In this workshop, we were put into groups and given a word. In our group, the word was “grief-stricken”. We had to devise a short piece using this word as our stimulus.
We started throwing about ideas and very quickly someone came up with the idea of penguins. “Mr. Grief, the penguin”. He would introduce himself and then we’d all do a little jig. Then after this, a gangster comes in and shoots someone, which makes us all upset or “grief-stricken”.
I wasn’t too sure about this idea so I spoke up. I thought the childishness of this performance would take away from the seriousness of the word. It almost felt like we weren’t taking people’s feelings seriously, because this was quite a sensitive subject. In the end, we came to a compromise.
We decided that we would keep the idea of the penguins and of “Mr. Grief”, but take out the dance and the gangster. We thought about the fact that there are different stages to grief and everyone deals with grief differently, so the fact we were all “Mr. Grief” meant we could interpret all these different ways. This performance would be aimed more at children, because it sugar coats the seriousness of the subject but I feel it also gets the message across nicely.
We started with a group of penguins. One was making jokes about another while the rest all laughed along. This was to show that the penguin who would later die is liked by all the other penguins. The penguin that was being joked about got upset and angry at the penguin, so kills him. The rest of the penguins all crowd round his body and body. One by one, we address the audience explaining simply how we have been affected by the grief, followed by the phrase “I am Mr. Grief.”