Steven Rowbotham

As a group we had the simple task of keeping the ball in  the air for 10 touches, although not so simple, as we had been told to stand in a circle nobody broke from that and it proved very difficult, not to mention the differing levels of skill required to hit a ball.. however it was not the rules of the game that stopped us, it was our own rules that prevented us from being successful, nobody said we couldn’t spread around the room, or work on tactics to make it easier, it was just assumed that we couldn’t, so; we didn’t.

Today was all about Building trust, relationships and bonds with what are at the moment strangers. First of all in partners, we walked around the space, one partner with their eyes closed the other the guide. We started the exorcise with the sighted partner having hold of the blind partners hand and elbow, being guided like this was very easy because my partner had full control over my movements, I didn’t really even need to concentrate, but as the exorcise went on we we were being guided by a small point of contact on the hand, this is where you had to really trust your partner, go with your instincts but at the same time ignore the instincts that are telling you to stop and open your eyes.. after gaining the trust of one, we then had to trust the whole group, on a such larger scale, threw the building, up stairs, down stairs, it was a dangerous exorcise  but by breaking down personal barriers and putting your trust in what were becoming less like strangers we move on as individuals and as a group..

Group quiz with second and third years, nice to mix and get to know some new faces that we will be working with in the future..

The Empty space, again we started this session with a game of keep the ball up, this time oi broke from form and stood in the middle of the circle, the ball was easily passed to me and I simply and cooperatively passed it somewhere else in the circle, we made it to 10 with relative ease just by breaking a rule that didn’t even exist! We then played more games such as the zombie game, where the zombie tried to get to the empty chair and it was our job to move from your own chair to fill the one the zombie was going for… once you had moved you had to go so it was key to keep your eyes and stay focused on the group so we could work out if somebody else was going to move..

We then performed in a series of tableaux’s, it started with one person creating a position in the middle and others then joining to create a story.. then we moved into groups and acted out a story from somebody’s past in a series of 5 frames..

The last part of this session was very simple but very powerful, two people stood back to back, and walked away from each other, turned around and then carried on walking, I was very surprised at how such a simple exorcise could tell so many story’s depending on pace, who turned around first, who left first, how long did the other stay.. The rules were then developed, you could turn around and decide to walk back or keep on walking, so many storeys and emotions from the simplest of things…

Today we played grandmas footsteps, but used it in a way that I never have before, we were split in to two groups, one the audience and the other playing the game. when grandma turned around and the people were frozen we had to look at the image that had been created, some people saw a gang trying to attack somebody, or a running race, political rallys, protesters, all from people stopping in a moment in time trying to move forward without being seen! We were asked to describe the scenes not only in a literal sense but also in a poetic way, or in words that jump out at you, they may not make sense to others but its what you see. It’s a good exorcise in the fact there are sometimes no right and wrong, just creation.

We then all had to make a kitchen in our groups, my group went abstract, for example I was a screaming with my arms in the air, or letting off steam, a kettle…

The session helped to open my mind, to find creation, scenarios and story’s that are right in front of you, you just have to look..

The session today was about our awareness of ourselves, our own bodies but also our bodies as one, as a group, an ensemble. We started by walking in the space, then as a group we came to a stop, with out anybody leading or being the last to stop, just by being aware of everyone as a whole we were able to do this very well. We then had to start back up, stop, lay down, then stand back up and start moving again.. it was interesting, you had to concentrate very hard on the people around you but also try to put out that you are ready to move or ready to stop whilst being an equal member of the group..

We moved on to the one to twenty one game, we aware all number 1 to 21, I was number 12, I received the ball from number 11 and passed it on to number 13, this was first done in a circle with one ball, then tow then three then four then five, it required great focus and sensitivity toward the person you are throwing too, we learned the idea of making them look good and they will do the same to you, we then upped the game by moving around the space, I could feel my awareness of both needing number 13 and being needed by 12 growing.

We played the typewriter game, as a group we tried to spell out ‘THE BROWN FOX JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG’  with the action of stomp, clap, letter, stomp… I must admit I found this very difficult and that mirrored the group with the fact that we could never complete the sentence! We were told that we would be working on this in the coming sessions..

The balancing board, with and imaginary tilting board we had to mirror our partner in order to stop the boar from toppling one way or the other.. Then we moved on to passing the big yawn down the line.. I took from this that if an audience didn’t actually know what you were doing it could pass for a piece of performance of some kind!

Ball, Wall, Needle, Twist. In our own space we were told to portray one of this things, starting with a ball, the key to the exercise was that you remained focused and committed to your movements, it was clear see those who were and those that were not, I think the lesson in this is that if it is easy to spot a performer with a critical eye in a busy class room therefor when put on stage with an audience focused on you, the slightest break in concentration or commitment would be noticed straight away. We then worked in partners, we moved and reacted together, we had to be focused not only on our own bodies and movements but that of our partners,  again those that giggle and whispered would not have got the full benefit of the excorcise and only succeeded in drawing bad attention to them selves..

