The topic ‘Women in Crime’ was based on Ruth Ellis, Mary Bristow and Susan Poole who were involved in crime. To start off we looked at fact sheets on ‘Women in Prison’. It was disappointing to learn only 10% of Police Officers are female. We looked at an article on Ruth Ellis.
She was the last woman to be hanged in Britain after killing her lover David Blakely. In groups of five we showed the couple’s relationship. The first scene was showing David gambling. Ruth came in and kissed David but he replied “Not now, Ruth.
” David had no respect for Ruth. In this scene I was a waitress.I swung my hips to show my femininity. I mimed myself chewing and had a cheeky smile whenever I looked at David. David was more into the waitress than Ruth.
The second scene showed Ruth and David at a nightclub. Sixties music was on and soft lighting which built the atmosphere. Ruth sat alone, bored. David was gambling. In the middle of the nightclub were couples who were enjoying themselves.
Ruth was envious so she dragged David to the dancefloor. He became angry and started shouting. David slapped Ruth. The lights went red which represented power in David.
Their relationship was physical.In this scene I was a stage dancer entertaining people. I was enthusiastic and played my roles well. I wanted a speaking part so I could enliven the drama but I was voted out! During the argument we should have put ‘devil and angel’ in so the drama would have looked better. Afterwards we watched ‘Dance with a Stranger. ‘ I understood why Ruth murdered David. He was moody and turned to Ruth for sex.
He mentioned marriage but let her down. During the courtcase it was not mentioned that Ruth had taken antidepressants and alcohol before the murder. The criminal system was unjust.
Mary Bristow was brutally murdered by Peter Wood. We looked at the fact sheet on Mary. Peter drilled holes into Mary’s house to spy on her. Sickening! We worked in two large groups on Mary and Peter’s background. In the middle of the studio were two class members who played Mary and Peter. They asked each other questions and the large groups answered them using flashbacks.
Our group did a flashback on Mary’s past. She was a feminist and was in a rockband. In this scene I was the audience. I was drunk and couldn’t keep my balance.
I did the talking and the other members stayed silent.We got stuck at times, which was obvious. So then I improvised that Mary was a feminist. When Mary came on stage we, the audience just screamed. It was funny but it was a waste of time and no useful information was given. Our second flashback was about Peter at work. In this scene Peter got angry when paperclips fell on the floor! We hinted that Peter suffered from Schizophrenia. When he was nice he was Peter, when he was not, he was Simon.
It was quite difficult but Peter would say things like, “Simon doesn’t get bossed around! ” It looked weird at first but it was realistic.I was the boss and even I was scared of Peter. I talked to Peter in a politer way and did what he said. I walked with power in my stride but not around Peter. I think this scene was the best and I played my roles well. In the courtcase it seemed that Mary was being punished for Peter’s crime. Peter played the mitigation game and now unfortunately is a free man. Susan Poole and Frederick Scott were sent to prison after being charged for ‘killing’ their baby Dean and neglecting their other child Michael and leaving him ‘too emaciated to walk,’ (Guardian Newspaper).
Frederick Scott, Susan’s lover at the time is coming out of prison a year before Susan. When we worked on Ruth Ellis and Mary Bristow we did no individual work so we did in the work on Susan Poole. Before I started work in mime I hated it. It was difficult to put my point across. After learning all about Susan and her dreadful life, we decided to be Susan through mime. I got my own individual space and blocked everyone else out of the picture.
Our teacher set tasks whilst we were in role and we had to react to them. A few of the things she said were: Task: You are putting Dean to sleep the phone rings.I held the baby and I went over to the phone and answered it. When I was answering the phone call I rocked from side to side as I was putting the baby to sleep. Task: You still have not put Dean to bed. Michael is tugging on your leg, what are you going to do. I mimed that Michael wanted me to play with him. So I put Dean to bed and went over to play with Michael.
As more and more tasks cam up, I realised how hectic Susan’s life was. Susan was so depressed at the time, with no family or friends, a dead relationship and two children to look after on her own, I do not blame her for her actions. The case reduced me to tears.I feel that all the blame was on her shoulders and the equally culpable Frederick was in a way let off which was wrong. I think this was the most touching piece of drama that I have done.
When I read the articles on each of the ladies I wonder how they coped through the problems they had. I learnt, to understand drama you have to think deeper just like I did by miming Susan Poole’s life, I began to understand what she felt deep down. That was my favourite part of the drama work. I really enjoyed doing mime but there is still room for improvement. ‘Women in Crime’ was a strong topic and I enjoyed myself thoroughly.