Improvisation - A Piece of Improvisation Work

Improvisation - A Piece of Improvisation Work

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Our improvisation was based on many different scenarios that have been
in the newspaper and on television.

We had all heard of many stories of previously "poor" families or
individuals winning the lottery and becoming wealthy. One story that
part of our drama was based on was of a middle-aged man who after
winning the lottery, had become an alcoholic and proceeded to drink
himself to death. This was a classic case of "money doesn't create
happiness". All the members of my group thought that this was a good
idea, and we wanted to do this as our performance.

We decided to make our improvisation into a 2-part theme from an idea
given to us by our teacher.

Today's society still believes that "grass is greener on the other
side" and my group decided, that it would provide and good contrast if
we could have one "Rich" family who becomes poor and one "Poor" family
who becomes rich.

The idea of the "Rich" family was immediately backed up by many
stories of bankruptcy in the media. One particular story line in the
soap "Eastenders" where a local businessman loses everything
contributed to our plot immensely.

Every member of the group liked this idea and we decided that our
performance would follow the progress of the two families as they
switched places.

Story
=====

Our performance starts off with a stereotypical "Rich" family eating
breakfast. They are typically "Upper-class" and this is noticeable by
the way they all use received pronunciation.

The audience will automatically take a dislike to this family. They
show no affection to each other and the mother and father are
particularly hostile to their three children, as they are to each
other. We also notice, in this introduction to the family, that money
is no object to them. The way the daughter asks for her fathers credit
card to buy some new clothes shows this.

The introduction to the "Poor" family is very contrasting to the way
that the family treats each other, but the setting is quite similar.
The family is eating lunch and this family too, is very stereotypical.
Although we notice the family's lack of wealth straight away, a
feeling of warmth and sympathy is present within the audience.

The mother and father are noticeably struggling for finance. When the
daughter (just like in the previous scene) asks for money the father
gives her the change out of a £5 note grudgingly. This is a huge
contrast to the "Rich" family.

Throughout the rest of the performance, we switch between the
families, seeing how the "Rich" family quickly loses their money and
how the "Poor" family wins a fortune.

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The effect of the two events is
very similar. Most of the "Rich" family become noticeably closer,
whereas most of the "Poor" family stop caring about each other and
focus on material things. However, both families have one thing in
common. The effect of the sudden change loses them each one member. In
the "Rich" family the father finds that facing life without money is
unbearable, so he takes an overdose of pills. Similarly, in the "Poor"
family, the mother becomes so drunk that she chokes on her own vomit.
We never see the reactions of the families.

Characters
==========

"Rich family"
-------------

Douglas Parks-Young (father) -
Rob Shaw
Elizabeth Parks -Young (mother) -
Suzanne Keller
Edward Parks - Young (youngest son) -
Reece Davis
Beatrice Parks- Young (daughter) -
Sophie Bowen
Charles Parks- Young (Eldest son) -
Jon Rickman

"Poor family"
-------------

Father -
Reece Davis
Mother -
Sophie Bowen
Tom (twin son) -
Jon Rickman
Tim (twin son) -
Rob Shaw
Biancia (daughter) -

Suzanne Keller

We developed our characters by using the "hot-seating" method. We also
cast the characters as to whom we thought could act them well.

Genre
=====

The Genre for our improvisation was Tragedy. Most of the drama was
fairly stereotypical as to what is portrayed as a "Rich" and "Poor"
family. However, the two deaths at the end of the piece transforms it
from a Naturalistic drama into a tragedy with the two deaths.

Review
======

When we were first set the task, my group first decided to do a prison
drama, but after 3 lessons we decided that it was going nowhere and we
were better off starting with a completely new idea. With our new
ideas we put together "Grass is greener…?" At first there were not too
many problems but as the deadline to perform drew nearer the group
became divided. It became difficult to organise lunchtime practices
because of other engagements. Some members of the group were not as
enthusiastic towards the project as others. When it came to decisions,
we usually managed to reach a mutual agreement, although sometimes
arguments arose.

I did work well with most of the other actors in my group, although I
was a bit annoyed at some peoples lack of enthusiasm. I particularly
worked well with Sophie as we usually had the same ideas and helped
each other along with the actual acting, giving advice on what was
good and what was not. There were several compromises that we as a
group had to make. If one of us wanted something changed, we went on a
majority vote and if it went against them, the person had to back down
unless a mutual medium was found.

I tried to make sure that everyone in our performance had an equal
part, rather than one or two people stealing the spotlight.

We decided against using costumes as it would have been very difficult
changing between the families. We did use a few token props to create
the scene. Also we took advantage of the lighting and sound system to
create special effects.

Our set changed a lot throughout the performance, which made it quite
hard to move things about without notice. However, I think that we
managed to cope well with what we had.

Our performance defiantly had a moral to it. The old phrase "Grass is
greener on the other side" is the title of our improvisation. From our
play, we hope that the audience learns that 1) Money does not end all
problems

and

2) Money does not buy happiness

If we were to do improvisation again I would defiantly get more
organised more quickly as we had to cancel several performance dates
because we were not ready. Also I would have maybe polished it off to
perfection, as there were some awkward pauses in it.

On the whole I was quite pleased with our improvisation piece, and it
was very fun to work out in the early stages.

"Grass is Greener?"

Drama Improvisation Theory
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