This session reminded me of the statues we used for a college production of Julius Caesar, the actors who were cast as chorus and statues were all very disappointed, but because of their amazing focus and commitment they received a lot of praise from audience members and critics..

Game; The Ultimate Being, Egg Bird or god, everybody strted as an egg, you wonder around the space, greet somebody by saying hello I am an egg, 321 then pull your hand from behind your back holding out a cirtain number of fingers, you the first person to add the numbers on both peoples hands get promoted to being a bird, then a god, to loose is to be demoted..

Phrase; Without silence there can be no music, without stillness there can be no movement.

We are learning the value of working together, as an ensemble, to make each other look good and in return your fellow performers will make you look good, with the aim of the audience going away and saying ‘They were good’ as appose to commenting on one or two individuals..

You only need to tap the floor once every 10 seconds to be part of a rhythm.

We looked at the difference between people performing the same movements over and over but with varying levels of breath.. for example, with held breath or with no breath, the difference between the two is staggering, the levels of tension and the story being told are completely different, just from a breath..

Today we really focused in on our own bodies, we remember that everyone has a histoy and because of that we do things in a certain way, its what makes us; us. But to be a great actor we are not being ourselves we are being somebody else, there for we have to strip ourselves back to bones and build this new person, taking away everything I have learned in my life and figure out the history of my charater and base my movements, breath, posture, glare, voice, even the way I stand up and sit down on this new person I am being.

Game: five points, Four corners, with somebody stood on each point in the square and one in the middle you had to plot 5 movements witht the last one ending up where you started. As you move you find yourself being at points with other people, you can play with this by creating stories, by making cirtain people happy, or sad, wanting to be alone or wanting to be with somebody it changes the dynamics of the game and almost makes it into a performance.

This excorcise goes to show that if yo put an audience in front of you, make a few basic rules and structures you can have a performance, it would be up to the audience to interoperate what it is but the point is from nothing you have something.  You can also take these rules and put them into a scene, create hiatory between characters, even though it is never spoken about it creates underlying stories, emotions and tensions that an audience will see and feel.

Today we worked on noises, making our individual noise part of an ensemble rhythm, one of the key things was not to plan ahead because the sound you were thinking of making might not fot in when its your turn to add to the rhythm. You also had to be sensitive and give your ensemble something to work with.

Sometimes sounds, noises and gestures can paint a clear picture for an audience, so instead of saying ‘so here were on in a snow filled forest’ show the audience in another way, words are not the only way to inform and can restrict the power of a performance.

The Empty Space

We were put into groups and given the task of performing a 20 minute play based on the works of Edgar Alan Po without the aid of props, lighting, costume, sound effects, pyro technics or even scenery, it was as the title suggests, the empty space.

We were given ‘The House Of Usher’, Our first problem was understanding the storey, Edgar Alan Po had written 11 pages and it took our group around 4 hours to decipher the storey and have a basic knowledge of the plot. We were as a group a little confused, so we spent the next two sessions reading and rewriting the script into a simpler form. I think that this set the group into a slow and jumbled rhythm that took a while to get out of..

Our next problem wasn’t even Edgars fault,  we were having issues with our company, we officially had six members, that was ofton 3 or 4 and never more than five, the problem with this was getting everybody up to speed with what we had done in the previous session, as it turned out we lost one member permanently. I was very happy with the way the group dealt with it, no bitching or persistent gossip we rallied together and got on with the task at hand.

Soon we had the bare bones, the house of usher was rising out of the dust, we worked very well as a ensemble, trying all ideas, using them or scrapping them without a bad word said. As the two week deadline loomed we really cracked on and had some nice ideas.. As a whole I was just glad to have a play that could be watched by an audience, I would like to have done many things differently, I would certainly have liked to have added more physical and visual moments, but I think we were slightly shackled by the storey and it was hard to free our minds.

1Exhausted or catatonic. The Jellyfish. There is no tension in the body at all. Begin in a complete state of relaxation. If you have to move or speak, it is a real effort. See what happens when you try to speak.

2Laid back – the “Californian” (soap opera). Many people live at this level of tension. Everything you say is cool, relaxed, probably lacking in credibility. The casual throw-away line – “I think I’ll go to bed now”.

3Neutral or the “Economic” (contemporary dance). It is what it is. There is nothing more, nothing less. The right amount. No past or future. You are totally present and aware. It is the state of tension before something happens. Think of a cat sitting comfortably on a wall, ready to leap up if a bird comes near. You move with no story behind your movement.

4Alert or Curious (farce). Look at things. Sit down. Stand up. Indecision. Think M. Hulot or Mr Bean. Levels 1 – 4 are our everyday states.

5Suspense or the Reactive (19th century melodrama). Is there a bomb in the room? The crisis is about to happen. All the tension is in the body, concentrated between the eyes. An inbreath. There’s a delay to your reaction. The body reacts. John Cleese.

