We had to study a project and our topic was bullying. We had to use different techniques and different view points. We used different styles of drama and different use of language. I though that the project was a good topic because it was a real life topic as this really happens and it helps us to deal with the reality that it exists and we do it through acting and putting in our emotions and feelings. We saw two sides to this topic, one the humour of it and the other the more serious side.
Bullying is a common thing to happen and it happens to all of us at one point in our stage of life and we have to deal with that, although bullying can happen anywhere it mostly happens at school. The stimuli that particularly interested me was the Adrian Mole extracts because we had to think of the seriousness of the topic as this was one of our first real performances to start this topic, but we were able to put humour into that and made it easier to act out.
The scene that I created for the Adrian Mole extract was that I worked with a partner in my class, Veronica Horwitz, and we read a piece of information that would help us to carry on this scene. Now the information we had was there was a boy called Adrian Mole and he was being bullied by a boy at his school called Barry Kent and the grandmother found out that Adrian was being bullied and that Barry had taken his money, and she had gone to sort it out. What we had to do was carry on the play and create what we think was going to happen.
I played the grandmother and Veronica played Barry Kent the bully, I acted out the scene where I was walking along the street when I saw Barry Kent, I went up to him and told him to stop picking on my grandson, and I then decided to add on a scene where I took him to his house and told his father what he had been up to and then I took the money off him and I told him to leave my grandson alone, and this added humour because no one would expect an old person to actually threat a young child.
I think that this helped the topic because it became a lot easier to act it out because we could make a laugh about it even though we knew how serious the topic is. It helped everyone to achieve their best when performing it and it also helped break down the nervous tension that was round the room. From doing the topic I learnt how other people feel, what their emotions are about being bullied, but also how the bully must feel. I could relate to this issue easily. My thoughts on bullying are like most people’s point of view, which is I believe that it is wrong and that it should be stopped.
Because it causes a lot of problems and also it hurts a lot of people. I learnt new techniques such as how to use my voice, so that when I wanted to speak in a fierce tone I could learn to control it so that it cam out powerful and not quiet. I also learnt how to use my body language how to turn and how to move, either in a nice way as to show how I felt about this person, such as a friend and to show that I was comfortable, or an enemy, therefore show that I was uncomfortable and I used my body language to show this.
One lesson in which I performed really well was when we had to create a scene where the bully and the victim met up a few years later and we had to act out how we would react. My Performance was effective because I imagined how hard it would be to meet up with someone who may have upset your childhood or adolescent years and I imagined how much tension there would be also how hard it would be to forgive and forget. I performed it by using my voice a lot and also body language, to show how I felt uncomfortable and angry that she had done this to me.
I try to think what I would do if this was a situation that I was put in and I involved that into the play. I could have improved my piece by making my voice stronger and also concentrating more on my facial expression. When I observed the carton, it appeared wrong to me because of the caption, because they were threatening this boy, these other two boys, and then when the teacher came they said that they were just messing around, the victim agreed and I think that this was wrong because he should have sorted it out.
I think that it was good because it caused a reaction in people, which was that they think that he should have said something and that we knew that this happened and that most people do not admit that they are bullied because they are afraid of what will happen. We used Forum Theatre by acting out the next scene which was at the head teacher’s office and we thought about how she would sort the situation out and handle it. The whole group had to come up with ideas that would help the teacher to resolve the problem.
For example if the teacher used the wrong method, someone would shout “Stop” and then suggest a way in which she could change her approach so that she could improve the situation. I suggest that we should try to separate the people who played the bully and talk to them separately. The best idea was that the headmaster should talk to each of the bullies individually and talk to them and use blackmail to try to get answers from them, the idea was that she would say that she was going to call up their parents.
I think that schools could use Boal’s ideas to stop bullying by maybe making the roles reverse, for example get the bully to play the victim and vice versa. Then they would be able to realize how it felt and how much it affects you. We used soundscapes to create nightmares for a victim of bullying. We used different sounds, for example severe stamping with feet, maybe fast to symbolize running etc. Our group created many different sounds, for example banging on a slab of wood, which was the effect of a sound beat. Another example was chanting, we all chanted “freak” and this created the effect of what was happening in the playground.
I think that our soundscape was effective because it was in the dark and we made the audience face the opposite way so that they could only hear us and not see, this added the effect to the soundscape. We also used different sounds to create our scene and they could imagine what was happening so it was easier to understand and relate to. The soundscape was like a nightmare because we used loud sounds and people pictured their own scene of what was happening, because they didn’t see what we were acting, only knew by using the sounds we used.
The tension was high because people were realising how people must feel when they are bullied. The climax was good because we spaced out the sounds so that the climax was built up and so the end scene the climax had built up enough to be released. One of the best soundscapes was group 4 because their approach to it was different to everyone else’s. They used the entire room so that the sounds travelled well. We were told to find our own space and sit so we were comfortable, close our eyes and relax.
They moved around the room between the audience saying different things a bully may say, for example: ” freak” “get a life” etc.. They made the audience part of the performance. I thought this was effective because it was different and unusual. There were 5 people walking around parts of the room so that each person had a different target from the audience. It seemed like one minute they were right next to you and the next they were far away from you. When they were far away you felt a little more secure than you did when they were close, it was difficult because you had your eyes shut and didn’t know where they would be.
They created a lot of tension and when the soundscape finished the tension was released. Overall I thought the topic was great because we review both points a; what it was like to be the bully and victim and b; the serious and humorous side and we learnt new things, for example, how to discuss our opinion sensibly, and how to sort out a difficult situation as a class. I enjoyed this topic because it helped me express my feelings and emotions about this type of thing and help me to improve my acting, by using my voice.
Also how to write in a lot more detail, I found this hard because it was hard to describe what was happening because it was more of a experience rather than working as we learnt so much and acted out a lot of scenes with a lot of different people. For example; I have never worked with Honey Leonard, and Stephanie Forrow. We learnt a lot but we worked hard to describe and discuss the topic. The most interesting thing about this topic has been that we worked in so many different groups that we learnt things from other people, for example we heard from Emma Thorne, she suggested how hard it would be for a victim to report a bully.
We learnt about the topic but we did not act it out as we may usually, we mainly discussed and then acted and this gave us a prospective on how to act and what techniques to use, and we learnt how to see both sides of the project. We were not always serious; we put humour to help feel what its like but also how serious the topic is and how important it is to see both sides of the story. For example we used humour in the Adrian Mole extract and seriousness in the soundscape. Also we used different techniques and we used different types of movement and facial expressions.
For example I used a slow movement in the Adrian Mole extract; I used stern facial expressions for the meeting of a bully a few years later. The way I feel has become more emotional due to this project and because we acted out different scenes in different groups with different people. It gave me a completely prospective to what I had before. Since we have done this topic, so far I have not seen any year 11s being bullied or bullying, so I think that it has had a great effect on our drama group. And I hope that we bring the topic up again as it was a lovely and emotional topic in which to do.