to keep it positive and not put the answer they give you down or say it’s wrong (even if it is). We spoke about the technique of using comparison and how that can help children understand things better as they can visually see what you are talking about and can relate to it more.