Tell it Like it Isnâ€™t atyp production February 2011
Teacher's Resource Kit atyp is exclusively devoted to young people. We are driven by the idea that the arts can inspire creative, courageous and confident young people wherever they are and whatever they want to be. We believe that the arts have the power to transform lives, enrich communities and ultimately impact upon the future of our nation. Our work is motivated by the need to improve access for all young Australians to share their stories and participate in the arts regardless of economic or geographical barriers. Our Vision: to be the leading Australian youth theatre company, inspiring and nurturing imagination, confidence and creativity in young people across the country. At the heart of our company lies collaboration between professional artists and young people. Working together we create inspiring theatre that engages with contemporary social issues and provides a space for young people to celebrate their creativity and Rise Up and Act! Above all, atyp inspires young people to make great theatre.
Introduction This Resource Kit has been designed as a classroom tool to assist with the preparation, evaluation and analysis of the Australian Theatre for Young People (atyp) production: Tell it Like it Isn’t. The notes and activities have been divided into three components: Before you see Tell it Like it Isn’t The Performance: Behind the scenes of Tell it Like it Isn’t After you see Tell it Like it Isn’t They are designed for students from Years 11-12, however some of the activities could be adapted for younger year groups. NSW BOS Syllabi have been used as a guide for this resource kit. It is recommended before using the recommended websites in this kit that teachers first visit the sites to assess suitability of content for your particular school setting. We hope you find these activities useful and that they enhance your creative arts experiences in the classroom. Heather Clark Education and Outreach Manager Australian Theatre for Young People
Table of Contents Before you see Tell it Like it Isn’t: Theatrical Form: Monologue Getting Started: Inspiration The Play: Director Notes In Rehearsal Theme: First Love The Performance: Behind the scenes of Tell it Like it Isn’t: The atyp creative team Interview with Co - Directors Interview with Designer Adrienn Lord Interviews with the cast Interviews with the writers Get Involved! After you see Tell it Like it Isn’t: Written Responses: First Impressions Design Elements The Elements of Drama Review After you see Tell it Like it Isn’t: Practical Responses: Stream of Consciousness Staging a Monologue Exploring Themes Pacing and Punctuation
Before you see Tell it Like it Isn’t
Theatrical Form: Monologue The monologue is a unique theatrical form that is used by playwrights as a means of revealing a character‟s innermost thoughts and feelings. Although the monologue generally stands alone without needing the surrounding context of a play, there are variations on the form. The dramatic monologue is a form associated with the poetry of Robert Browning and Alfred Tennyson in the 19th Century. The soliloquy is a form of monologue used within the context of a play and most famously employed by Shakespeare. More recently, the monologue has emerged in popular theatre in productions such as Eve Ensler‟s Vagina Monologues; Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Nora and Delia Ephron and Angela’s Kitchen by Paul Capsis.
BRAINSTORM: 1. A monologue is a means of revealing a character‟s innermost thoughts and feelings. Discuss what other forms of art, literature and music have the same purpose. You may talk about journals, songs on the radio, blogs etc. PRACTICAL TASK: Stream of consciousness (Part A) 1. Write or type continuously for 10-15 minutes on any topic of your choice. The point of this exercise is to write whatever is in your mind, with no concerns about grammar or punctuation. Even if you don‟t know what to write, write that. As one of the writers says, “Not everything you write will be gold.” 2. Reread your work, highlighting your favourite words, phrases and/or sentences. 3. Cut out the highlighted parts and rearrange them into a new piece. This can be abstract or with meaning. Paste the rearranged work on a fresh sheet of paper. REFLECTION: 1. What did you notice when you wrote out your own personal interior monologue? 2. When selecting your favourite parts, did the writing retain the essence of your interior thoughts and processes? 3. Keep this work for an activity after the performance.
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Getting started: Inspiration Where do you begin when starting a new writing project? In the Fresh Ink program, Lachlan Philpott offered stimuli to get the writers to think about what they connected to at the age of 17- songs, art, politics, stories about love.
