In our first response task of the Slavetrade work we were asked to arrange ourselves into pairs (my partner was Dean Parmar). We then agreed that I were to be the slave master type character and Dean was to be the slave. Were told that we were to walk past one another from opposite sides of the stage, when doing this one of us was to look down on the other with disgust and anger (slave master) as a way of intimidating the other (slave), we were to do this in mime with no words spoken. As the slave master I decided that I would towards Dean in a slow formal manor with my back straight an my head raised upwards however when I reached the point of walking past him I almost glanced at him with a look of disgust as if he was worthless and then when he looked back at me for a mere moment, I simply stopped and glared at him, by doing this I was able to create an intimidation and fear within dean (‘s character). By pressing myself towards him I forced him to back down and fall to the floor, I continued with my disgusted look staring directly into his eyes and examining up and down his person.
As I slowly continued to stare at dean as he got up and ran away I made sure that I followed his movement so as to ensure that the fear installed within him continued and that I did not want him to turn and look at me again, however I remained gentleman like and formal in my stature and movement away from the scene by keeping my back straight and having slow steady paces.Following on from this stage of the Slavetrade work we had to develop our intimidation and fear factors. In order to do this we explore the different ways in which we could show aggression and fear through the use of not only our facial expressions but our physical expressions as well e.g.
use of pointing and cursing and anger amongst the facial tone whilst adding a small but effective use of speech. When it came to deploying this during the lesson myself and Dean worked together pointed out what the best way for each other to act out the task. I suggested to dean that in order to show how he was intimidated he should cower and make whimpering sounds and stutter the words “oooh” and “errr” which help to emphasise his fear and confusion at how and what to say to the dominant slave master, and Dean would suggest the best way to show to him that I was the superior character, we almost used this style of working as method acting finding out the best way to maximise our realism through the exploration of our own fears and weaknesses to intimidation and our own feelings of anger and resentment and how best to portray this as a character.In this same task where I was to develop myself as the slave master/gentleman, in order to do this myself and dean decided that I was use my physical presence as the dominating factor continuing to look down upon dean, as dean reacted to this and became scare I pointed directly and him as he cowardly looked away, I made a strong toned deep expression of “disgusting” as I looked upon him. Dean then proceeded to scurry off as fast as he could and I followed him with my eyes continuing to glare upon him but kept my body tall and straight, I did this in order to distinctly show that I was the superior being and that I was in charge, should dean have shown a lack of respect or not acted in the way he did (as a slave) then as a slave master I could have had him beaten or killed and so I had to continually show this domination throughout the task and not just when in interaction with Dean.
As he scurried off dean apologised profusely and in my character response to this I simply laughed, I did this to show that the slaves words meant nothing to me and as if to show that he did not deserve the right to apologise and speak to me, this created the humiliation factor within Deans character because we were to imagine that this was in the middle of a busy London street and so hundreds of people were around us at the time. I feel that by using my physical presence over dean it was clear to the audience who was in charge and I feel that the collaboration of what would affect each other in a personal level created the realism to the task.Within the next section of the response tasks we were to work in a group of three, myself and dean stayed together and we added Glenn Jenkins to the group. In this task we were to show how the bullying of a slave were to be unpleasant on both parts of the situation, both with the slave and how he felt and with the superior characters and how they went about it. We had a prop in this task, one chair and we decided that Glenn would play as the slave in the first part of this new task. I was to continue acting as the salve master type character.
Dean and I were to surround Glenn as he sat on the chair and begin circling him using basic skills to intimidate and scare him. We did this by making disgusted expression on our face by grimacing and frowning, by gritting our teeth and pointing at him moving closer and further away in simultaneous actions and ultimately by laughing at him making Glenn feel small and worthless, we continued with the idea of using our own experiences and relaying the feelings into our acting and so we collaborated with each other before hand to see how best to scare Glenn as we were to develop the ways in which we to do this and so this is how we came up with the idea of creating the encroached atmosphere when we moved close to him and then created the dizzy unpleasant atmosphere as we continued to move in and out whilst circling him. In response to this Glenn began to cower and began shaking, he did not look us in the eye but instead turned his head in eh opposite direction which also showed the interaction between the two sets of characters.To develop this we added power speech and stronger expressions, we began pointing at him making our arms and hands be right up in his face and by doing this Glenn told us that he became self conscious and was acting as though he didn’t want to be there, I began to shout abuse at him calling him “worthless”, “disgusting” and “vile” and Dean began to follow up on this by emphasising the words that I was saying and from the discussions within our group after the task Glenn said that he felt extremely intimidated and at one point said that he really felt that the way we were acting was our true feelings towards him and this was highlighted as we began to crescendo our abuse of the word “vile” towards him and he began to put his hands over his face and ears because he himself didn’t want to take that kind of bullying and began to feel embarrassed at the situation he was in and that the other members in the group could see him this showed how he felt without him having to portray his facial tone and expression to the audience from the back of the stage.In the final section of the response tasks we had to work as a whole group and we elaborated on the previous task continuing with the circle with the slave in the centre. In this task we were to further develop our ideas of insult, fear, expression, tone, anger and speech as well as our physical presence over the slave. We also had to develop the realism, whereas in the previous two tasks of the development we achieved a quality of acting and performed the characterisation well the interaction was not totally complete and it didn’t have the dramatic or emotional effect of what slaves had to suffer during the Slavetrade era. The slave had to act as if he was boy amongst men and was at breaking point both emotionally and physically and for this he had to look very solemn and upset and would have to have put themselves in the era when black slaves were bullied because they simply were not seen as equal to those superior to them and so it had to be performed as a professional and serious piece of drama.
In order to make our reactions and feelings realistic we would have to improvise to the situation but improvising within our characters and reacting in a way that they would have reacted in. Within this circle we were to continue circling moving closer towards the slave when making individual remarks of disgust towards him and to develop this we had to think of the ultimate way to intimidate and scare the slave, we decided to elaborate on myself, dean and glens groups idea of chanting certain words and a member of the group came up with the idea of chanting “dirty scum . . .
good for nothing”, I suggested that in order to make this really powerful we emphasised the words “scum” and “nothing”. We used the feedback from those in the group that had played slaves in the previous tasks as to how this could be emphasised well and they suggested that we build the chant up in a crescendo from quieter to louder. This helped to develop our knowledge of the effect of sound and speech within our acting skills.Chris Freeman was the chosen slave and we started the chant and the circling of him from far out and agreed as a group that the best way to intimidate would be to slowly close in on him as we chanted, Chris reacted to this closing in by himself spinning and looking at the various faces all of which used the grimacing and the teeth gritting to show the anger and hate and so he himself was bombarded by the depth to which the verbal attack was having and how much it was emphasised and made worse by the physical presence, he showed his fear by slowly crawling up into a ball as we encroached him and began pushing him about and forcing him to the floor and we decided that from an audience point of view we could only see small picture type shots through the superior bodies of his terror and he closed his eyes and held his hands over his ears to show this. We as a group were then stuck as to how a powerful end to this piece of drama could be done and so were forced to halt this particular drill. We agreed that we would continue with all of the above but that when Chris was completely surrounded and forced to the floor and our chanting was at the height of its loudness he would put one hand on his back ( as he was facing the ground at this point).
This was to be used as a signal the rest of us in the group that we were to immediately stop the chanting and turn around slowly in silence and walk away leaving Chris alone in the middle upset and feeling completely worthless just as slaves would have felt hundreds of years ago when such mobs attacks took place.