Humour. All cultures manifest humour, and many cultures use humour to deal with moments of discomfort. Can you think of examples from your life when this has happened? What is the intended effect? When is it appropriate? (consider context, relationships)
Monologue is text presented by a single speaker, often reflecting inner thoughts or addressing a listener who is not visible onstage. How can this device make a moment more powerful? What are the challenges of performing a scene alone?
Direct address. Characters speak directly to the audience, often in the first person. Can you think of examples of direct address in theatre, television or film? What do you think is achieved by choosing to have one or more characters acknowledge the audience?
Inherited Thinking. Our behaviour is strongly influenced by how we see ourselves, which in turn is influenced by how others see us. When you are put down, how does it affect the way you see yourself? What about when you are complimented? Can you think of instances in which your opinion of yourself is affected by something you’ve been told? How do you feel when criticism is inconsistent with how you see yourself?
Colloquialism. Have you seen theatre where the characters reflect the way you speak, think or act yourself? How does this differ from experiencing a performance in more formal language (e.g. Shakespeare, Beckett, Atwood)?
Performance. Which character in the play had the strongest impact on you? What vocal and physical characteristics distinguished this character? If an actor was depicting you onstage, what physical characteristics would they use?
Artistic Choices. The playwright uses strong language to convey character and social context. How did words like “Indian”, “dyke” and “faggot” influence your understanding of the characters and the situation? How would this story have been different without the use of strong language? Were you ever uncomfortable with the graphic elements (sex, violence, drugs)? How did this influence your experience and understanding of the story?
Audience. The actor breaks the fourth wall by interacting directly with the audience. How does this change your experience of the performance? What are the advantages of a sparse set design in this type of performance?
Sacredness. A concept usually associated with spirituality, but is also used to describe something highly valued and deserving of great respect. What do you value as sacred? Discuss as a group what things are considered sacred to different members of your community. How do we engage with things that are sacred to others, which have no meaning to us?
Family. Sometimes we think of the family unit as an entity in itself, but family is in fact a complex system of individuals interacting with each other in a series of interrelated dynamics. Consider how your relationship with one family member is different from another (e.g. grandparent vs sibling). Discuss how dynamics between two people change when a third person enters the scenario. What’s unique about your family’s dynamic?