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The Birthday Party
1. How would you present the dialogue to create comic impact for the audience in the section from the beginning up to line 0?
Petey remains blank, monotone expression, worn down from years of her.Gaze out to the audience with dead sea eyes, becomes chilling/comic for audience (Brecht). She needs a squeaking irritating voice. OTT from her, almost pantomimical. Like a child, hops from foot to foot, “are they nice?”
“You got your paper?” could fold it over as she says, showing how pointless Q is.
“Nothing much” could open it out to show how he is irritated by her and also to show that a lot is written.
Petey could grimace as she talks like she pierces his ears.
Meg like a child exaggerated on “oh in winter” like she has just learnt something important. Ironic as she is old lady.
When darning she could be watching his face so closely for signs of changed expression that she darns her hand into the sock.
“Who Petey who?” could clasp her hands together with hands still in sock.
Meg schizophrenic � “I’d much rather have a little boy” � say with such aggression that Petey’s expression flickers. Also ref. to Stanley? She suddenly clever with power � “that’s right”.
. With reference to specific moments of dialogue and action, illustrate how you would present the character of Petey in performance.
Petey has been worn down by years of Meg. No backbone as he would have left? Petey needs blank expression and monotone voice to show how worn down he is. Grimace at her voice? Clever or not? Knows about light etc but surely would not have ended up with her? Seems quite responsible when on about two men. Weird � he to swaps power like Meg. Table = monotone, away from table = OK. Petey like a scared child � answers minimal as he feels uncomfortable yet makes effort. Body lang., at table monotone, real slow eating cornflakes. Turns paper like effort. When Stan comes down more effort yet fiddles, as if nervous. Irony as why old man nervous?
. Suggest a setting for the extract that would convey an appropriate atmosphere.
Givens table at front so Petey looks out to audience. Door left. Back door and window left (see sea). Kitchen hatch centre back. Kitchen door up right.
Meg has worn Petey down so it would seem appropriate for furniture to be how she wants it. Old couple, 50s, sop furniture 10’s? Big solid looking things, non matching, worn. Gaudy. Check curtains round window. Flowery coushions on
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