6Passionate (opera). There is a bomb in the room. The tension has exploded out of the body. Anger, fear, hilarity, despair. It’s difficult to control. You walk into a room and there is a lion sitting there. There is a snake in the shower.

7Tragic (end of King Lear when Lear is holding Cordelia in his arms). The bomb is about to go off! Body can’t move. Petrified. The body is solid tension.

Term one summery

Term One Summery

From the outside somebody could read my PDP and just suggest that we don’t do anything but play games, in many respects this is true but it is not as black and white as it seems. I started the year knowing I was going to be the eldest and wondering how I would fit in, would I be accepted by my peers and would I be able to let myself go and be part of the year, both on a professional and social level. These were genuine concerns but the structure of the course stripped us down and put us in a place where we were all equal, then we started to build, started to find ourselves and with that our roles in the group. For me it had been a long time since I had performed, for some it may have even been their first, I felt the way the first term was structured was geared to opening corridors in our minds and bodies that have been long locked, or in some cases; never even opened. The games were just an agent, the rules of the game were not specific and it was up to you to bend them and break them and open your mind in order to be successful.   The point was not to floorlessly roll a ball to a person and receive it from another, but develop concentration, build personal discipline and trust in others that you can then take to the stage. But its not only the games that have rules, we as people have rules, and we are bound by them, this term was all about finding our limitations, to the point that you say I cant do that, and breaking through it, developing, physically and mentally moving forward as a performer, a thinker and an artist; and with that realising that it wasn’t a ball that you were holding in your hand, it was a line, a focus, a responsibility and it was your job to take care of it and pass it to the next person with care, precision and fluidity, and if the ball is dropped; to pick it up and carry on like it was all part of the ‘game’.

We took some of these skills that we had learned into the empty space, looking back at my PDP then looking at my empty space performance I wish we had done some things differently, but the fact is that we got bogged down by the script, we were all in such a state of confusion that it through us into panic, instead of being free in thoughts we were almost in desperation just to have piece that almost made sense.  But I also understand that this is all part of it, trial and error, looking back at your work and making your next piece better.. And as a foot note, we did our best work when we had a good space to work in, so always book a room.

To conclude, the first term has been exactly what I needed, it woke me up, released the shackles, shook off the cobwebs and created bonds with people that will be vital for the next 8 terms..

The man who ran out of lies

  1. They forget about a “love note” left their pocket.
  2. They come home smelling of their lovers perfume or cologne.
  3. They are too protective of their purse or wallet.
  4. They come home wearing different clothes than when they left.
  5. They choose too many different excuses too often.
  6. They forget about detailed cell-phone bills.
  7. They spend too much money on their affair, less on bills.
  8. They come home smelling of smoke, but they don’t smoke.
  9. They use a friend as an excuse but don’t tell the friend.
  10. They forget about the caller ID and redial button.

All on stage slumped over the objects in the room – should stay there for 30 seconds with the music playing

Gradually start to rise up and then get into positions – saying

Know not did I

See not did I

Not did I, not did I

Steal not did I

Lie not did I

Cheat not did I

Moves into the busy office scene, people crossing over the stage greeting one another gradually as the scene becomes more frantic the man should freeze together and say man then woman and then wife, once frozen in those positions we should remain there for a few seconds then go back to the frantic office scene and gradually form into the dinner scene with the wife and the husband.

I meet this woman right here 20 years ago, when we were just teenagers, we fell in love and in no time at all we were married settled down, with careers, a house and everything else you could ask for.  She does everything for me, looks after the house and takes care of every little thing. in all honesty she’s a perfect wife. But the thrill has gone, the passion, the affection, the love, everything is so dull and tedious, all that seems to be important is paying the bills, going to work, taking care of the house and so on. I think she thinks the only way to get it back to the way it used to be is by having a child…

I meet this man right here 20 years ago, when we were just teenagers, we fell in love and in no time at all we were married, settled down, with careers, a house and everything else you could ask for. He honestly is everything that I ever could have asked for I love him more than anything. Obviously our relationship isn’t the way it used to be, when you’re young it’s all about the sex and the passion, but of course you grow older and there are more pressing matters, paying the bills, working, taking care of the house and so on, so it gets put on the back burner. I think having a child is what we need right now.

Break into the set scene.


Bung us the salt, where’s the pepper? PIG!!! More gravy love? X3

W: So, darling how was your day?

M: company is about the seal a huge deal shall have to go to America to close it.

W: America?

M: America.

W: But I thought you didn’t have to go over there again.

M: This is the last time, promise.

Chorus: Laughs

W: I helped at the school today.

M: The school

W: Yes, the school

M: This really is a fantastic meal.

Chorus: Stop

W: Well I did slave all day over it.

Chorus:            Slams down cutlery and chokes

M: But thought you were at the school?

Chorus Stares

M: How are we looking for time?

W: Do you mean?

