Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo

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Live theatre has been an important method of entertainment, self-expression and storytelling for centuries and still plays an important part in modern society for the same reasons however not all performances will successfully entertain, express or tell their story. The first and one of the most vital features of a successful show is the performances of the actors. To assess the performance of an actor there are many aspects that one must consider, I believe the most important to be vocalisation, physicalisation and characterisation. I will be critiquing The Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo, the story of the lives and afterlives of the people and animals caught in the middle of a war torn country, as performed by Persona Collective at the Annexe Theatre on the 10th-12th of April, on the performances of John Swindle and Amanda Phillips. The first aspect of a performance that makes a good actor is their vocalisation. Vocalisation for most characters is the most important aspect, as without words, there is very little else to convey the message. A fantastic example of inadequate voice work is shown in the performance of Swindle as the tiger. As Swindle entered the space his voice was at a decent volume and his accent was definite but unfortunately the good work stopped there and the performance went downhill. Right from the beginning, it was obvious that Swindle did not know his lines and as a result, his voice work suffered severely. The volume of his speech dropped as you he was struggling through his lines, especially noticeable in scene 4 during the tigers monologue as he discusses religion and death, much of the dialogue was lost in missing volume and the words were unable to be heard. Swindle also stumbled frequently during the ... ... middle of paper ... ...ken and knew exactly how it should be presented. She knew her characters inside and out and gave 2 truly believable and perfectly characterized performances. The first and one of the most vital features of a successful show is the performances of the actors and in this case, the success of the show was let down by one actor. It’s very obvious that Swindle needs to think about each of those important aspects of his performance more and what he needs to do with them in order to successfully perform a character, putting more individual thought into how he uses his voice, how he uses his body and how he builds a believable character. Had Swindles performance been of the same standard of that by Phillips then maybe the show could have been a great success however I don’t think there was a single person that could say they saw a perfect show with no need for improvement.

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