The Play: Director’s Notes – Lachlan Philpott Almost all young actors who come to atyp will negotiate the complex needs of Drama for their HSC. Sustaining a solo performance for more than six minutes is tough especially when you have two or three markers sitting in front of you marking your work. Any Drama teacher will tell you the issues start much earlier. The first one is finding decent material - a monologue that hasn‟t been done to death but still works, a monologue which you can connect to as an actor which also ticks the markers‟ rubric. I have always felt that there is something odd about Australian teenagers spending hundreds of hours preparing a seven minute rendition of an ancient southern belle or a snooty English lord. In the absence of a strong range of other options, however what choice is there? This Fresh Ink project aims to address some of these issues. We have commissioned twelve emerging Australian writers to create real, relevant and challenging eight minute monologues about seventeen year olds to be performed by seventeen year olds. This project was at the heart of the Fresh Ink 18-26 program in 2010 which focussed a group of really talented emerging writers on creating a range of new writing and required them to constantly ask the question „what is the role of the writer?‟ As the director of this program I was encouraging them to look beyond the personal as a stimulus for their writing and instead examine the world around them to see where they could engage in others lives. The drive of the Fresh Ink program reflects a personal concern I
have about the need to re-engage writers as storytellers in contemporary culture. By this I mean that the written word has meant that in many circumstances nobody needs to listen to the story teller as they did in more traditional cultures and as a consequence the writer has become less important than the writing. The Fresh Ink program goes against many other writing programs by placing the writer at the centre of the program. For the HSC monologues project Fresh Ink writers: Jasper, Jo, Nakkiah, Phil, Tim and Zoe began by visiting schools in March 2010 to chat with HSC Drama students and teachers to get an idea of what was expected in the HSC . Each of the writers felt a strong desire to challenge a commonly voiced assumption from students which was that it was somehow not „acting‟ if the role they chose to portray in their HSC was somebody their age who was voicing an experience close to their own. I would suggest that this is closer to acting in the true sense. The process of developing the monologues has been driven by this aim and has been structured as a series of consultations, readings and drafts. I acknowledge and thank the writers for their perseverance and their mentors for nurturing. At our Fresh Ink National Studio in December 2010, writers from across Australia came together at Bundanon and their primary task was to produce a monologue to add to the pool of work created for this project. Some of these monologues are included in the performance you see and we are excited to include the work of Chris, Finn, Jess and Sarah. I hope that HSC students see a performance that offers a new way of seeing their HSC IP. This project has been complicated to realise. The balance between considered refining of new writing, working with emerging actors and creating the right show for the target audience has required careful thought. If experiencing the performance makes a difference to HSC Drama students, then the care has been worthwhile.
Classroom Activity DISCUSSION: Brainstorm what you connect with now, at your age. Create areas in the classroom – music, art, politics, stories about love, films, websites, facebook pages, youtube clips etc. Each student has a booklet of post-it notes that they can write on and stick to the area of discussion. Speaking is allowed in this activity. _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ PRACTICAL TASK: Students move to one particular area (i.e. music). It‟s not necessary to have equal numbers of students in each area. Each group then creates a still image to reflect the responses that have been written down. Each person in the group says a line (improvised) from the physical stance they‟re in. Each group shows their still image to the class silently, then a second time including their sentence. REFLECTION: Does everyone in the class connect with the same types of music, film etc? What surprised you in the still images? What did you connect with in the still images that you viewed? What are your expectations for Tell it Like it Isn’t? Think about the staging of 11 monologues, sound, lighting as well as some of the themes that may be explored.
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In Rehearsal: Our cast members rehearse two evenings a week. They are all under 26 and some of them are school students. Evening rehearsals allow our young actors to work and attend school during our season.
Have a look at the picture below of the cast in rehearsal: What do you think is happening in this scene?
PRACTICAL TASK: Recreate the moment from the picture, improvise what you think will happen next in the scene.
Theme: Love Tell it Like it Isn’t brings up issues of first love. It makes us ask questions such as: Why do we fall in love? What are the shades (e.g. dark aspects and light aspects) of love? How do we process the feelings associated with love? What is unique to a “first love” experience?
BRAINSTORM: As a class brainstorm the different types of love (e.g. unrequited, familial, romantic etc.) Discuss images, symbols and colours that you associate with these types of love. PRACTICAL TASK: The following activity is called Silent Conversation 1. Write each of these types of love and their associated symbols on separate pieces of butcher‟s paper. 2. Place each sheet of paper on different tables around the room. 3. Walk around the room silently, with your own pen or texta, write your own comments on each sheet. You may return to each sheet, comment on other people‟s comments or make suggestions yourselves. Leave at least 15 minutes for this activity. REFLECTION: 1. Read out loud the comments made on each sheet. Discuss some of the “silent conversations” that have arisen. 2. How have these “conversations” changed or expanded your ideas about the theme of love?