M: Your cycle…

W: The doctor says I’m…

M: Ovulating

W: Yes

M: Yes…… Bung us the salt

W: where’s the pepper

Both: Pig!

W: more gravy love?

Bung us the salt, where’s the pepper? PIG!!! More gravy love?

Breaks into the suitcase dance, which is then stopped by the siren


And it’s very, very, very hot.
911 Dispatcher 8695 It’s very…are the lights still on?
Melissa Doi The lights are on, but it’s very hot.
911 Dispatcher 8695 Ma’am, now m’am…
Melissa Doi VERY hot! We’re all on the other side of Liberty, and it’s very, very hot.
911 Dispatcher 8695 Well the lights, can you turn the lights off?
Melissa Doi No, no the lights are off.
911 Dispatcher 8695 Okay good, now everybody stay calm, you’d doing a good job…
Melissa Doi Please!
911 Dispatcher 8695 Ma’am listen, everybody’s coming, everybody knows, everybody knows what happened, okay…they have to take time to come up there, you know that. You got to be very careful.
Melissa Doi very hot

Breaks into lauren’s monologue

News report/ very hot

Silence scene –

Then into poem and narration

Lie to wife

Aeroplane image with presidential address

Phone calls

Busy office scene




Phone calls

Wife monologue seeing images on 911

Reporter scene repeated

Spilt scene

Man coming home, wifes like what

Wife calling man, then a phone call wife thinking he’s dead – repeat of the scene

Wife saked

Man loosing everything

End with some 911 thing and fin

Ladies and Gentleman, Wecome aboard Drama Class Airlines nonstop flight to Hollywood. Please pay attention to your flight attendants evenly spaced throughout our cabin as we explain to you the emergency features of our Boeing 737 aircraft. To fasten you seatbelt, place the metal tip into the buckle and tighten the strap. To release your seatbelt, lift the top portion of the buckle. There are 6 emergency exits on board, 2 forward and 2 in the rear with 2 additional exits over the wing. In case of loss of electrical power, emergency track lighting near the floor will illuminate which leads you to the exits. If there is a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will fall down atomically, just place the mask over your nose and tighten the strap, oxygen will flow automatically. Your seat cushion may be used as a flotation device, just remove the cushion from the seat, please your hands on the underside of the cushion and hold your wrists. There is no smoking on board our aircraft and tampering with the lavatory smoke detectors is a federal offense. We thank you for choosing our airline and if there is anything we can do to make your flight more enjoyable, please don’t hesitate to ask!

In the unlikely event that there is a liar on board today, this person may be seen looking towards the right, touching their face and perspiring. Throughout the flight there will be an inflight magazine where we will be providing a wide selection of alibi’s and excuses. All passengers will find this magazine in the pouch on the seat in front. In case of a confrontation the lie sign will flash and we ask that you remain seated. If you are a frequent liar with us we would like to inform you that your luck will soon run out and reach its destination.

Noises of phones

News readers

We are hearing unconfirmed reports that an airplane has struck one of the twin towers in new York, at this time we have no confirmation as to whether this is a tragic accident or an act of terror.. we have a reporter at the scene in new York..

As you can see smoke is bellowing out of the north tower, eye witnesses are saying it was a passenger jet that smashed into the side of the building some 30 minutes ago.. absolute chaos has descended and the emergency services are frantically trying to rescue the people trapped on the floors above the fire.

Truly awful scenes from new York… as of yet the president George bush has not made a comment but we are now hearing that a white house official is going to make a short statement.

At this stage all that we can confirm is that an aircraft has seemingly lost its way and hit the north tower.. The nation should know that every effort is being made to rescue the survivors who are trapped in the buildings, our immediate thoughts are with the families of those who have already lost their lives and a full investigation is already underway..

No real words to describe the scene but we will report to you as and when we receive more information..


So tell me, what is wrong with her?

The reason I have asked you to come in is not to discuss your wife, its to discuss you..


After carrying tests on your wife we have found that she has no medical reason why she should not conceive, she is the perfect age, this is the perfect time, and she is in perfect health…

She can’t be, we have been trying for months…

Which is why I need to talk to you, we tested your sperm count, it is very low, too low to naturally conceive.

In the lauren bit make that more. So there is a position change

Stop with the stamping and the song – do the Emily bit instead

No stamping

Don’t act before the queue – pick the pace up with the I meet this man…





Theatre reviews

‘The totality of the experience is impressive’ … The Persians Photograph: Gareth Phillips

This is site-specific theatre with a vengeance. High up in the Brecon Beacons, in a mock-up village used by the military as a training-base, National Theatre Wales is recreating the oldest extant play in western drama: Aeschylus’s The Persians. The combination of the story and the setting ,with the sun slowly disappearing over the hills, is overwhelming.

