Beyond The Dead Essay, Research Paper
This play was the resounding voice of the dead. The direction of the play closely followed the original direction of the script. By that I mean that the unity of the play was contingent on the premise of the original writer. I believe that the director of this play was trying to uphold the message that Irwin Shaw first presented with this play. The play was directed very well. It seemed that it drove the intended message home well, which in this case I would consider an appreciative success. The view that I carried while watching this performance changed dramatically. Before the viewing, and during the first scenes, I was convinced that the plot was too dramatic. There has always been an enormous amount of sacrifice by soldiers during times of war. I thought this to be more of a degrading look at war, and it’s atrocities. I believe in the sacrifices of war, or at least I thought I did. The play convinced me that not always is sacrifice necessary, and often times the sacrifice goes unnoticed, or without proper revere for those giving up their lives. I would call the performance a sensitive, yet very real portrayal of the very large, yet mostly unseen, and unappreciated, losses of life.
The actors did a pretty good job. On simple terms, they all remembered their lines, and the specific movements required of them. I guess that I don’t know that for fact. If there was a mistake though, it was covered very well, which would indicate even better acting to me. The group of men that played the soldiers worked well together. They all seemed to be plagued by exactly the same symptoms. Of course they were all dead, but no one knows how to act dead-alive. Their individual acting of the symptoms was great, because in each we could see the same traits. They all swayed from side to side, or all kept a very somber, quiet look on their faces. Then they six were all further challenged by having to maintain these similarities, while at the same time displaying individual characteristics. The biggest part to all of the acting was the realness that all of the characters portrayed. The general is the best example of this. He was strong, and loud. The way he acted produced fear even in me. He was exactly the general I would picture or imagine if reading this performance to myself. The acting overall was strong.
I don’t know the scenery that was originally intended for this play, but I didn’t like the set that was used. I however did agree with the structure being plat formed. The use of height to represent power or authority was an excellent choice. It is very easy to distinguish who they were, and what status they held because of the platform. One thing we discussed in class was the use of plain fatigues by the director. I believe that this choice was excellent. It made clear that the brutally and horror of war could be felt by anyone an any army. The lighting in the play was great as well. There were two particular parts that I noticed specifically. The first was the mood the lights cast. The back lights were blue and orange in color, and I believe that they helped set the mood. The second way I noticed the lighting was in more specific ways. The blinds on the wall in the press woman’s office, or the leave cutout that were displayed through the larger covering lights to produce a leaf like effect on the floor and set. The spotlights on the individual soldiers when they were talking to their loved ones was also extremely creative. The way in which each soldier was totally lit, while the rest of the stage was dark had a profound effect. It gave more seriousness, or emphasis on their lines. The sound was vague. The gunshots sounded fake, and were difficult for the actors too act out correctly. Other than the gunshots though the sound seemed to fit in. I didn’t notice any other problems, so I would assume that it was sufficient.
The audience seemed to enjoy the performance I attended. The applause at the end of the show held out for a noticeable amount of time. During the production the audience seemed as captivated as I was by the plot. The message, and the realness that it can hold is overwhelming in this play. Relating to the story seems almost natural for anyone who has loved ones. I only noticed one problem with the audience. I sat near the late entrance. It was somewhat distracting to have people shuffling in during the first fifteen minutes. I know in the future that I will avoid this at all costs.
I think that the play was a success. The actors did an excellent job with lines and movement. The props were real enough. The director also seemed motivated by the topic. I think with the combination that was present, and the interest that the director seemed to have, you can only call this production a success. Here’s to the cast and crew of a moving play.