The Performance: Behind the Scenes of Tell it Like it Isn’t
Tell it Like it Isn’t atyp Creative Team: Artistic Director Co-Director Co-director Designer Production Mgr SX Design Costume Design Stage Manager LX Design Administrator
Fraser Corfield Lachlan Philpott Luke Kerridge Adrienn Lord Liam Kennedy Ekrem Mulayim Jasmine Christie Jonathon Ware Chris Page Drew De Mullich
Tell it Like it Isn’t atyp Cast At the Australian Theatre for Young People we make theatre by young people, for young people. Our cast members range from 16 to 26 years of age. Rosie Connolly Felix Dupuy Joshua Forward Laura Hopkinson Sophie Irvine Danny Kim Adam Marks Kyle McLeavy Gabrielle Nemeth-Taylor Patrick Richards Julia Rorke
17 22 21 17 18 21 19 18 19 18 16
Behind the scenes: Co-Director – Lachlan Philpott This is an unusual production in that you have been involved from the conception of the ideas right through to the production. What has that been like for you? It has been really exciting because it is an opportunity to explore collaboration in a number of ways; emerging writers collaborating with each other and mentors to make new text, emerging writers and actors collaborating together with a range of artists to realize the texts in performance which when brought to stage should create a meaningful project for the audience which has a purpose beyond entertainment. The name of the show, “Tell it Like it Isn’t” could provoke the audience to think that it’s a production that twists the truth, is that your intention? I did not choose the name! This sometimes happens in theatre companies. Our Artistic Director Fraser chose the name and we have thought about it a lot…how do you make a name like that work to represent a series of monologues which have no immediate relation except for the way they have been produced. I struggled with the name a lot but then I was on the treadmill at the gym and watching channel V and realized that this is what pop stars do. They sing songs with lyrics which do exactly that - tell it like it isn‟t. Some pop stars like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga sing lyrics that somehow perforate a cultural psyche: lyrics about love or anger or a silly facial expression and they tell it like it isn‟t. Only problem is, sometimes people think it‟s how it is. So we decided to explore this idea a bit in the play which accounts in some way for the musical content. How did you pull together such a wide range of different scripts? The writers used their own range of experience and a fair serve of imagination. We offered stimuli to get them to think about what they connected to at 17- songs, art, politics stories about love and first times. Many of the works were produced at the Fresh Ink National Writers studio. For the studio, each of the writers bring along a song and an object they connected to at 17 which they
could share with the group. This offered a starting point for some of the writers. How do you direct essentially quite individual pieces and give them a sense of cohesion? Luke and I have worked with the actors and creative artists to find links between the monologues. Some are thematic- the idea of light or love as an example, some are physical motifs running through the pieces such as AFL or driving, some are sounds connections identified by Ekrem sound designer]. A director‟s job is to find such links and then figure out how they can support the text and the way that actors realize it. Is there an overarching theme or direction to the pieces? That is probably different for each audience member and I would suggest that it should be that way. We all read theatre differently. It is one of the things that makes it exciting. What have been the challenges in directing 11 individual performances? Monologues can be challenging to direct because they are by nature quite artificial. People don‟t often speak their thoughts or narrate a story aloud and often we find ourselves asking questions like; “Who is she/he speaking to?” or “Why have they chosen to tell the audience that?” The rehearsals have been focussed on finding the mood of each piece and testing what works for the staging of it. Some work best with nobody on stage but the actor, others work better with the support of the ensemble or sound. Some rely on the actor emoting, others are best pulled right back. This process takes time. From a directorial view point too it is about balancing the needs of the actor, a tight rehearsal schedule, a small production budget and the need to serve the needs of the audience. Most important in this project (although all I have previously said is very important) is attempting to maintain the integrity of the words the writer wrote in the first place. How do you want the audience to respond to the work? Honestly. What advice would you give to aspiring young directors?
We need fearless directors who have genuine commitment to realising Australian plays. If that sounds like you- make sure you want to direct for the right reason- directors aren‟t dictators, they are leaders and they need to lead the collaboration and to do so, they need to get it. Try doing everything in the theatre at least once; learn how lights work, what a stage manager does, how to design and what it feels like to be directed as an actor. Write something and see how it feels to let go of it. I would also recommend immersing yourself in all types of arts- they bleed into each other and never forget the audience…they matter.
Co-Director – Luke Kerridge The name of the show, “Tell it Like it Isn’t” could provoke the audience to think that it’s a production that twists the truth, is that your intention? The show had been christened before I was involved, so it was a great invitation to link the name to the content of the monologues. Lachlan and I talked a lot about pop music – how some artists (think Katy Perry or Taylor Swift) sing about love and life in a way that reflects a fiction rather than the true experience. This has inspired some of the musical content in the show. I suppose I also link the name to the somewhat artificial nature of monologues – creating a context in which these characters can believably speak their private thoughts to the audience in an authentic way.
How did you pull together such a wide range of different scripts? Great consideration was given to which scripts would make up the show as we had a wide range of fantastic pieces to choose from, unfortunately too many to include! We wanted it to be a group consensus so we talked to the actors about their thoughts on each piece and involved the entire creative team in selecting the ones that best made up a show. We wanted to offer the audience a range of characters and situations whilst also creating a cohesive piece. How do you direct essentially quite individual pieces and give them a sense of cohesion? That has been the biggest challenge of creating this show. We worked with the themes that run through multiple pieces and expanded on some of these in the transitions and musical elements of the show. The challenge also informed how we went about creating the show. It was very important to Lachlan and I that it be a collaborative process; from our initial conceptual meetings, including the selection of the pieces, we involved the entire creative team. My feeling was always that a united team vision would help balance the inherent disparateness of a show comprised of monologues. I believe a rehearsal process is clearly visible in the final production so it was important to build a collaborative approach in from the outset. Is there an overarching theme or direction to the pieces? First Love. First Heartbreak. Shadow and light. Presence and absence. Speaking up. Speaking from the heart. What have been the challenges in directing 11 individual performances? Retaining the unique world of each piece whilst placing them in the context of the larger show. Determining when the rest of the ensemble can support the text and when the best way to support the writing is to leave it to just one performer. For the performer, a lot of imaginative work needs to be done to access the world of the character, as they don‟t have anyone else on stage to help him or her create it!
