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Drama: Solo Structures: Shakespere Forgeries

To support Year 12 Drama

Stimulus

The Ireland Shakespeare forgeries were a cause célèbre in 1790s London, when author and engraver Samuel Ireland announced the discovery of a treasure-trove of Shakespearean manuscripts by his son William Henry Ireland. Among them were the manuscripts of four plays, two of them previously unknown. [source]


[source]

Character

Mr John Kemble or Mrs Sarah Siddons

Performance Focus

Create a solo performance based on the person of either Mr John Kemble or Mrs Sarah Siddons.

After the discovery that the play ‘Vortigern and Rowena’ is a forgery, an arrogant Mr Kemble or a pompous Mrs Siddons attends the cast party following the one and only performance at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in London, 1796. He/she boasts to those assembled of his/her long-held suspicions that the play was both a fake and a scam.

He/she does this by:

  • recreating moments from when he/she visited the Irelands’s home and witnessed the hysteria surrounding the unveiling of the documents found within the chest belonging to ‘Mr H’
  • creating examples of their favourite and least favourite moments of the play ‘Vortigern and Rowena’**
  • creating an example(s) of another fraud that has been perpetrated on an unsuspecting public over time.

**Students are not required to read the play ‘Vortigern and Rowena’ but should instead create scenes based on both the character and the synopsis outlined in Reference material.

Performance Style

Non-naturalistic with aspects of comedy of manners.

Convention

Heightened use of movement and language is the simultaneous use of poetic and stylised language and movement.

It includes exaggerated and rhythmic movement and gestures, combined with the choice and expression of words and phrases whose vowel and consonant sounds, and their cadence, enhance the dramatic statement. It is closely associated with figurative dramatic techniques such as imagery, symbol, metaphor and analogy. 

Dramatic Event

Rhythm is a regular pattern of sounds, words or actions. Performances can also have their own rhythm that can be in uenced by the emotional nature of the plot, the pace of line delivery, the pace of scene transitions, and the length of those scenes and the dialogue within them.