The Persians

Brecon Beacons

Until 21 August

Box office: 01874 611622 The play itself is extraordinary. Produced in 472BC, only eight years after the Persians had been routed at Salamis, it is the only Greek tragedy to be drawn from recent history rather than from legend. Obviously Aeschylus was celebrating Athenian victory. But what is astonishing is his sympathy for the vanquished. Atossa, mother of the defeated Xerxes, views the wreckage of her country with mounting horror. The ghost of Darius, her husband, rises from the grave to announce that grief is man’s lot and must be borne. Even “war-lusting” Xerxes himself, guilty of impetuously taking his country to war, is finally seen as an abject object of pity.

What is impressive about Mike Pearson’s production, however, is the totality of the experience. We assemble in a square in this deserted military village where the four-strong male chorus is rejoicing in war and announcing “no one can withstand this tsunami of the Persians in full rage.” We then march up a hill to sit in front of a four-storey house with the front cut away; and there we see, both in live action and on video, the tragedy enacted. There’s a wonderful moment when Atossa arrives in a white car to a blaze of trumpets. But, once she is in the house, a hand-held camera moves in close to watch the distintegration of her hopes as the news from Salamis arrives. And, with typical Pearson invention, that news is conveyed direct by video satellite.

Pearson puts the piece in contemporary clothes but makes no attempt to relate it directly to Iraq or Afghanistan. Instead he and the translator, Kaite O’Reilly, focus on how war destroys the very fabric of people’s identity. At the beginning, the chorus praise Xerxes as “fierce as a dragon scaled in gold”; by the end, they are threatening to beat him to death with a hammer. Even Darius, ritually raised from the dead, starts out in Paul Rhys’s performance as a gently melancholy ghost, only to turn into a wrathful figure who talks of Xerxes as “a mortal playing God to gods”.

Sian Thomas, left, also puts in a tremendous performance as the queen, a woman of fiery splendour reduced to ululating agony as the disasters mount and she cries “this is the peak of my misery”. And the four strong chorus, in its turn, descends from arrogant state apparatchiks to figures writhing in torment.

This superb production, with atmospheric music by John Hardy, literally takes one on a journey. And, as one went back down the hill after, strange lamentations emerged from the deserted houses. Shivering slightly, one moved on, still hearing the aftermath of war in one’s ears.

(Find Full Article, Below)

Ben Hoyle Arts Correspondent

In a giant pop-up theatre in the Dutch countryside, a spectacular new kind of entertainment experience is unfolding.

To the left of the audience, Nazi soldiers and beautiful women are singing and dancing in a huge glass-walled brothel. Meanwhile, off to the right of the stage two Dutch resistance fighters scramble over colossal sand dunes.

Medea review by Harley Ryley

Wednesday 14th November

A woman whose husband has left her and whose prospects are bleak. A woman who can’t work or sleep, who struggles to simple exist due to the all consuming range of bitter emotions she feels. A woman who is plotting revenge.

Despite the classical origins of Euripides’ Greek tragedy, this story of a heartbroken woman still resonates in the modern world. Writer and director Mike Bartlett manages, through expert adaptation of the original text to combine witty, sarcastic humour with the tragic tale that audiences have come to expect. Set against a backdrop of a small suburban town, Medea serves not only to shock and to appall audiences, but to raise moral questions and attempt to answer them. It makes us question our own actions, and to witness the result of human emotion stretched too far. In the title role, Rachael Stirling is almost uncomfortably convincing, portraying perfectly the malice, sorrow and desperation, while managing to pull off the black humour that has been added in this new adaptation. All of the cast members seemed suited to their roles, and it was interesting to see how each of them reacted to the climactic events that close the play. A nod must also go to the set design by Ruari Murchison, which brought a two story house, complete with bedrooms, a kitchen and flat screen television to the stage, the perfect setting for a modern adaptation.

In conclusion? Go and see this play. This is a production that exudes human understanding and more than anything is frank, honest and engaging. I’d say it’s even worth going just to witness the final, shocking scene of the production.


Psychological orientation
Back storey
Who am I?
age, gender, social status, job, class, geographical location, Politics, education, family, relationships, partners.

time, time period, season, day night..

place, Environment, familiar, unfamiliar, happy, sad, positive negative, busy quiet, noisey silent,

Objectives, super objectives,

Because of my up bringing, because I am angry, because I want to make a difference, because I want revenge, because I have no morals. Do I know why I want it? why do I want it now? Why do I want it? what will happen?

Do I know the difference between what I want And why I want it?

Do I want it or need it? reason or need?


Consequence, why now? What will happen if I don’t get it now? What aRe the stakes? What’s getting in my way? Why am I willing to do to get it? Inner conflict, outer conflict, internal battles,

what did I have to do? What do I have to overcome? Obstacles. Reaction, what am I reacting to?




To me acting is the art of being somebody that you are not, and making others believe that you are that person, that you have his emotions, his problems, his joys, his disappointments, his hopes and fears…


Mechanical -ordinary- psychological objective..

mechanical is a meeting with no emotion

Ordinary is a normal meeting, maybe a smile.

