Last night Ellen Jardine, Marianne Yacoub, Will Hampsey-Cook and Hector Watson took to the stage of the Arden Theatre for their assessed Theatre Studies practical performance. The evening marked the culmination of a long journey that started last term with the group’s selected stimulus, ‘A Gentleman’s Honour’ by Philip Glass.

After weeks of reading a wide range of scripts, the group settled on ‘Don’t Dress for Dinner’, by Marc Camoletti as their scripted piece, drawn to the challenges of presenting farce to a contemporary audience. “Whilst precision was key in the development of this piece, it gave us plenty of freedom in terms of exaggerating beyond realistic scenarios/conversations we were accustomed with. Our main aim was to be breathless by the time the play finishes.”

The group then turned their attention to the challenges of devising, exploring a variety of contrasting performance styles before settling on Naturalism, influenced by David Mamet’s Practical Aesthetics. The resulting piece was a detailed exploration of disparate individuals.

“This piece is quite abstract in stark contrast to the farce; the set is minimal, the tone is far more serious and instead of playing fictional characters in ridiculous, unrealistic situations, our aim is to portray the lives of real people.

The fact that we haven’t given our characters names is to achieve a sense that these are events that occur to real, everyday people, rather than specific individuals that face special circumstances. From improvisation to exercises observing body language, we have reached quite an inward approach to our piece, focused on the weight of our emotions taking place in the many, intimate scenes. The title, ‘Windows’, addresses the snippets we see of significant moments that affect each of the characters’ lives hugely.”

The evening went extremely well, each member of the group rising to the occasion to deliver an ensemble performance that was funny, touching and lingered in the memory.

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