How do you want the audience to respond to the work? Honestly. Hopefully it‟s a fun experience that opens up some theatrical possibilities for their own work. What advice would you give to aspiring young directors? See as much theatre as you can. Study books, films, plays, art – any storytelling form – to develop an appreciation of the craft of storytelling. And then I would probably pass on some of the best advice I have been given – to „follow your pulse‟. Good theatre is born of good ideas and the idea should be one that gives you goose bumps when you think about it. And to begin. Not to wait for the perfect circumstances to create work but to start with what you have right now. A lot of learning will happen on the job!
Behind the Scenes: Set Designer – Adrienn Lord How do you initially approach the design for a production? The key to any design is the script. Everything comes from the words on the page. The challenge is that within a good script there are a billion stories and attempting to tell them all will inevitably end in a muddled mess of mixed messages. With that in mind, I always try to understand all the stories as best I can from as many viewpoints within the script. I try to see each moment from every character's point of view, and the view of the world around them, then how it all fits into our world, and finally, what I personally think. Once I have an understanding of the complexities, the visual response is completely instinctual, but not always easy to find. The only way forward is to experiment, experiment, experiment. More often than not, the most brilliant idea actually doesn‟t work when translated into a physical form, but seeing it is the only way to know why. The key is to find the very simple and potent good idea within it. How do you create a design for essentially quite individual pieces and give this production a sense of cohesion? My key for Tell it Like it Isn’t was to work to the commonalities, the experiences of youth and
love. The details of each specific monologue tells itself clearly, with little to no need for design support in a narrative sense. The main duty of this set is to provide an emotional context into which the pieces fit. As such, I have endeavoured to create a pocket of isolation in an urban environment, a place where a person can go to take a breath from the pressures of their lives and share an intimate moment. Co-director Luke Kerridge mentioned that the pieces explore the ideas of shadow and light. Have you incorporated that into your design and in what ways? I haven't. The idea of light and shade is expressed beautifully in the performance and lighting of the piece. To restate the theme in a physical sense would only distract from something wonderful. As such, the best thing I could do was to give it space to be explored by those whose crafts suit it best. What are the unique challenges in designing for this piece? Above all, the venue. The configuration of the space provides only a small amount of fully viewable performance space. Finding an area where all the ideas of the all of the pieces could be physically expressed took a lot of trial and error to resolve. What advice would you give to aspiring young designers? If you‟re curious; explore, learn and discover. If you‟re excited; do it right away. If you‟re scared; confront it, and it will always be easier than not. Above all, find your own answers. There are no truths in theatre, only honesties.
Cast Interviews: Rosie Connolly â€“ 17 years old Why did you audition for Tell it Like it Isnâ€™t? I was getting bored during the holidays and I really liked the idea of working monologues together to create a unified piece of theatre. I was also really interested to work with young writers and see what type of theatre was coming from them. How do you approach preparing a monologue? I like to start by reading the monologue and getting a sense of the world of the character. A monologue, for me, is a tiny moment in the whole life of a character so I think it's important to understand where they have come from and where they are going. I also like to learn my lines as quickly as possible because I find it easier to work and make choices if you don't have to work with a script in your hand. Because preparation for a monologue can be quite solitary, how have you worked with the other actors in the production? The whole process has been quite collaborative, with a lot of group discussion about all the monologues which is really useful. Also, the ensemble works to enhance the meaning and ideas of each piece as we perform, so it's almost like eleven short group scenes instead of eleven monologues. What are the differences between the preparation for a monologue and the preparation for a play with several characters? With a monologue, the entire shape of story takes place within one moment and within one person, so it's much more important to have a sense of the structure and where you're heading in a monologue. Plays are also much more focused on relationships and playing off other characters, where most monologues are either to the audience or to only one person, so it's a different type of relationship that you have to prepare. What techniques do you use to develop your own internal monologue? Trying to visualise the world around my character and how she would interact with the people and places within it. What are the most challenging aspects of this type of performance? Sustaining interest and focus throughout the entire piece because you have no one to play off or create ideas with - it all comes from you. What advice would you give to HSC students preparing a monologue for their IP? Choose a piece that really interests you but you don't completely understand or know how to play straight away - you're working on it for a year so you want something you'll be able to play with for that long.
