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The play Blackrock by Nick Enright

This essay will thouroughly examine the performance of the play Blackrock, which was written by Nick Enright. The King Street Players will be assesed on their use of tension, symbol and the elements of mood within two selected scenes in the play. The play is about a small town named Blackrock. It looks at the relationships and trust of a group of residents within the area. It involves a teenage girl named Tracy Warner who gets raped and killed at a party on a beach. The residents of Blackrock then voice their feelings and try to cope with the death of one of their closest friends.

The scenes that will be analysed will be scene number seventeen, which is the scene where Tiffany gets doughnuts thrown at her by Ricko and scene number twenty-four, where Jared finds out that his mother has had her breast removed. Tension is an important part of a performance. It makes it more realistic and contributes to a more interesting play. The scene where Jared finds out about his mum having breast cancer really lacked tension and this was shown through a number of poorly thought out actions and decisions.

The stage consisted of two sections, an upper level, which was where the rock was, and a lower level, which was where the beach, Jareds room and other parts of the performance took place. The decision to have the stage split into two different sections was not effective. For example, when Jared and his mother Diane were in their last scene together, they were seperated. Jared was on the upper portion of the stage and Diane was on the lower portion of the stage, Enright intended this to be a very tense moment between a mother and her son.

Instead the tension of relationships was lost due to the fact that Jared did not touch her breast. It was later revealed that the reason for this was that the actor Kharlia Beck who played Diane was too young and so was exempt from being touched. Another dissapointing use of tension was in the scene where Tiffany gets doughnuts thrown at her by Ricko. When Tiffany gave the bag of doughnuts to Ricko he had to waste time opening it because it was in a blue plastic bag which was tied in a knot.

This destroyed the tension that this event was supposed to convey. A clear bag or a box would have been a better alternative because it would allow the audience to see the doughnuts. Also backround noise could be heard which made it difficult to here the lines that the actors were saying on stage. This contributed to the lack of tension throughout this scene. Symbol is intended to give a certain object or item meaning and emotion towards a character. This was not seen in the performance by the King Street Players.

In the doughnut scene the doughnuts were supposed to be a symbol of power and strength over Tiffany and they were meant to stain her emotionally and physically. Neither of these were achieved. Tiffany wore a white dress which symbolised her innocence. This was to be stained by the doughnuts when they were thrown at her. But the doughnuts werent full of jam as the book describes, they were just plain. This meant that the doughnuts just bounced off her and didnt leave a mark. This then gave the feeling that the incoherent behaviour from Ricko had not effected Tiffany emotionally at all.

The symbollic opportunities in this scene were not used effectively and this made the scene lose all meaning. In scene number twenty-four, where Jared touches his mums breast, the most meaningful symbol was the paintstripper. It was a powerful reminder of the way that Diane and the rest of the town felt about her, but this wasnt shown effectively. The paint stripper was in a small box and was kept away from the audiences view. This was a time to show the thought and emotion that the town still had for Tracy. As a result of this, all symbollic meaning was then lost.

The mood in the doughnut / confession scene was not adequate. A major factor that contributed to this was that while Ricko was confessing his deepest secrets to Jared, the lighting was not capturing this mood correctly. The stage was lit, so that light was on the lower part of the stage, as well as the rock. This diverted the audiences attention from Rickos confession to other irrelevant parts of the stage and ultimately destroyed the mood. A spotlight would have been a great way to focus the audiences attention to the confession.

Mood was not one of scene twenty-fours (the scene where Jared touches Dianes breast) strong points. A mood of guilt (due to Tracys death) was Enrights desired outcome for this scene, but this wasnt present. Instead, the notion of Diane losing Jared overpowered it. The needed mood was not evident in this scene and it showed in the performance. Overall, the King Street Players did not perfom the play Blackrock to its full potential. It was unbelievable and the elements of tension, symbol and mood were not used to create an effective performance.

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