And They Dance Real Slow In Jackson

1131 words - 5 pages

The play is set in a fictional town in Indiana called Jackson. It is centered on a girl's life from age five to age twenty-six named Elisabeth. This girl has a disability called cerebral palsy and is unable to move her legs, so she is confined to a wheelchair. The play shows the audience scenes from her life and those having to do with her life. These scenes include her consciousness, acted out by an ensemble of characters; other children's interactions with her and conversations about her; situations that her parents are faced with; and townspeople's thoughts and conversations about her plight.

The director's staging played an important part in clearly conveying the action. One obvious example of the directors input was the location of Elisabeth's bedroom at the top of the two story stage. This helped the audience understand her seclusion from the world and an inner solitude that grows with time. Most of the time that Elisabeth had to interact with other characters, she would have to yell down the stairs or out the window in a desperation effort to communicate with someone. The staging of the head moose upon directing his fellow moose counsel was brilliantly staged upstage front and seemed to be addressing the audience, making them feel like a part of the play. The consciousness ensemble was also well directed in their moans and hand motions as well as the lighting scheme, seeming to make it obvious that the scene was out of reality.

The director's apparent unifying metaphor was that a person who is bound to a wheel chair is like an invalid and shouldn't interact with "normal" children, shouldn't hold a normal job, and is somewhat similar to a ghost or the supernatural. Elisabeth is viewed by most adults in the play as more of a problem in life than a human being. The children by the river even come up with the idea that she can unscrew her legs and send them on missions of hate and destruction. The fact that the townspeople misconceive her condition only adds to the pain and suffering that she has known all of her life, not being able to perform physically.

The play achieved a good tempo and moved along from scene to scene well. There was no boredom in the audience to indicate otherwise. The mood of the play effectively changed from scene to scene well also. There was some intrigue felt by other children and townspeople, abandonment felt by Elisabeth, some farcical explanations of the girl and her situation, and also some helpfulness expressed by townspeople and her parents, as well as the over protection expressed by her mother. All of these moods in the play fit together nicely and helped achieve the purpose of the play.

Overall, the actors in the play did a good job. They meshed well with each other and were very audible and understandable. One of the stand-outs in the play was Amanda Sullivan. She played the role of Beth, Elisabeth's mother. She was physically a good mother figure. Her voice was...

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