Road – play review - Sample Essay
The set: The type of staging was a proscenium arch. It was set on a revolving stage where the characters pushed it round. It showed the never-ending circle of life of the characters and them not going anywhere. Quiet a simple set appearance towards the audience, but provides the sense of understanding, as the audience is able to work out which house belongs to who. The rotating stage is split into three sections each of which are basic rooms of a poor housed person. The set is already on stage so it dissembles the problem of carrying set on and off stage.
The idea of the revolving stage was to show the changes throughout the play but without having to change the set and bring in new props. Use of projections: at the beginning and end of the performance projections were shone onto the cyclorama revealing the idea of a television programme and relating it too the audience as we are the television generation. The beginning started with a projection of a real life street relating the play to reality. Just before the street there was a projection of different views of London and roads resembling a television programme, e. g. eastenders.
Projections were also used throughout the play showing different aspects of the life, e. g. at one point a television was made by projecting an image onto the house wall this was then taken away when not needed. Projections also represented changes in characters lives and emotions or maybe a change of scenery. Use of lighting and sound: monologues were shown with a spotlight isolating the rest of the stage to draw on emotion and atmosphere. It also made the audience focus on that one person and no one else.
The individual spotlights also showed individuality with the idea of separating all the characters. The lighting changed for different house settings resembling the difference between all the characters home lives. The colours used were dingy, dark and tired to make it look as though life is an endless struggle for the people. Sounding and music was used to reinforce aspects of the play, for example the projection of a street was emphasised by the use of the sounding of streets making it more realistic and easier for the audience to relate to.
The baby crying was heard through the walls of the other houses showing the cheapness of housing and that the houses were so close to each other. The music was mainly played at the ending during the last scene. It showed the characters with a last bit of hope trying to grab the attention of the audience pleading for help. It also changed the audiences view on the characters situation. Music was rarely used apart from when the characters used a radio to put music on and the style of music normally suited the atmosphere of the piece.
Costume: The costumes used were simple but also modern and in with the fashion to relate the play to the time that it is set in. Most of the costumes were dull colours reflecting the emotions of the characters and only two young girls differed from the rest showing that they were still quite naive of the situation and had hope for a good life. The women wore clothes that were tight fitting because this was all they had left to take pride in. Acting: Each character was from a house down the street and they were all represented by what the house was like and the rotating stage showed this.
The main character of the piece was scullery the narrator who lived on the street. Scullery narrated the play as though he was part and parcel of all the people’s lives. Scullery was always there when the characters were talking, either looking over a wall at them or talking to them. Scullery acted as though he was one of the audience giving us an inside view of everyone down his street. Scullery drew the characters and audience close together and made the characters aware that we were there. Although the narrator scullery helped to push the stage round reflecting his life also along the street.
As scullery didn’t have a home it was more interesting and eye catching to watch him because he ended up everywhere. Being homeless gave scullery the power to interact as closely as he did to the characters because he became initiated into all the characters lives. He was a quick thinker with an answer to all and a comment for everything asked. He spoke out to the audience rather than the characters giving the audience closeness and understanding towards the characters. Many of the actors played more than one character apart from scullery who remained the same the whole way through.
We saw many characters appear and we were given a quick and brief insight into their lives. This stopped the audience becoming to attached to one character. This is why scullery remained the same because he was the only character that the audience were intended to become attached to. The rotating stage helped keep the distance from the audience and characters because it revolved and made it as though time was moving on. Most characters at one point talked to a neighbour and friends because of the real life situation.
Because of the constant changing of setting it kept the audience interested and on the edge of their seats with suspense. The meeting of characters drew the audience close to the characters but not too close. This meant that the audience were still able to understand what was going on. The overall idea of the play was that the audience were not meant to become attached to certain characters because they wanted to show all types of people who live down a street and the idea of a rotating stage helped to develop this idea by keeping the play moving.