Offer a critical analysis of the themes explored in your group’s designated play/ performance. Support your answer with reference to illustrations from the text and relevant critical opinion. Mark Ravenhill is a modern playwright who although writes for an adult audience, also focuses on writing plays for teenagers. Ravenhill believes that young people should also be given the opportunity to relate to something that they might be experiencing.
In his opinion the teenage years are very critical in a young person’s life which is why he creates plays that could some way or another elp them to discover their identity and inspire them to find their inner self. The main focus of this essay will be to look at the play Totally Over You (2003), discover the aspects which make the play relevant to a teenage audience, how has this reflected on the language, the style and the themes of the play and finally to discuss the general decision which affected our group’s final performance of Totally Over You as a whole.
Totally Over You is the very first play that Ravenhill writes for his teenage audience, set in a school premises. His main focus throughout the play as to create the biggest possible impact on his spectators who are or who will perhaps experience love for the first time. He achieves his purpose through the innocence and the unstable emotions of the characters that he creates, illustrating their love relationships with their partners. Mark Ravenhill strongly believes that one of his most important rules for a playwright is to make a play interesting and exciting.
He also considers the fact that young people relate better to a play that contains a lot of comedy; this perhaps inspired him to create the comical dialogues and actions in Totally Over You. For example the naive representation of Kitty and her girly group makes them look pathetic rather than trendy, because their desire to date celebrities is Just a ridiculous fantasy “We’re going to date celebrities… Not boys, not children, not the kids we have to hang around with here, but proper, A-list, friends-of Elton-John- and- his partner David- Furnish celebrities. The language used in Ravenhill’s plays has been particularly chosen to challenge the young people and to make them understand how each character uses language while expressing an emotion, giving a speech or having a ollaborate conversation. The style of speech in Totally Over You does not always reflect the age group of the characters “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a very special new brand for you today. A brand for a multi-market environment. A brand with fantastic synergistic potential. the language used is quite complex for a 12 or 13 years old because Ravenhill’s intentions were to form it as a classical comedy; however the naive behavior of the characters reveals their vulnerability “Tantric sex? What’s that? ” this portrays that they are not familiar with some mature technical erms due to their inexperience in life. Ravenhill strongly encourages the actors to rehearse their lines constantly in order to have “… enough breaths to say them loud enough and fast enough and still make them sound light and easy… this suggests he is strict on the way the dialogue should be delivered in order for the message of the play to be correctly passed across the audience. reason being is that Ravenhill believes that teenagers have a better potential to appreciate the significant moments and can be impacted by the themes of the play hich is why he adds quite a few themes in order for the young audience to recognize them perhaps. One of the most common subject matter, not only in Ravenhill’s work, but also in other playwrights’ works is the theme of relationships and friendships.
In Totally Over You the audiences witness the first love’ relationships of the girls and the boys. There’s perhaps a strong sense of disappointment and betrayal, however Ravenhill manages to relieve the audience through the comic character of Victor. This technique has been frequently used in Shakespearean plays, while researching the history of Mark Ravenhill there are evidence that he was highly inspired by Shakespeare’s works. Another key theme in the play is leadership and peer pressure, this has been shown through the way Kitty takes on the role of the most intelligent one, “Why do we always listen to you Kit?
Why do we always do what you say? ” this suggests that Kitty urges the girls to leave their partners and later on experience the theme of regret. Lastly, the obsessive ambition of the girls to become celebrities is another issue which Ravenhill focuses upon; he perhaps uses this illustration to represent the fact hat young people nowadays have been deceived by propaganda and believe that if a person is rich and famous life would be much better “l know this is hard. But think of the rewards.
Think of waking up in this totally fantastic house, next to your totally buff boyfriend. ” this reveals that young people imagine celebrity life to be simple and easy. This view was probably empowered through the publicity of magazines which were also used as a reference in the play perhaps “New 0K out today. New Sugar… ” Totally Over You was our group’s designated play. The reason why we chose it was ecause it wasn’t very complex and it did not require a lot of special costumes or settings.
It was easy to find the needed props because they were ordinary objects that we use in our everyday lives. However, there were some changes that we agreed upon in order to slightly modernise it to a current standard, for example instead of using Oprah or Rikki referred to Jeremy Kyle’s Show. There weren’t any major changes however as a group we decided that the audience would be more familiar with the chosen alternatives. In addition to that although the cast size “… re intended to be about right for the average drama class… we felt that some of the actors did not have enough appearance in the play which is why we had to add an extra improvisation scene between Letitia and the drama class students. Furthermore, our characters seemed to be more mature than the Ravenhill’s original age group, which is why we also changed some of the offensive terminology in the play “l hate you Jake. F*** off… ” While studying Ravenhill’s style, however, I found out that he disapproves of his plays being changed, especially the language because “… e point is to expect the same thing from the teenagers as you do from professionals, an excellent production of the play as written. Occasionally I’ve used … “freak” or “freaking”, as in: “What the freak are you doing? ” But anything more felt wrong. ” this suggests that there was a reason behind his choice of words. Out of modernized. Conclusion Overall, Ravenhill’s works have always been very direct and controversial which is why they have been particularly successful and also extremely criticized by the public, however his “… playful charm and willingness to listen always disarm criticism.