Characters Contribute to the Dramatic Effect of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads

Characters Contribute to the Dramatic Effect of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads

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"Talking heads" by Alan Bennett is a collection of monologues in which the audience are showed into the life of a character and given an insight into the character's personality and situation. People's lives are portrayed in comic ways leaving the audience feeling sympathy and guilt for the character in laughing at their misfortune.

In the play a Chip in the Sugar Alan Bennett shows us a life of a very unconfident man who still lives with his mum. Graham is a middle-aged man with a history of mild mental health problems, living with his mother in Leeds. He is an absolutely stereotypical Guardian reader he wears flares, avoids deodorant, is environmentally conscious, likes date and walnut bread, and is very anti-Thatcher. It is also hinted that he is a closet homosexual. His life is dramatically disrupted when his mother, who he is effectively "married" to, meets her old flame Frank Turnbull after 52 years. Turnbull is bigoted, right-wing, and racist the opposite of Graham but he is also well-dressed and well off. Graham's father presumably died in hospital Graham refers to doctors "wheeling him into the theatre". Graham becomes increasingly jealous as Mr Turnbull takes an ever-growing hold on Mrs Whittaker's life, to the extent he proposes marriage simultaneously suggesting Graham moves out of the house to a hostel. But Mr Turnbull is hiding a secret, and when Graham finds out he gets the courage to confronts his mother with the information, restoring the status quo and his comfortable life but destroying her hopes of happiness in the process. It seems like Graham has been seriously traumatized as he will not leave his mothers sight which is very unhealthy for a 52 year old to be doing. This play is not only based on graham and his relationship with his mother but it is also based on the different emotions shown within the monologue such as fear which Graham shows a lot of as he is constantly scared for his mother so this causes him to treat her like a child. There is also much anger shown towards the man that his mother is in a relationship with not only because he doesn?t trust him ,but because he wants to be the only man in his mothers life as he has been sic kingly close with his mother since a being a young child and she is always saying to Graham ?

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You are the only man in my life? which I feel makes Graham feel more secure. I think that Grahams worrying for once came in handy as he found out that Mr Turnbull (his mother?s partner) was not with his mother for love but for money which is a good twist for the audience.

There are a lot of different uses of language used in ?Chip in the sugar? as Graham speaks f uses proper grammar, but says things according to his accent in a different way. When Graham speaks he shows two different emotions one being the excitement and the other being anger as they both combine together which makes him very enthusiastic when he speaks.

This Monologue is filmed in a dim old typical penchiners sitting room as it has old fashioned wall paper which is full of lots of dark browns and creams with patterns. The objects which are also obtained in this room are an old fashioned sitting chair a lamp shade and a window in the background which shows us that they are not very well off and there life is very basic. I feel that Bennett sets and image in which the audience can imagine of the mother and son having a conversation.

I think that this is a comedy drama because Graham is funny in the way that he acts but is also very serious as some of the issues such as Graham?s sexuality. In the play they use different camera shots but they sustain the same shot for a substantial amount of time. Different angles in the shots help gain effects on facial expressions which are very important as it is used to set atmospheres. They used medium shots, which include most of the scene, and also long shots, which give distanced view, but they are not used very often because all the focus is on Grahams face, but the camera techniques that gained the best effect was close up. When a scene ends it would go back and then a little tune would come on then the next scene would start.

Although the characters are functional, grounded no doubt on Alan's past experience and chance meetings, they are colourful, bright and full of life. Each of the monologues are unique to the next, Bennett creates a world of his own allowing the reader to see through the eyes of his characters.
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