Example of a Drama Controlled Assessment Essay

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Sarah Tout
Grimm Tales Self Evaluation
For our 5th form play, we decided we would perform a grotesque, exaggerated production of Carol
Ann Duffy's version of `Grimm Tales'. Our director took inspiration from the French playwright and
actor Antonin Artaud, one of the most experimental dramatist of his time. We took inspiration from his
Theatre of Cruelty, where the actors behave strangely to make the audience feel uncomfortable. Our
aim was to change ourselves completely, from our voices to our mannerisms. My part was the mother
of Hansel and Gretel. The woman is eaten up by her greed and desperation to get out of her life of
poverty and squalor. The opening scene of `Hansel and Gretel' showed the family asleep in their beds
and immediately we had to show personalities, making them stand out. I had to show the incredible
hunger of my character, so I was bent double, as if I was being eaten up by starvation. I tried to put
tension in my legs and in my face scowling to depict the frustration I was feeling because she cannot
have any food. I tossed and turned in my sleep to show the selfish concern I was feeling. I also held
myself with my arms, doing this showed that I was closing herself off from the rest of my family and
by clenching my fists it showed that I am unwilling to help them. The relationship I have with my
husband is dysfunctional I despise him, so to show this I turned away from him and stayed as far
away from him as possible. Physicality was incredibly important in these first few moments while the
father narrated the beginning of the story because it was the only way of establishing my character
and the only way of giving the audience a first impression. Personally I believe that I was successful in
these first few moments in showing the personality of my character because I was exaggerating all my
movements and my body.
The original plan was to have the whole play with costumes in grey, black and white, however budget
restraint made this not possible. However in our group we tried to keep as close to the original
specification, so we had monochrome costumes. My costume was a plain grey smock which showed
the poverty of my character. It was shapeless and ugly, but this added to my hateful character
because the audience would not be sympathetic with an unsightly individual. My face was painted grey
with dark circles under my eyes and deep set wrinkles to show my premature aging which would have
been a side effect of living a hard life. The rest of my body was left a normal colour because seemed
strange and surreal. Along with a long grey wig, which was full of leaves and twigs to show that she
lives in woods, and a fake nose, the makeup was very effective in disguising my true identity, I know
this because when I started to speak I could hear people in the audience acknowledging the fact that it
was I on stage. This perhaps suggests that I should have changed my voice or physicality even more
to hide my true identity. The music playing added to the performance. It was a melancholy cello piece,
reminiscent of times of famine. This had the effect of hyping the emotion, raising the feeling of
sadness and despair, forcing the audience to witness it and make them uncomfortable. I believe that it
was effective because it matched the speech made by the father, `they were the worst of times'. To
add to the peculiarity of the play, instead of lying on the floor we stood and mimed being in bed. This
tied into the whole theme running thought out the play, where not only was it a strange spectacle to the
audience but it also was because we had no props and this produced an unusual spectacle. The lighting
was dim and it created an eerie effect by making us appear hazy like in an old movie. This was
effective in making us appear very spooky and strange, and it added to the feeling of hopelessness.
My first speech is made to my husband and I am trying to persuade him to abandon his children. I
describe my plans to him and to add my madness I widened my eyes in a manic way, raising the pitch
of my voice and quickening the pace to make my character appear nervous. I also wrung my hands to

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Sarah Tout
show agitation, clutched at my chest when I mentioned that we would bring the children into the
`black, cold heart of' the forest to show that my own heart was cold and evil. Throughout the play I
coloured the lines that talked about food making me sound avaricious. I thought this was quite effective
because one of the main themes of this story is food and the importance of it.…read more

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Sarah Tout
instead of easing them out of bed I jerked them out of bed. This was also to show my lack of motherly
instinct which would drive me to abandon them. To show my rapaciousness as I fetched the bread I
stared at the audience in a paranoid way and I gnawed at the imagery rind. I thought this was
effective in making me grotesque, however I should have turned to the over side of the stage to
include more of the audience.…read more


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