Cast Interviews: Sophie Irvine – 18 years old Why did you audition for Tell it Like it Isn’t? I was looking to get experience and get back into stage stuff after high school. How do you approach preparing a monologue? Basically learning the monologue is the most important thing for me, it‟s tricky but once you have the monologue memorized, you have freedom to experiment and try new things that will eventually benefit your performance. Because preparation for a monologue can be quite solitary, how have you worked with the other actors in the production? One of the greatest things about this production is the fact that it‟s a ensemble piece, were all working together and its really lovely to have people with you on stage while you do your monologue and to have people to bounce ideas off. What are the differences between the preparation for a monologue and the preparation for a play with several characters? I suppose with the monologue there is a real importance of knowing your character and knowing the situation he/she is placed in, because the story only comes from you, it‟s essential you have a real feel for the character. And of course you HAVE to know your lines because there are no real prompts from other peoples dialogue. What techniques do you use to develop your own internal monologue? References and ideas from other media such as a song or a movie or a image always help me also constantly writing notes and ideas, it‟s important that you bring the character to life in your head as much as possible. What are the most challenging aspects of this type of performance? I suppose it‟s very high energy but this production has been extremely challenging in the best way possible, it pushes you be in tune with other performers but also work on your own method as an actor. What advice would you give to HSC students preparing a monologue for their IP? Probably pick a monologue that you really love, because doing anything you don‟t love for a long space of time can be extremely frustrating. Also, dedicate yourself. Practicing and getting your teacher‟s help, whenever they‟re available, will guarantee you will be satisfied by the end of the HSC. You do only have one shot at it. What advice would you give to young actors who would like a career in the arts? I‟m really not the person to be giving out advice but just gaining experience, practicing and experiencing all forms of your art will not only help you to perfect your craft but it will also give you the drive to pursue it.
Writer Interviews: Vanessa Bates – First Light How did you come up with the idea for your monologue? One of my relatives was nearly killed while rockfishing and told me about it. One of his friends was washed into the ocean but luckily survived. It was terrifying. I liked this story, the stakes, the sense of human survival and I wanted to juxtapose this with the idea of „first love‟ and the whole notion of being swept away by a force you couldn‟t control. What was the process involved in developing your character? It seemed clear the character would be male and it reminded me of young men I had known and their sometimes surprising capacity for deep emotional communication. I just tried to make this character true, make the character who survived the event the same character who had decided the time was right to admit he was in love. Both things take courage. What was the most challenging part of the process of scriptwriting? Making the deadline! Seeing all the brilliant monologues at the atyp National Studio and realising I would be amongst them. And there was some seriously great work done there. What advice would you give to aspiring scriptwriters? Read scripts. Practise writing. Watch plays. Make your deadlines. What has been the most rewarding aspect of collaborating with the actors and directors? Lachlan is fairly firm in his editing directions. “Too long. Cut it.” I think that‟s good.
Zoe Hogan - Principal How did you come up with the idea for your monologue? My monologue is inspired by the frustrations faced by a very particular age group – you‟re not a kid but you‟re not grown up, you‟re spoken to like a child, but you feel like an adult. What was the process involved in developing your character? I had a very clear image of a girl, sitting in a chair, raising her hand, then sending forth a tumult of words. Everything else followed from that image. What was the most challenging part of the process of scriptwriting? Sharing my first draft before I wanted to! Just letting it go. What advice would you give to aspiring scriptwriters? Write in your own voice – don‟t try and copy anybody else. What has been the most rewarding aspect of collaborating with the actors and directors?
Seeing what lines and ideas interest them – because it‟s never what I expect.
Jasper Marlowe - ACL How did you come up with the idea for your monologue? As a teenager I had a knee reconstruction. It was difficult but after a few months of physio I (hesitantly) went back to playing soccer. Amongst a team you never want to appear weak or fragile so the way you deal with that is by playing harder and sometimes more violently than everyone else. This solution to appearing vulnerable (especially amongst young men) was fascinating so I tried to create a character that dealt with that. What was the process involved in developing your character? I wanted the audience to sympathise with Damien but also be completely horrified. This required lots of re-drafting and culling of ideas that didn‟t contribute to him as an empathetic character. What was the most challenging part of the process of scriptwriting? Writing violence was hard. It‟s such a serious subject matter and I didn‟t want it to come across as contrived or sensational. I found by drawing on my own personal experiences was helpful in making it genuine and true. What advice would you give to aspiring scriptwriters? Read and write obsessively. What has been the most rewarding aspect of collaborating with the actors and directors? Witnessing how much an actor and director can bring to your words.
