Posted by Sarah
Our first (yes, there may be more….) read-through of a play from the Templeman Library’s Special Collections (http://www.kent.ac.uk/library/specialcollections/) was challenging logistically, but very enjoyable as well as illuminating regarding the nature of melodrama.
Discussion was brief due to time constraints so do log in to comment or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org to add your thoughts.
We mostly focused on the plot: the suffering, tragedy and several deaths. It was noted that within this coincidence played an important, and less than credible, part. This linked A Girl’s Cross Roads very strongly with other melodramas we have studied. (And, it was thought, to Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey.) In addition, the comic sub-plot of the play was mentioned. This too was connected to other melodramas we have seen and caused us to again wonder if such a switch is tone is needed to make the melodrama seem even more melodramatic.
The play’s characters were also commented on. We were impressed that the comic characters were still funny today, and that the villains had a real air of menace which made their actions more believable.
There were other very powerful moments. The fact that a delirious Barbara turned to the audience at the end, including them in her drink-fuelled hallucination of people watching her, was found to be particularly striking.
Thanks go to everyone who took part so enthusiastically. Special mention goes to Helen Brooks for so wonderfully playing Barbara – the play’s most demanding role. And many thanks, of course, to Jane for organising the event: supplying copies of the script, recording equipment and other provisions!
Do visit our additional blog: http://melodramaresearchgroupextra.wordpress.com for more information.