Hard to Swallow Drama Exam Evaluation

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‘Hard to Swallow’ is an adaptation of an award winning book (and film) “Catherine” which is written by Maureen Dunbar. The book is based upon her daughter’s battle with anorexia and her families struggle in coping and adapting their lifestyle to the illness. Although I knew the main symptoms and effects of anorexia well, the play helped me to see the illness in a different light. The characters in the play were easy to relate to as it was a typical family household, so it was easy for me to see the anorexia take its toll on (not just Catherine) but the whole family and saw how each character coped with the anorexia in different ways.
As we worked in groups to recreate the ‘Section 2: Christmas ’73 – The Dunbar Household’ scene, we decided
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Our performance was effective because of how clear and straight forward it was, even though it was mime. The audience where aware of the setting and it being around a dinner table due to the two chairs being opposite each other with a ‘table’ in the middle, the audience where aware of which characters were which as we characterised the roles very well. For example, Anna was very giggly and hyper, contrasting Catherine’s formal demeanour and John and Maureen were a typical married couple. We used physical theatre for the oven and the stairs, which was stylistic and different for the audience to see, this fit in with the overall style of the lay as most of the stage directions involve physical theatre as in ‘The Brussels Sprouts Scene’ “the whole of this scene is performed stylistically with people frantically changing roles, playing scenery, properties and characters”. The use of thought tracking helped the audience to figure out which character is which. The use of gestures was also used, Maureen slapped Anna’s hand instantly giving away her very paternal and motherly role as Maureen. Our scene was effective also because the crackers being pulled apart in itself is representing the family being pulled apart for many reasons not just the economy, but the toll Catherine’s anorexia takes on the whole Dunbar family in different ways. Looking at Bleu’s group I could definitely see how they marked the moment: the tempo

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