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Bouncers essay

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BOUNCERS BOUNCERS John Godber’s play, ‘ BOUNCERS,’ was written and performed in the year 1977 and captures the generalised stereotypes of a group of Bouncers, Girls and ‘ Lagalads’ on a night out in the town. With only four members in the cast, Godber cleverly directs the performance to be comedic and easily understandable through the actors’ characterisation and clever use of lighting and set. The play takes you through a typical Friday night in town at a club called ‘ asylum,’ which creates a strong reference suggesting it is a place where all the ‘ crazy’ people go.

It begins with each of the four bouncers individually walking on stage with a solid posture as a Bouncer. Each one would then suddenly break out into a dance move; the first bouncer was able to ‘ lock and pop’ really well and as each one came out, the worse they got, immediately connecting with the audience as they found it hilarious. This is one of Godber’s techniques to keep the audience engaged at all times, as jokes are told that the audience understand and can relate to, ultimately making the performance more enjoyable for both the actors and audience.

The play then continues on to tell the story in episodes due to its episodic structure, about a group of four girls who are preparing for a night out. Godber’s use of clean transitions allowed the plot to unfold fluently; the only four objects on stage (four beer barrels), were collected by the actors whilst they spoke, and two actors collected a beer barrel each to be placed into the centre of the stage acting as chairs and then would continue on to the next scene, making it clear to the audience that there was a scene change by introducing the characters they were representing.

This is one of Godber’s techniques that was influenced by Bertolt Brecht, which is used to stop the audience thinking about what the characters are like and just concentrate on the performance. The lighting between transitions also indicated that there was a scene change, as it would either the whole stage would either be brightly lit or dimmer and more intimate, which is another influence of Brecht’s, as he would contrast and juxtaposition scenes. I found that by introducing the characters, the audience were able to enjoy he performance as they were constantly told who the actors were representing and didn’t get confused. However, I found that because the characterisation between each of the character’s they played was so different and you were able to differentiate between each one easily, the constant introductions were unnecessary. The acting style for all of the actors was very comedic throughout the play. This was portrayed extremely effectively, as their slick comedic timing between lines was fast and sharp making it very humorous.

The characterisation of each of the characters also added to the comedy, especially when they were representing the female characters, as their bodies were very relaxed and they used exaggerated feminine gestures. Additionally, their versatile use of vocals created even further humour, as they could be loud and raucous ‘ lagalads,’ contrasting to soft and gentle women and this created a lot of enjoyment for the audience, keeping them engaged throughout the whole play. Godber’s choice of a completely open setting worked effectively for this type of performance.

The entertainment in the play was purely created by actors themselves, and the set didn’t detract away from this but emphasised it. By being completely open, the audience are able to see the good quality of acting the actors could do as they didn’t have any support from any sort of set. The lighting however, set the scene as much as the actors, as the flashing and changing lights indicated that they were dancing in the club, whereas the solid flickering lights positioned on each actor clearly and effectively indicated that they were portraying a scene on a bus.

This scene was also clear due to the actors jiggering up and down and miming holding on to a handle bar above their heads. This effective scene was one of my personal highlights of the play as it was a very clever technique used by Godber and was clearly recognised. My other favourite scene was the hairdressers near the beginning, and particularly in that scene one of the actors using their hands and clicking their fingers behind someone’s another actors head representing a pair of scissors cutting someone’s hair. I found this extremely effective and easily recognisable.

I particularly liked the transition between the hairdressers scene into the barbers immediately after, as all of the actors simply stood up out of character and said ‘ Barber’s,’ indicating the scene change, and this was emphasised by the physicality dropping from the women into loud and scrambling men. I thoroughly enjoyed ‘ BOUNCERS’ due to it’s comedy style and the actor’s excellent acting. As it was very up to date with the choice ofmusicand clubbing scenes, I could engage with the play easily as it is what I am being brought up around in society today and this slowed me to enjoy it even further.

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