Chris Summers – Burnt How did you come up with the idea for your monologue? We were given the brief of writing a monologue about „first love‟ for someone of Year 12 age, and encouraged to think about „first love‟ as laterally as possible. I took the easy road and wrote about a high school romance! But I didn‟t want it to be as straightforward, or naturalistic, as just a character in a slowly souring relationship. So I started to think about how I could capture that sensational, all-consuming, uniquely adolescent magic that is „first love‟. And it came to me that a really exciting and theatrical way would be to take that love out of our recognisable world. I decided that my character‟s first love wouldn‟t be with someone he went to school with, or was friends with, or even really knew – my character was to fall in love with a monster. What was the process involved in developing your character? No matter how wonderful or terrible or fantastic or psychotic a character of mine is, they always have to have a grain of truth to which I can say: I understand you. That‟s my first step with any character – discovering how I relate to them and why they are important to me. I spent some time going back over teenage „romance‟ stuff I‟d
written (read: angsty poetry / LiveJournal entries), reconnecting and even reconciling with my scorned teenage self! I took out the bits that I wanted to use, and slowly began to flesh out the rest based on conversations and other people I knew. But really, this monologue isn‟t so much about a character as it is about a character feeling compelled to tell their story because of their experiences with other characters. I‟m deliberately vague about a lot of the character detail, because I want that detail to be filled by what they say, and do, in the narrative. I think that also presents some exciting potential for actors / audiences – they too can fill in the gaps, and decide who these characters are for themselves. What was the most challenging part of the process of scriptwriting? For this monologue, I think it was finding a balance between a recognisable, naturalistic world and the magical, more poetic, abstract world. In early drafts it probably tilted too far one way, but I think I managed to get it close to right for the final draft. Having a number of characters in the monologue was tricky too – I had to make sure that they weren‟t cluttering the piece and making it too difficult on the poor actor either! What has been the most rewarding aspect of collaborating with the actors and directors? We wrote the first drafts of the monologue at the atyp Fresh Ink camp up at Bundanon in December. It was really exciting knowing that, all week as we wrote, the actors were arriving to perform them for us on Friday night! They did a fantastic job with little to no rehearsal. It was great to have all of us writers and actors and directors sharing, and performing, the work together – collaboration is the heart of theatre. Although with that said, since then, it‟s really been out of our hands! It‟s going to be a lovely surprise seeing the monologue on opening night, because I haven‟t seen it since that very first reading in December.
Sarah Hope - Elissa Louisa Smith Loves William Cornelius Bennett Forever How did you come up with the idea for your monologue? One of the requirements for the National Studio was to bring along an object that other writers would find inspiring. During one of our group sessions we shared these objects with another writer and I was given a long stemmed pewter rose. I began to imagine different situations that would involve the pewter rose. I then became particularly interested in how a school girl might experience and respond to a romantic gesture in a public environment such as school. What was the process involved in developing your character? After the initial concept for the piece was put to paper it was important to consider what the rest of my character‟s world was like in order to develop her story. This required me to think about what the character‟s home life was like and how she interacted with others around her such as her brother and best friend. Developing the dynamics of her relationships had a major impact on the monologue and further development of the character. During master classes we were given activities that assisted us in gaining a thorough understanding of our characters. For example: we were asked to write a list of
locations that our characters would typically be found in and in a different list, locations that our characters were unlikely to be. It was then interesting to consider how our characters would react if they found themselves in a location from the second list. What was the most challenging part of the process of scriptwriting? I sometimes have trouble finding the confidence to write my ideas down. This is why support and advice from other writers is invaluable. During the development process initial ideas will often change and develop. I often find it a challenge to either take out chunks of the piece entirely or change something so that the action is different but the feel of the piece is kept the same. At the same time it is important to remember the differences between writing for stage and writing for other mediums such as literature. These are skills I am still developing. What has been the most rewarding aspect of collaborating with the actors and directors? Working with the actors and directors helped me reflect on the piece from a different perspective. The experience of seeing how an actor and director interpret the piece adds a new light on what works structurally and how the character may be perceived and considered for further development.
Jessica Bellamy – Little Love How did you come up with the idea for your monologue? All of what I write is inspired in some way by the work of W.B. Yeats – in this case, it was the poem “When You Are Old” which is referenced directly in the text. At atyp National Studio, we were asked to bring in a song that spoke to us when we were 16 years old. I brought in “Bound to Ramble” by the John Butler Trio. The lyrics about “walking blindly” really touched a chord, and set me off on a trajectory of wondering about blindness and love connecting. I was also fascinated by the idea of short, fleeting love being just as powerful and memorable as something lengthy or prolonged, hence the idea of “little love”. What was the process involved in developing your character? I enjoy writing the voices of teenage characters, particularly teenage boys. I thought about Adam‟s physical and inner self and let the words shape him as I went. Where the character really emerged was in the re-drafting. What was the most challenging part of the process of scriptwriting? Finding a compromise between the heightened poetry of some of Adam‟s insights, and the fact that he is in many other ways quite casual and colloquial in his speech and choice of subject. What advice would you give to aspiring scriptwriters? Read and see lots of plays. Eavesdrop on public transport and write down what you hear. Make a playlist for everything you write to help you through what can be a difficult process. Proudly declare yourself as a writer, because not only is it a very special thing to be, but by naming yourself in such a way, it forces you to actually do some writing so you‟re not a liar. What has been the most rewarding aspect of collaborating with the actors and directors?
