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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

Harry and Duckling Go Rowing

Intention: This is quite a long scene with a definite flavour of naturalism to it. There are definite shifts in the sub-text and emotions of these characters. However, the style of our production ought not be leaving the audience wondering at the sub-text of the scene, so I intend for us to bring those shifts more apparently to the surface. I like the idea of something physical happening – an early idea was to have the characters ignore the ‘reality’ of a boat and, as passions rise, one or the other leaps to the other side of the boat and almost physically over powers the other. Another idea I liked, but completely unachievable for anyone other than the strongest, fittest physical theatre group was to have the boat as a king of framework that the two actors sit in. The rest of the cast then form a ‘sea’ around them and, as passions rise, they lift the boat and actors and throw them around as if buffeted by waves – a kind of emotional storm that settles down at the end of the scene. I will experiment with making the scene mostly naturalistic, with maybe some movement by the two actors that could not be achieved in a ‘real’ boat. Around the group pairs of actors from the rest of the cast will make frozen physical embodiments of the inner feelings of Harry and Duckling within the scene. The intention would be to show the difficulty of having a loving relationship between jailer and prisoner, thus avoiding being a simply an exercise in illustrating the emotion of the scene. One concern of mine is breaking one of my conventions. Inside the rope is the action of the play, outside is the mechanisms of the play. I am not sure where this fits and I will have pairs of actors within the rope, thus in the ‘action’. Maybe I’m analysing too much because if something works, just do it.

Performance Outcome

Today we worked upon this scene focussing purely upon Duckling and Harry. We will add in the extra V-Effekt elements at a later rehearsal and see how that works. The scene works on a narrative level in terms of telling us a little of how the colony is developing and some of the background of the relationship between Duckling and Harry. I’ve set it simply with six boxes creating the boat. There will be oars to create a sense of the boat. We also discovered that it is useful for Brendan to continue to row during the scene as a means of conveying tension between the characters and within Harry.

We start the scene with Duckling facing away from Harry looking down and Harry looking at her. An interesting idea to come out of the rehearsal was that we end the scene in the exact same position, highlighting the cyclical nature of the scene: their relationship is exactly the same at the end of the scene, Harry seeking to control Duckling due to his jealousy and insecurity, regardless of the concessions he makes during the scene.  We also explored the idea that the boat is a claustrophobic space, a small area on water, and so Harry’s almost violent anger becomes more threatening. Yet we also developed a sense of the space between them, even when Duckling uses her sexuality to tame Harry – it is not intimate. The only time they touch is when she crosses to him to quickly kiss him. This is an idea we can explore further in the other scenes with these two characters.

I really like this scene. Brendan and Helen really cracked it I think. The most contentious element would be the adding of the other actors as a physical representation of the shifts in their relationship.  As director you should work with a rhythm of three – if you try something different you ought to do it three times to ensure the audience grasp it and it doesn’t seem odd. I decided that I liked it and wanted to keep it in even if there wasn’t, strictly speaking, another two moments in the play that serve the same function. There could have been other scenes – the Ralph scenes, ‘A Love Scene’, the other Harry and Duckling scenes, where it could have been done. However, there are other physical theatre moments – the reaching for the light, the transitions involving the Aborigine – that allows me to argue that there is, on at least one level, a rhythm of three or more. Plus, the point was to create a V-Effekt to stop the emotional engagement by the audience – this works; the question is whether the audience would prefer to be emotionally engaged.


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