Over this term, we have been looking at different eras and plays of those eras, such as Restoration Comedies. One area that we haven’t looked at was melodramas, therefore, the aim of this session was to talk about melodramas and get into groups to devise our own.
A melodrama is a piece of theatre which is over exaggerated, with the characters being exaggerated with songs often included. The task we were set was to create our own melodrama based off a story that Lynn told us of the history of Bury St Edmunds. This was the story of Arundel Coke who did not have enough money, however, his brother in law, Edward Crisp, did. He believed that when Crisp died, his wife would inherit his fortunes. Therefore, he hired someone to kill him, this man was called Woodburn, he was to kill him when Coke led Crisp outside for a walk by the great churchyard during a party. Crisp was attacked and the two men ran away, believing he was dead, therefore, they ran away. However, Crisp later turned up on their doorstep heavily disfigured, but alive, leading to Coke’s and Woodburn’s arrest and execution in 1721.
After discovering a little background of Melodramas, we were placed into groups. I was partnered up with Beth, Leah, James and Josh.
we decided to create our own theme based a little on the story Lynn told us, the plot of our piece was:
A lord and lady are happily married (Josh and Beth), The lord has a twin brother (also playe by Josh), the twin is caught with one of the maids(Daytona/me) by the lady of the house Beth) who thinks her husband is cheating on her, she orders a hitman (James) with her friend whom she confides in regularly (Leah) to kill her husband. The hitman delivers a poisoned drink to the twin. The twin dies and the maid finds him in bed dead. The maid screams for help and the lady comes in to see what the matter is, she acts sad but is secretly happy, the lady’s confidant blames the maid and she is taken to prison. The hitman is dismissed and the pair think they have gotten away with it. A dinner party is held and the lord arrives, everyone is shocked after hearing the news of his death and he explains his twin brother was coming to stay. Piece finishes.
Overall I think our group worked really well together and I learned a lot about the structure of melodramas and how to create them plus what the include. I was also able to revise what a melodrama was.