Psychological objective introduces a back storey..

Be sure to know the objectives in each stage..

Two people arguing about a deck chair I the same as two countries fighting over a kingdom, it’s just the stakes are different and it’s a different environment…

I want breakfast, the mechanical objectives are spoon into mouth, my aim is to no longer be hungry, but what are my obstacles …

Strategy, you know who you are, you know what you want, you know what your character would do to achieve this, what are your stratigys?

Where Is the truth? Find it, stick to it.. Think about who you are, not what you are doing, then what you are doing becomes real.



GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCE – a component given to you by the author.. Such as where and when. Politics, economics.

Know your given circumstances

IMMEDIATE CIRCUMSTANCE- is what’s happening now, on stage in front of the audience.

ACTION- what do I want- objective, motivation.. Why I want this is the arena of debate and often this is where the obstacle comes up…

You may know what you want but may not consciously know why..

Your REASON, your justification..

If I don’t get it NOW how high are the stakes..

What is the OBSTACLE? How hard is it to over come the obstacle? What do I do? Is it even worth living on?

CIRCLE OF ATTENTION- where is your circle of attention, should it be within the room? Is it between you and another person, does a storm come and make your circle bigger? Do you have something going on in your life outside of the room? It grows bigger and shrinks smaller depending on what is happening at that moment…

THE OBJECT OF ATTENTION- usually the object in front of you, but this can be in conflict with your circle of attention..

SHAKESPEARE analyse every word, now IS the WINTER of OUR DISCONTENT..

Look for words with capital letters, what do these words mean?

Sonia session 3

Sensory and emotional recall.. Find an emotion that I have felt in my life, them use that an place it with in the scenario of my scene…

That can be sensory cold, taste, touch, or emotional, fear, love, hate, revenge, joy…

Or you can create these emotions of yourself, place yourself in a forest, in the rain, five miles from home with now money, be trapped, empowered or restrained.


Book- the actor and his text by Sicily Berry.


Sonia session 5

Be brave- commit-

Learn lines by walking around, sit in dark spaces, be distracted, put yourself in physical stress to fun your character.

Replicate- recall

Sonia feed back

Dont just say heaven, or the market place, show it!!! Heaven is up, the ground is down..

Me: pendant world- look around
Oh heavens- look up
darkness As a bride-show bride

Show the love for my sister.
Listen and intent, hear and react
What is the silent character doing?

Critical Evaluation

Steven Rowbotham

I entered the first year of university not really knowing what to expect. Being the eldest I wondered how I would fit in, would I be accepted by today’s youth and would I be able to let myself go and be part of the year, both on a professional and social level. These were genuine concerns, thankfully the structure of the course stripped us down and put us in a place where we were all equal; we had to forget about the outside world, how I stand in the street is not how I stand in workshops or the stage, I was to become a neutral figure, stripped of habit and traits. Then we started to build, to find ourselves as performers, and with that our roles with in the group.

The games were just an agent, the rules of the game were not specific and it was up to you to bend them and break them and open your mind in order to be successful.   The point was not to floorlessly roll a ball to a person and receive it from another, but develop concentration, build personal discipline and trust in others that you can then take to the stage. it’s not only games that have rules, we as people have rules, and we are bound by them, this term was all about finding our limitations, to the point that you say I can’t do that, and breaking through it, developing, physically and mentally moving forward as a performer, a thinker and an artist. Looking back at our time playing games as a company, the members of the group who invested and committed to the games, are, in my opinion the same people who have created the best work or at least strived to do so.

I have always loved collaborating and being part of a well-oiled, tight ensemble, so naturally I was excited by the devising project. However on a personal level I found this project very difficult, a lot of time was wasted talking about external projects and activities, I was treading a thin line between wanting to get our heads down on and work and out casting myself as the group nag. I found the project to be a constant juggling act, that we had undoubted talent and creativity in the group, but as part of the package came big egos, I found the best way was to lead from behind, I was pleased with myself that I had the personal recourses and patients to organise the group in a professional and harmonious manor.

As much as I found the Empty Space and Devising projects a personal struggle approaches to character was a joy. I was to learn the art of being somebody else, make others believe that I am that person, to have his hopes, fears, joys and disappointments. I would soon learn that this is not the art of pretending, it’s the search for truth. As Stanislavsky says ‘the more you have of conscious and creative moments in your role the more chance you will have of a flow of inspiration. To play truly means to be right, logical, coherent, to think, strive, feel and act in unison with your role  (Stanislavski, an actor’s handbook, p149-150)

The module was called ‘Approaches to Character’ but it was so much more, before I could begin to understand the hopes and dreams of Claudio I would have to understand the text. I understand that Shakespeare is a genius, that he is the greatest play write of all time; but I did not understand his plays; the depth and detail of the learning in this project has taking me to a new level of Shakespeare respect and understanding. (quote) I was stunned at the exact nature of the text, each word was organic and precise, nothing thrown in or added for good measure.

