Task 3a: Practical Skills & Problem Solving, Exploring / Creating / Blocking, Directing Shopping and F**king

This morning I started by helping direct shopping and f**king. As I have never directed anything before I thought I would put myself forward for this responsibility, to develop my skills in this area of performance. The extract from shopping and F**king was originally part of my presentation and it got assigned to Sian and Hannah who know little about the play. I thought I would be the appropriate person to direct the piece as I know lots about the play and the action of the play. Shopping and F**king is a 1996 play by Mark Ravenhill. It has sexually violent content which includes rape and drug use. I was drawn in by the play’s black humour and have always been interested in being involved with this play. Black humor is a comedy that surrounds a topic that is less then light, for example in this play Robbie who gives away most of the ecstasy he is meant to be selling, for free because he finds the guys attractive in the club. This is funny because Robbie is an idiot but drug dealing and the violence in this play is not funny. On the website Dictionary.com it says Black Humor is ‘a form of humor thatregards human suffering as absurd rather than pitiable, or that considers humanexistence as ironic and pointless but somehow comic.’ This definition backs my understanding of Black Humor.

The extract from the play is

Originally Hannah’s character Robbie is male but we decided to make Robbie Female. This was not a decision based on Robbie not being a good drug dealer so perhaps a girl would play this better; I believe a drug dealer can be either male or female. It was a simple decision made by Hannah that she would prefer Robbie to be female, and we need a piece for . Sian who plays LuLu is having an argument with Robbie as Robbie who is helping Lulu by selling Ecstasy but she doesn’t sell any and gives them all away. Obviously when Lulu finds out Robbie has gave all the Ecstasy away Lulu is furious! The original scene is set in A&E but we have decided to make Lulu a waitress at the club ‘Saints and Sinners’ and Robbie has come in to tell Lulu the news! I get a feeling the Black humour comes through in this scene as Robbie just doesn’t seem to care, as a director I decided to make the choice that Robbie has taken some of the ecstasy and is still in love with the world. This session was mainly working on the anger that Lulu has when Robbie is telling her what she has just done and helping Hannah create a character this slightly ditsy and stupid fool. As I imagine Robbie to still be high on the drugs I was trying to get Hannah to move a lot more than she would normally, trying to find character traits which meant she would develop a character that was completely different to her. I told her to not stand still and to chew the side of her mouth.

From my research I found this out about people who use Ecstasy:

If Hannah’s character is going to go on this journey from being on a high to going onto a comedown after being beaten up at the club and then entering the other club ‘Saints and Sinners’ to tell her friend what an idiot she has been we need to believe the journey. Robbie will enter from the main door as if she has just entered the club, she will pull Lulu to one side and explain the story, she first starts to explain how she gave away all the ecstasy and I believe she did this because she was feeling love and affection towards her surrounding from the website TalktoFrank.com I found out that one effect from the drug is ‘Users often develop temporary feelings of love and affection for the people they’re with and for the strangers around them.’ this is probably the reason Robbie gave away all the ecstasy in the first place. But once Robbie was attack by a man in the club we need to feel the effects on a comedown, on the website DrugWise I understand that a comedown is a term for Flu, a Hangover and days of feeling sad and low. ‘Ecstasy also affects levels of feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin. In a comedown these chemicals fall to levels that can make the user feel anxious, depressed, paranoid, tired and experience dizzy spells. These effects typically last around three days, reaching their peak in the last day.’ I feel like the moment Robbie is attacked she old start to snap out of the loving feeling from the ecstasy and start feeling the symptoms that I read about of DrugWise. On her way to ‘Saints and Sinners’ she would start to realise what a fool she had been and start feeling even worse.

Everything I have researched I am trying to include in my directing and help Hannah create a character who the audience will believe. Here is the result so far.


No Author (No Date) Available from: http://www.talktofrank.com/drug/ecstasy(access date: 19/04/17)

No Author (2017) Available from: http://www.drugwise.org.uk/comedown/(access date: 19/04/17)


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