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Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo

2053 words - 9 pages

Live theatre has been an important method of entertainment, self-expression and storytelling for centuries and still plays an important part in modern society for the same reasons however not all performances will successfully entertain, express or tell their story. The first and one of the most vital features of a successful show is the performances of the actors. To assess the performance of an actor there are many aspects that one must consider, I believe the most important to be vocalisation, physicalisation and characterisation. I will be critiquing The Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo, the story of the lives and afterlives of the people and animals caught in the middle of a war torn ...view middle of the document...

It was quite disappointing to see the portrayal so let down by the poor use of vocalisation by Swindle however, that wasn’t the case for every character portrayed in The Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo. We saw quite an opposite performance in the characters portrayed by Amanda Phillips. Phillips first character was that of the Iraqi woman in the house raid. From the moment Phillips stepped on stage her voice was clear, loud and perfectly communicated even though she wasn’t speaking a single word of English. Phillips volume was the perfect level in her first scene as she played the character of the Iraqi woman. The volume and the tone in Phillip’s delivery was of the perfect level of heightened emotion to show the distress, confusion and fear that anyone would feel in a situation such as that house raid without being overdone as is easy to do when trying to convey a message that isn’t in one’s natural tongue some may begin to try too hard but Phillips was right on the mark. Her accent, tone and pronunciation of the Arabic text seemed to me almost natural and as if she could speak the language fluently, however to a fluent Arabic speaker the speech was a little difficult to understand as comprehension was quite difficult. Phillips’ second character of the Leper was incredibly captivating to watch. Phillips had the attention as soon as she entered the space just from her costume, but she did an incredible job in keeping you absorbed in the performance with her delivery of her lines, even though you had no idea what she was saying. The tone in Phillips’ voice was obviously something she’d focused heavily on and put quite a great deal of thought and effort into and it very much worked to her advantage. Phillips lowered her voice to what nearly would have been the bottom of her range to give an eerie and unnerving tone to the character which in conjunction her appearance which made viewers equally uncomfortable. The speech was slowed to match the movement of the character but also to show the age and physical ability of the leper. Swindle did little other than disappoint scene after scene and we struggled to believe anything he was saying because of the lack of commitment and in turn, was completely out staged by Phillips and in far smaller roles too. While the words weren’t recognisable in either of her characters, Phillips did an incredible job using her voice to convey the little she was given and presented a performance that showed exactly what her character was thinking and meaning without a single word of English and ended up being a huge highlight and a great addition to the show.
The next aspect of a performance that makes a good actor is their physicalisation. The single worst use of one’s body and physical presence while telling a story and communicating to an audience during a scene, was by Swindle in The Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo. I have never felt more shut out and disengaged from the performance of an actor than when I watched...

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