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The Eight Moon Journey

Scene By Scene

Act One

Act Two

The Voyage Out
A Lone Aboriginal Australian
Loneliness of Men
An Audition
The Authorities Discuss the Merits of the Theatre
Harry and Duckling Go Rowing
The Women Learn Their Lines
Ralph Clark Tries to Kiss His Dear Wife’s Picture
John Wisehammer and Mary Brenham Exchange Words
The First Rehearsal

Visiting Hours
His Excellency Exhorts Ralph
Harry Brewer Sees the Dead
The Aborigine Muses on the Nature of Dreams
The Second Rehearsal
The Science of Hanging
The Meaning of Plays
Duckling Makes Vows/A Love Scene
The Question of Liz

The Science of Hanging

Intention: This is a powerful scene that illustrates the brutality of the life and death of the convicts and the reality of execution. To support this I would like to use some powerful images projected on to the screen – at least of period cartoons of hanging, but maybe something more graphic but care must be taken. A challenge in this scene is the inner debate Harry is having with the ghosts of his past. It will be important to communicate the fact that Harry’s ‘voices’ are internal and the other characters can’t hear. The scene is also important as the end of the scene Liz admits her innocence which leads to the later scene ‘This Question of Liz’.

Performance Outcome

The Science of HangingThis is an important scene in Liz’s redemption. Having found a moment at the end of Visiting Hours to show a sense of Liz being invited into the group, I want to continue this with this scene. Although we haven’t looked at the second rehearsal, it does end with Liz falling to the ground in defeat. Thus I want Leasa, playing Liz, to remain in that position for the beginning of this scene. Throughout the scene Liz looks out front, allowing the scene to take place around her. Only when she chooses to speak does this focus change and we need to see her take the decision to speak.

Ketch is the Gestic focal point for the scene – he conveys what the scene is about: the brutal nature of capital punishment. He is the reluctant executioner who has a sense of efficiency in carrying out his duties. He speaks of the horrors of a bad job and wants to ensure that he does a good job so that his victims don’t suffer. Graeme, playing Ketch, found some lovely moments of unnerving intimacy, speaking close to Liz so that Harry can’t hear and also a sort of belligerent exasperation with not being able to do his job properly when speaking to Harry, almost forgetting his place. This is interesting in distancing the audience from the emotion of Liz’s predicament.

Brendan also has a key role in the scene as Harry. The device of having us hear the voices of the dead which are clearly in his head and not being spoken aloud by Harry further fuels the sense of the victims of execution, whilst creating a V-Effekt: one actor speaking in three voices distances the audience. The difficulty I had was that, even though there are three actors in an empty stage, their positioning becomes crucial. The easiest way of ensuring the audience realise they can’t hear the other voices is to ensure they have their back to Brendan when he speaks in another voice. Taking this as our convention, it became difficult to make this happen. Thus Harry starts upstage left, upstage of Liz and Ketch, then moves to the downstage left corner, downstage of the other two. When he starts to leave he moves upstage right, again up from the other two, and then finally ends up at the downstage right corner. Here he screams and falls to the floor.

A tough scene for Brendan in that he has to really go for it in portraying Harry’s mental deterioration while the other characters have to be blissfully unaware. I think Brendan pulls it off well, doing with the text exactly what an actor should. Graeme and Leasa also really contribute to the effectiveness of the scene.


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