Considered and insightful feedback from Lachlan Philpott, and beautiful staging ideas that I wouldn‟t have considered otherwise.
Finn O’Branagain – Pink Fireworks What was the process involved in developing your character? I thought about how I felt when I was in high school, and how my friends and I behaved. I thought about the teenagers I know today. And I kind of smooshed a person out of that! When I start, I often have a clear sense of the character‟s voice. The rest of the character flows from that. I guess we are what we say. What was the most challenging part of the process of scriptwriting? Deciding what to put in and what to leave out. Finding the most important bits that the story needs. What advice would you give to aspiring scriptwriters? Write every day. It doesn‟t matter what it is or if it is good, just keep your hands moving. One of the most liberating things that has been told to me is that „not everything you write will be gold‟. Allow yourself to practice. You don‟t have to show anyone your first draft! You will find the gold when you sift through it later. What has been the most rewarding aspect of collaborating with the actors and directors? Hearing the words aloud. Having the opportunity to feel them living outside of my own head. To see how other people hear them, and what they think. It‟s pretty special, and I feel very lucky to have been able to do this project.
Get Involved !
How do you audition for an atyp show? All atyp auditions are advertised on our website www.atyp.com.au and in our enewsletter. Once they are advertised call atyp to book an audition time 02 9270 2400. atyp‟s productions provide students with the opportunity to work alongside professional directors and creatives in staging a show, providing an opportunity for them to learn from people who are actively working in the industry.
Advice to aspiring young writers from our playwrights: Always think about the ‘truth’ in what you are writing. That doesn’t mean you should ‘write what you know’ – in fact, quite the opposite. It means that whether you are writing a naturalistic drama about dysfunctional dynasties or a futuristic farce set on Mars, you should always be able to find some kind of honest, personal connection to it. Never feel limited by what you know, but always feel grounded by what you feel.
Chris Summers – Burnt
Sarah Hope - Elissa Louisa Smith Loves William Cornelius Bennett Forever Have the courage to start. This might include research as well as writing. Once you begin, things will become clearer and your ideas will develop. I often have to remind myself that getting stuck while writing is a part of the development process. During these times it is important to ask the right questions of yourself, your character and your story. This requires experimenting with different processes in order to discover what works best for you and your individual approach to writing.
After you see Tell it Like it Isnâ€™t Written Responses
Initial reaction What was your initial reaction to the performance? What sticks out in your mind? ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________
Would you recommend the performance to a friend? Why / why not? ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________
Design Elements Costumes Describe the costumes. How was costume used to portray character? Was the use of costume successful? Why / why not? ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ Lighting Describe the lighting. How was lighting used to set the scene and define the space? Was the use of lighting successful? Why / why not? ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ Set Describe the set. Why do you think the designer created a playground for the set? Was this approach successful? Why / why not? ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ Sound and Music How was sound and music used to create atmosphere?
Identify a moment where the sound/music affected you as an audience member. ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________
The Elements of Drama: Comment on how the performance used the elements of drama: Tension: Where were the moments of tension in the overall performance? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Which moment held the most tension for you? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Recreate the tension in the moment as a tableau. Focus: Tell it Like it Isn’t is a collection of monologues with all actors on stage all the time. How did the director draw the audience's focus to the action he most wanted you to see? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Identify a moment that was really successful? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Space How did the actors use the stage space? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ How did the set reflect the theme of “first love”? What was the most interesting aspect of the use of space?
_____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Movement How was movement used to portray each character? How effective was the use of unified movement? Why? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Symbol Can you identify any symbols/motifs used in the production? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ What were the most successful symbols used? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Mood / Atmosphere Describe the mood of the piece. _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ What sort of feeling did you have at the end of each monologue? Did it change? Why/Why not? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________
Where were the high points in the performance? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ How did you feel at the end of the performance? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ What devices were used to create mood throughout the performance? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Draw a mood map of that shows the emotional journey of the overall show:
_____________________________________ _____________________________________ Identify 2 characters that stood out in your mind? Why were they so memorable? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Actor-Audience Relationship What was the role of the audience in the performance? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ How did the characters relate to the audience? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ The Co-Director, Lachlan, says that he wanted to create characters that Year 12 students could relate to. Did you identify with any of the characters? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Was this successful? Why/ Why not? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________
Character / Role The show has 11 actors. How did the cast portray character? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ How successful was this? _____________________________________ _____________________________________
Reviews: A review is an important part of theatre criticism. It gives an account of the production with the writer's opinion of the success of the performance. Become an atyp theatre critic! Use the scaffold below to write a review of Tell it Like it Isnâ€™t. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org We'll publish well written reviews on our website. How to write a review: Remember to: - Paint an accurate picture of the production for someone who has not been there - Give a personal opinion about the success of the performance You may wish to approach your review writing by following guidelines: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
State the details of the production, where, when, by who. A synopsis of the overarching plot of the monologues (without giving away the ending!!!) Background of the show, importance of the production (including the background of the scriptwriting process). Information about the style and genre of the piece. Analysis of the mood and atmosphere created by the cast/designers. Analysis of the choices of the director. Analysis of the performances of the actors. Analysis of set, costume, lighting and design aspects and how these relate to the themes of the show. Your personal opinion supported by examples to justify your opinion. Recommendation and / or overall rating.
