Thursday, 9 April 2009

Back On Track - Our Community Project - Devising

Monday 6th April 5-8pm

Myself and Monsay presented to Karen and Tunde the themes we had been looking at and our ideas for a piece. We wanted to create something that the students could relate to, which would help them discuss when foruming. One idea that we were pretty keen to try was about a person that keeps getting fired from their job. The reasons for them getting fired would be being late, lazy, disrespectful, rude to costumers and having a bad attitude. We wanted to show that having a bad attitude wont get you very far in life, and people always remember a bad attitude. If you mess about in a job, then it'll be harder to get a new one as your reference wont be good. People may not give you a second chance, so making a good impression is very important.

So we set up a scenario where the person is called into the managers office as there has been lots of complaints made against them. I was the manager and Monsay was the employee, called Zoe. Zoe is 16 years old, she has a council flat and has a baby. She works at McDonald's at the counter.

During the improvisation of the scene, I found it quite difficult thinking of responses to Monsay's character. Monsay would take the scene to the next lever and i would have to top it. I found this frustrating as i would stumble on my words and not know how to counter Monsay. The manager had to be quite tough and she needed to create obstacles of Zoe. I had never played an oppressing role before, i would normally go for the oppressed roles. So i needed to become meaner and become comfortable in my role. We did swap roles to see if maybe it would suit us better, but it didn't work. Monsay has a likable and innocent side to her as well as having the attitude which i feel the audience could relate more too. Also i have never been in the situation where Ive been fired or been in serious trouble. Even when i was younger i didn't cause much trouble and never really had an attitude problem. Monsay said she could relate to it and has been in similar situations. She has a better understanding about this, which meant her character was more life-like.

The Scene:

The manager calls Zoe in and tells Zoe that there has has been several complaints made against her in the last week. She has been rude to the costumers, giving them back chat and also is late for every shift. Straight away Zoe says they must be lying and starts being argumentative. The manager explains that his is exactly what is getting her into trouble, she has a bad attitude problem. The manager then gives Zoe an opportunity to apologise and change things bu asking her "are you going to sort it out?". Zoe does not take that opportunity and continues to argue. The manager mentions Zoe's jewelry: big ear rings, false nails and rings. She should not be wearing them - one of the complaints was that a false nails was found in a burger. Zoe denies it was hers. The manager then tells Zoe she will work a double shift next weekend. Zoe argues back once again and says she has already worked a full week. Manager says she knows she hasn't. The manager gives Zoe plenty of opportunities to come clean and admit she missed her shifts, but Zoe still argues, saying that she signed the Sign-in sheet. The manager gives her one more chance to come clean as she knows she did not work those days, she got her colleagues to sign in for her and cover her shift. The manager produces the sign-in sheet and tells Zoe it was a serious offence and she could get the sack for this. Zoe mentions "everyone has problems"...this is a moment where Zoe could open up and tell the manager her problems, but she doesn't and carries on arguing. The manager says if she doesn't work the double shift then shell call the police. Zoe explodes, shouts at the manager saying she can "stick the job" and storms out.

In this scene the manager is the oppressor and Zoe is the oppressed. The manager creates both obstacles and opportunities for Zoe. In order for a positive outcome, Zoe must overcome these obstacles and take the opportunities to change her ways. Zoe feels victimised in this situation, she thinks its personal and this is why she is defensive and argumentative. She does not take responsibility for her actions. This is how many teenagers feel and this is what we are hoping to look at in the lessons. We want to open it out and forum the scene, identify certain points where Zoe could have changed the outcome - the missed opportunities.

The main problem is miss-communication. Zoe does not know how to communicate properly. Even the way she sits, talks and looks communicates in a negative way, without even verbalising anything she has communicated to the manager exactly how she feels and thinks about this job with her body language. She says she has problems, but instead of opening up, she returns to aggression. I have recently found out that my brother has ADID (Attention Deficit Inattentive Disorder). This finally explains why he as been doing these things. We could not understand what was wrong, as he is a very nice lad, very polite and friendly, but he can never hold down a job, hates being told what to do, could never do homework, steals, lies, smokes, drinks, cant organise anything, bad with money and can get very angry. He cannot communicate his feelings and emotions properly. Last week he got so upset he punched a hole in the wall and trashed his bedroom. He has quit college so many times as he looses interest in it, even though he is intelligent and was predicted 8 A*s (in the end he only showed up for a few exams and got 3 C's and the rest were fails). This time if he decides to go back to college again he will have the support from teachers and a councilor/psychiatrist to help him with his work, organisation and communication. There are also medicines he can take to help. Luckily as he has grown up, he has stopped stealing, taking drugs and lying. He now has 2 jobs which he enjoys and hopefully, that he will keep for sometime. He does not know what he wants to do with his life, so hopefully with the new help and understanding of his condition, this will help him decide and get on with life.

In the scene, the managers aim is to make Zoe work a double shift as she knows she has been lying about working last week. She can use the sign-in sheet to make her work it. Although Zoe is a problem and has a bad attitude, the manager does not want to have to fire her as there are not many other people that would work for this kind of money.

In the scene, the manager creates 'hooks' where Zoe can grab onto to make the scene escalate even higher.

The hooks are:

fake nail in burger
double shift
sheet
everyone has problems
no wages

After each one of the 'hooks' the manager gives Zoe a chance to come clean, apologise and correct it. These are the points where we will open it up to the class and see what they would have done differently. We will then let them take over Zoe's role and see if they can change the out come.

To be honest, I am quite nervous about the forum part of the session as i will have to think on my feet when the situation changes. It has been a while since i have improvised and devised a piece where i am performing in it. Since working as a stage manager, i have shied away from any performing, so i need to work my confidence back up in order for the forum session to really work and for the class to benefit from it.

Myself and Monsay are very exited and happy with the piece we devised. This piece will be taken to two groups, where Tunde or Karen will act as The Joker and will forum the piece to the group. We now have to find a play for the credited drama group, where we can explore different languages and devising techniques. We had also been asked to devise a piece for The Norwood Girls School, as they have been looking at relationships with boys. We could also relate this to Yard Gal and show some scenes from that.

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