When I reflect on the approaches to character module I would have liked to have taken that extra bit of time to work on my character, to engage with the lessons we had learned in the early stages of university, primarily ‘Le Coqs seven stages of tension’, I feel that would have helped build a blue print of the scene and allow me to navigate through my emotions with more control and precision.

My first year at university has opened my mind and broadened my gaze to a new world of devising, character and collaboration, that you can take such a simple idea as ‘The Ice Man’ or a day at the Tate Modern and a newspaper and create a piece of theatre, with depth, structure, truth and Character. And there is no need for a grand stage and lights to perform on; we can use our bodies, nature and the streets. As much as it has shown me what I can achieve it has also taught me of how much more I have to learn, in fact the more I learn the more I realise I don’t know, but rather than deter me; this inspires me. Names the have sprung through our lectures and workshops such as, Brecht, Le Coq, Berkoff, Stanislavski and many more, despite being legends of their fields and having such a huge impact on the theatrical world all died (or will in Berkoff’s case) wanting to know more.

During theatre histories lectures you realise that we are part of an ancient tradition, from the Greeks through Shakespeare, Brecht right to the present day people have been performing, but very few can be thought of as legends of the arts. There are few shining beacons through history that have bent the light and changed the face of theatre, this ever evolving art form is always searching for the next person to come and evolve the engine that drives theatre forward. I have realised that to become even a small cog in that machine dragging thousands of years of history in its wake you have to be committed and immersed in the arts. Looking forward to the second and third years I know that I have be more of a theoretical scholar if I’m going to maximise my learning potential. At times I have taken on too many practical commitments inside and outside of university and they have limited my time for reading, watching live performance and PDP.  My aim is to spend a longer period of time on my essays and theory studies which I believe will enrich me as a performer and give me a greater chance to succeed in the business.

Theatre and Social Evolution

Steven Rowbotham

Throughout human civilisation man has fort for power and control. In modern times we have a vast net cast over the entire population, we are bombarded by political speeches, advertisement, campaigns and proper gander through our televisions, radios, internet or splashed around on billboards like the backdrop to our world. However in the not so distant past there was no, television or internet, messages were passed from voice to ear, town criers, literature to those whom could read and of course, possibly the most powerful medium of all; theatre.

Theatre and storeys were a great way to give messages to the public; it could be argued that the greatest story of all time was a form of control, played out on grand and holy stages by the orators of god. So naturally rulers of kingdom and country would use this powerful medium to their advantage, they would have to control and govern theatre in the same way the grand media is marshalled in modern day. My question is ‘how did the change in power impact and innovate theatre’? First I intend to concentrate on the Jacobean era, King James and his kingsman, William Shakespeare.

Over four centuries ago Britain’s best theatre company, the chamberlain men were preparing a new play for a new monarch, king James the first, the play was Measure for Measure, the author William Shakespeare. But could this play have been written in the Elizabethan era? The 12 plays written by Shakespeare in the Jacobean era are regarded by many as some of his best work, they represent a darker side of theatre, during a time where social unrest and change was writhe. It was the time that brought us, November the 5th, The great plague of summer 1603, the union Jack and notably the King James Bible. Such public upheaval challenged the play writes of the day to find a new voice to reach out to the people, no longer could Shakespeare write plays such as ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ or ‘the Taming of the Shrew’  as he did in the Elizabethan era, the monarch had changed, society was changing and Shakespeare and theatre must change too, as Raymond Williams describes (Drama Broke for precise historical and cultural reasons, into a more active and more questioning world. There are relativities with in its subsequent history and the break has been made many more times than once. Any system of signs presenting and representing can become incorporated into the passing of order, and new strange images, of repressed experience, repressed people have again to break beyond this. RAYMOND WILLIAMS, 1983,WRITING IN SOCIETY, LONDON, VERSO)  Williams finishes his sentence by arguing that theatre will constantly evolve, new figures of power will come into play, the world will change and theatre must evolve with it.

