On 29th January, 1979 Brenda Ann Spencer carried out a shooting spree at Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California. The school was across the street from Spencer’s house, from which she fired the shots. She used a rifle that she had recently been given for Christmas by her father. When Ann’s killing spree ended she was questioned whom she wanted to shoot, she said, “I like red and blue jackets”. When asked why, she shrugged and replied, “I don’t like Mondays.
This livens up the day. She also said, “I had no reason for it, and it was just a lot of fun”; “It was just like shooting ducks in a pond”‘ and the children looked like a herd of cows standing around; it was really easy pickings. ” At the time of the shootings, Brenda Ann Spencer was 16 years old. Many people were injured in the unfortunate event; Principal Burton Wragg and head custodian Mike Suchar were killed and eight children and a police officer sustained wounds. Our task was to create and perform monologues from the viewpoint of two characters that were badly affected by the tragic incident that occurred.
I chose to play the character of Brenda’s father while Sarah chose to play the role of the wife of the headmaster who lost his life on that day. We intentionally chose to play contrasting characters; Brenda’s father was quite close to her while the headmaster’s wife wasn’t yet she was severely affected by Brenda’s actions. The juxtaposing choice of characters aided us in portraying the meaning of the scene to the audience; that how one event could affect so many people.
The scene also illustrates how one event can ignite. Furthermore the scene exposes the reality of the fact that guns are given to immature children in America and what the consequences of such juvenile decisions lead too. Rehearsal When we were first introduced to the task, we were assigned in to pairs. We were then told to devise and develop our own individual monologues. Whilst we were in the process of creating our monologues we conversed about the different characters we could implement for this practical.
After we had both created out monologues we found it difficult to fabricate our ideas together at first as we had a lot of conflicting opinions as to how we wanted to perform the practical. For the first few lessons we worked alone as we both agreed it would be best if we worked on our characters by ourselves and then we would stem our ideas together later. During the rehearsals phase we both had a clear vision of what we wanted to do for this practical.
Although at first we weren’t very open in sharing ideas with each other, during the final few rehearsals we collaborated really well and cemented our ideas together. Initially we decided to that we would sit together; I would sit on the chair while Sarah would sit on the floor and perform that way. However we altered that and decided to use all of the performance space that we were given. This gave us an opportunity to experiment with different lightings as if we were both sitting in on spot we would have only been limited in using one colour wash for both of us.
But since we decided to disperse our positioning we could use different lighting. If we had been given more rehearsal time we would have experimented with the lighting further as we could have used different lighting for different moments in our monologues. Furthermore we didn’t get an opportunity to experiment with music; music could really have enhanced our performance further. I don’t think we would have needed costumes as our acting was realistic enough to make the audience believe who we were acting was us. Character
For the performance I played the character of Brenda’s father. At first I portrayed Brenda’s father as being composed about the whole incident. I did this by using a variety of drama devices such as using intentionally pauses, keeping my facial expressions fairly neutral. However at one point I revealed his more aggressive side when he talks about what should happen to her. I did this by raising the tone of my voice and using much more aggressive gestures. The contrast in moods shows that he couldn’t deal with what was going and loses control of himself.
In addition he soon regrets what he has just said and has an emotional breakdown. I acted the emotional breakdown by collapsing to the ground and using gestures such as grasping my hair. As me and Sarah intentionally chose to play the role of two very diverse character’s it made it easier for us to portray to the audience the meaning of the scene which was how people can feel have such miscellaneous emotions and reactions to one incident. The variety in character also helped us to portray how one event no matter how distant they are.
Sarah’s character is very sentimental, as she has lost her baby and her husband because of the event. To show her sorrow Sarah used a stuffed toy to show the significance of the unborn child. Throughout her monologue Sarah often grips the toy tighter and tighter to show the rage that is building up inside her for Brenda. At one point Sarah loses her cool and throws the toy to show her fury; this is parallel to the structure of my character as at the beginning he is very controlled then abruptly his thoughts trigger him to become violent.
For both of characterisations we decided to add an assortment of tones and facial expressions to suit the various parts in our monologues this aided us in making our characters more realistic. As a result of the characters being realistic we could sustain the tension and suspense during our performance which had a positive effect on the audience. Audience My main purpose for the audience was to captivate their interest throughout the entire monologue as the scene was fairly long. Consequently we had to add a lot of variety into the scene.
To make the scene more diverse we decided to add a range of postures varied how we acted out our scene e. g. not just sitting throughout the whole scene in one place. We also hoped that the audience would be emotionally captivated about our scene as we included a lot of metaphors and emotive language in our monologues.
In conclusion I think overall the audience enjoyed our performance. As actors we were also trying to entertain the audience whilst leaving the audience to ponder over the message that we were trying to reveal; that guns shouldn’t be given to children as they could ultimately lead to what Brenda did.
We also received positive comments from the audience as they thought that we had put in a lot of effort and work in to the practical. One particular response that I got from emerald was that she liked the way I started my Monologue with “Happy Birthday Brenda and also chose to end it that way which made my performance a clear structure. The audience also liked the atmosphere that I created when I dropped the diary.