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The Eight Moon Journey

Scene By Scene

Act One

Act Two

Pre-Set
The Voyage Out
A Lone Aboriginal Australian
Punishment
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

Pre-Set
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
Backstage

Harry Brewer Sees the Dead

Intention: A tough scene for any actor but one to get your teeth into. The scene is set in Harry’s tent but, as the scene is short and the Aborigine scene follows that will require a fast change, I will indicate the space simply with a blanket, also there is no specific location indicated for ‘Duckling Makes Vows’ and so the same staging can be used for that scene also. The key here is to exaggerate the different ‘characters’ that the actor plays as well as Harry, ensuring that they are clearly different. This will emphasise his guilt and also the message behind the scene, that of the motives behind execution and whether revenge is a valid reason.

Rehearsal
Text
Performance Outcome

24/09/06

Harry Brewer Sees the DeadTo ensure Brendan could get a sense of a dialogue between Harry and the other imagined voices, I had Brendan direct two other actors in delivering the lines of Handy Baker and Thomas Barrett. Once this was done, Brendan sat on a chair concentrating upon delivering Harry’s lines while the actors sat behind him at either side and delivered the voices lines. Brendan could then get a sense a real hold on what Harry does during the scene. The next step was to add in the voices with Brendan doing this himself. Reflecting upon what the other actors had done. We focussed upon Brendan maintaining Harry from the neck down and simply changing facial and vocal expression. This process seemed to work really well for me. What could have been a tricky development became an organic process. I also noted how the way the text is written, alongside the method I used, helped to distance Brendan from the text and allowed him to demonstrate rather than become emotionally attached.

Duckling’s arrival becomes an interesting moment as Helen rushes on and then seems to realise it’s ‘just a dream’, while Brendan clings to her dress like a scared child. The scene ends with Brendan over Helen in a position that is simultaneously sexual and violent, emphasising Harry’s tipping over the edge into a void of guilt, jealousy and madness.

Brendan excels in this scene. We concentrated in rehearsal upon creating a different voice for Handy Baker and Thomas Barrett that were also different to Harry’s. This means that Brendan is in effect having to switch between three different voices in the scene. On occasion this has thrown Brendan a little. What works really well is the sudden movements and stillness – when speaking as a ‘ghost’, he is still, looking into the distance, unblinking, but when he reverts back to Harry he is all movement. The sudden switches create a really unsettling effect. The fact that Brendan switches so often also allows him to demonstrate the emotion rather than feel it, distanced as he is by thinking about which voice comes next.

 

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