Remember to make it concise and clear. Try to write your review in 300 words. We look forward to receiving your reviews!
After you see Tell it Like it Isn’t Practical Responses
PRACTICAL TASK Stream of consciousness (Part B) For this task you may use the work completed in the activity Stream of Consciousness (Part A) or you may like to start the process again starting with a stream of conscious response to the production Tell it Like it Isn’t. Take the pasted rearranged words and by adding words, sentences and/or phrases, give the piece meaning. You should end up with a new piece of writing.
Work in pairs and perform your piece for one another. REFLECTION: Give your partner feedback using the following questions: What worked? What could there have been more of? What if..... (give suggestions for the writing).
Staging a monologue There can be a tendency for actors, when performing monologues, to be restrained in movement. The following activity encourages students to bring movement into their piece and to take the focus from “acting” and add elements of surprise to the piece. Students may use the piece they‟ve written or a pre-written monologue.
BRAINSTORM: In class, come up with a list of things the actors must do during their monologue (e.g. repeat one action five times; stage a small accident; spontaneously sing at some point; look up for at least 10 seconds etc). List about ten different actions the actor must perform. Be imaginative. _________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________
PRACTICAL TASK: In pairs, students incorporate the elements in each of their monologues. Perform them for the class. REFLECTION: What happened to the performances when these elements were incorporated? _________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________
Exploring themes: Tell it Like it Isn’t explores the theme of “first love” from a range of different perspectives. Characters tell their stories, reflect on how they‟ve been changed by relationships and reveal their desires. In Little Love, by Jessica Bellamy, we see a character change his personal point of view. Think about what might cause a change in ideals and point of view.
Classroom Activity Read the following three quotes from Jessica Bellamy‟s Little Love. Adam: Bat eyes is a loser. Massively. Cares about work only, nothing else. We love to talk about her. Bat Eyes No Friends – half blind, half not... I stop walking. Surprised. Didn’t know tears could come out of bat eyes, especially Bat Eyes No Friends... She lets me follow her home, right into her room. It’s a rainbow. Velvet cushions, silk bedspread, curtains made of organza. Flowers – crisp and fresh and sweet.Tinkly things and water sounds. A chugging fan. A leather desk. Things to touch and smell and hear – everywhere. Bat Eyes and me. Short, and little. New Stars. New poems. But still, love. Read the passages as a class. PRACTICAL TASK: In small groups, create a series of four still pictures that represent Adam‟s shifting view of Bat Eyes. Try to reflect his transformation in a non-literal way.
REFLECTION: Referring to the quotes above and the monologue as a whole, why does Adam change his mind about Bat Eyes? Why is he surprised by the Bat Eyes‟ tears? The description of Bat Eyes‟ bedroom uses imagery that involves all of the senses. What effect does this have on the audience? Does this monologue change the way you view people who are different to yourself? Should it? Why/Why not? _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________
Pacing and punctuation: A number of the writers enjoyed hearing their written words come to life as they worked with the actors. In an actorâ€&#x;s tool kit, comes the ability to play with the written word and give voice to it. In a monologue with virtually no punctuation, like Boot by Joanna Erskine, the actor has licence to play and create different moods and meanings through vocal shifts. Read the following excerpt from Boot by Joanna Erskine. Read silently by yourself.
...and I have to say pull over pull over Julia and she ignores me says hey Mike want to know how fast I can go and he says whatever and Katie says just drop us home Julia and Zoe ways take the next left at that Shell but instead Julia floors it and Zoe and Katie are yelling stop it stop it but Julia just laughs again and goes faster and faster and faster and faster and starts to swerve left and right and left and right into the tree... PRACTICAL TASK: In small groups read the excerpt in a variety of ways: Change tempo (fast, slow, extremely slow/fast). Change tone (high, low). Play with options for punctuation. Add pauses. Make them as long as you can. Change how you say words (clearly articulated, drawling, syncopated). REFLECTION: Discuss how the changes in delivery of the lines affect the character.