One of king James first blows to the theatre was to ban all Sunday performances, in the time Sunday was the best playing day, but the protection of the Sabbath was deemed a greater priority. Shakespeare was also about to encounter another surprise on account of King James, he and his theatre company were named the kings men, this meant he was at the kings disposal to perform anywhere and everywhere at the kings request, this must have had a great effect on the material he was able to and inspired to write. Society was changing and with the whole direction of Shakespeare life had changed too. Shakespeare first Jacobean play ‘Measure for Measure’ mirrored the events of the regime change and James’s England, dealing with issues of religion and social evolution, justice and mercy. The executions of the gun powder plotters in many regards was a masterful piece of theatre itself, the mood of the country was dark and gloomy, Shakespeare being a kings man will have had much knowledge of the plot and the atmosphere within the royal realms, surly it is no accident that it is this time that he wrote the bloody and gruesome play, Macbeth. With James’s regime capturing Guy Forks and his conspirators, including the book of religious equivocation by Garnet. (Faith, here’s an equivocator, who committed treason enough for gods sake, but could not equivocate to heaven. Shakespeare, 1605, Macbeth, London)  The very story of Macbeth is the plotting of a murder, and just like the gunpowder plot, that of a king. Even though Macbeth is successful in his scheme the character of the porter who also represents the devil describes how the plotters are going to hell, they had failed in their ‘equivocation’ to heaven. This of course will have been written by Shakespeare knowing the he had to please King James who was assured to see the play himself.  And Shakespeare was wise to do so, others such as Johnson tested the kings humour and soon realised what a poor idea that was..  (Although often guilty of petty quarrels with his fellow playwrights, Jonson collaborated with John Marston and George Chapman on Eastward Ho!, a script which would land them all in prison once again. The play contains an unflattering reference to Scottish royalty to which the new king, James I, took offense. http://www.imagi-nation.com/moonstruck/clsc11.htm)

Johnson was imprisoned for a year, but upon his release in a dramatic twist he was ordered to perform for the king and some of England’s most powerful families, the play was Hymenia, a story remnant of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, only this portrayed a real marriage, a feud that Between the influential Essex and Howard family’s that James was eager to heal, and of course for his own power and political gain, and what better way to achieve this than Theatre. It was political genius by King James and it truly showed how much power and control he had over theatre. He himself was influencing and innovating, throughout the ages religious sectors had controlled the public through the bible with the threat of the devil and hell, King James; used theatre.

But as his rein went on the country was being thrown into turmoil, mass protests scattered the lands and James met them with the iron fist of his army, killing thousands of peasants and farmers, the people of England were turning on James, and this would become clear in the work of the playwrights.. Shakespeare’s last play Coriolanus showed not only a man that was not loved, but a man that was unable to love his people, such a contrast from the much loved and adored Elizabeth had a huge effect on the words of the playwrights,  and when Coriolanus eventually died, the watching crowds were cheering his death.  Sir francis Bacon when writing about the midland protesters realised that when the starving and desperate people take to the fields and streets it is not the doing of them, but a reaction to the actions of those in charge.

(Lastly, let princes, against all events, not be without some great person, one or rather more, of military valor, near unto them, for the repressing of seditions in their beginnings. For without that, there useth to be more trepidation in court upon the first breaking out of troubles, than were fit. And the state runneth the danger of that which Tacitus saith; Atque is habitus animorum fuit, ut pessimum facinus auderent pauci, plures vellent, omnes paterentur. But let such military persons be assured, and well reputed of, rather than factious and popular; holding also good correspondence with the other great men in the state; or else the remedy, is worse than the disease. Sir Francis Bacon, Seditions and Trouble)

King James, after pulling the strings of the theatres, to create propaganda, control, affection and political gain was now watching his weapon of choice be turned against himself, the atmosphere in the country was that of fear, desperation and unrest, this was being played out for all of the public to see, James had lost control, perhaps knowing this is what later caused the puritan parliament to ban all theatre.

The Jacobean era also showed an increase in popularity to indoor theatre, Blackfriars and The great hall were at Shakespeare’s disposal, he began to experiment with lanterns, elaborate stage directions such as turning a statues to life, stage effects like cannons, one of which misfired and caused the globe to burn to the ground.

(James I and his Queen, Anne of Denmark, were very fond of theatrical entertainments known as masques (from the fact that, in early versions, players were masked). The masques at James’s court were held indoors, and involved spectacular scenery and costumes – made at great expense. They also contained a great deal of music and dancing. The participants were often courtiers, and James’s Queen enjoyed taking part. In these ways, the court masques were very different from the normal theatrical performances in London at the time, where women could not act on stage and where scenery and props were minimal.

However, when the King’s Men moved into Blackfriars theatre, they too were able to develop more elaborate staging, and in plays such as The Tempest Shakespeare introduced masque-like sequences into his drama. http://www.crossref-it.info/articles/150/Elizabethan-and-Jacobean-theatre-design)

So how does social change effect the theatre in the modern day? In many ways it doesn’t, we are still watching the classic and ground breaking plays from archives of history. With the introduction of modern media, for the masses; theatre has become almost solely a form of entertainment. It is still a way of expressing feelings and opinion, for instance during the last 10 years there has been a lot of theatre that has portrayed the effects of the country’s current military stance, but to what effect? Theatre has to compete with television, cinema and the internet, we live in an age where celebrities have more power and influence over the population than our own parliament and monarch, one sentence on a social media website will reach millions in an instant, to reach the same amount of people in an ever growing population every play house in the country would have to run all day every day for months on end and in several languages.

But theatre still breaths strong, it may not have the political clout of yesteryear but it has adapted and survived the incredible social evolution. Within small communities it can still be a powerful way to send a message, give a voice, breed hope and create a platform for change.







BBC- The King and the Poet


Literature and Marxism

Society and Literature

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