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By John Townsend
Elements of a Drama
Plot Dramatic Genre Character Moral Values Themes Dialogue Literary Devices
Gulp and Gasp
This drama is about a greedy villain Lord Septic whose quest to get more wealth is assisted by his brainless side-kick, Crouch whose main duty includes groveling. They meet a maiden named Rose selling flowers at a railway station. A handsome and brave hero named Percy rescues Rose the damsel in distress and in doing so stumble upon his fortune that has been left for him by his late mother Lady Gatsby at the very same station.
People or animals in a play that are engaged in acting out the plot. Main characters : appear most in the play. Minor characters : play a role in the play but they are not main characters. Protagonist : leading character. Antagonist : character that is in conflict with the main character. µGulp and Gasp¶ is a play of four parts (characters).
A greedy villain in search for the Gatsby Gold. Cruel towards the poor. Inhumane ± ready to kill Rose by tying her up on the railway tracks. Deceptive ± only married his wife because she owns a gun factory. Arrogant and talks rudely to his assistant, Crouch.
Lord Septic¶s assistant. Grovels a lot just to please Lord Septic. Dim-witted which normally causes misunderstanding and him being scolded by Lord Septic. Harsh and rude when he forces Rose to leave the platform. Obedient and follow orders even as far as killing someone.
The maiden in distress. Used to work in a match factory but it was destroyed in a fire and she becomes blind. Responsible and independent - sells sprigs of heather to find money needed for her mother¶s pills. Lives in a room in the attic that is full of dry rot owned by Lord Septic. Cold and hungry.
A poor orphan who does not know that his mother was killed by Lord Septic¶s father. Very brave to retaliate against Lord Septic and Crouch. Heroic ± ready to perform a dangerous deed to save Rose. Quick thinking and conducts his plan swiftly.
A deserted railway station. The station is illuminated by a gas lamp. A Friday night. A cold and foggy night. The air is foul and filthy. A cold, dark and desolate atmosphere.
The Play ± scene 1
The train is late and Lord Septic and his assistant are restless and impatient. Lord Septic mentions his plans to take over all the railway stations along the King¶s Cross line. He wants to find the Gatsby Gold which is hidden somewhere in the station.
The Play ± scene 2
A blind flower seller arrives and Lord Septic wants Crouch to get rid of the girl. The flower girl is Rose and she is very poor. She has lost her sight in a fire. Crouch orders her to leave and throws her flowers across the platform.
The Play ± scene 3
Rose is crying and groping around for her flowers. A young man, Percy appears and helps Rose to look for her flowers. He is sad to hear of Rose¶s plight and sympathises with her. Percy is an orphan. His mother was killed on the same railway when he was a baby. He was found in the litter bin with a little purse tied around his neck. The purse contains a tiny key with the letter NSL on it.
The Play ± scene 4
When Crouch comes back, Percy grabs him by his collar for he is angry with Crouch for ill-treating Rose. He makes Crouch pick up all the flowers.
The Play ± scene 5
Lord Septic creeps from the shadows and hits Percy on the head with his stick and Percy slumps to the ground, unconscious. Rose is upset and confronts him with a tirade of accusations and threatens to expose him to the media. This angers Lord Septic and he orders Crouch to tie her to the railway tracks.
The Play ± scene 6
As Crouch is tying Rose to the railway tracks, Percy gets up in a daze. Lord Septic reveals that many years ago, his father carried out a similar deed. He had tied Lady Gatsby to the same track to frighten her into confessing where she had hidden the Gatsby Gold. Unfortunately, she had been killed by the on-coming train and Lord Septic himself had dumped the baby into the dustbin.
The Play ± scene 7
As the train approaches, Percy appears and overpowers Lord Septic and Crouch and ties them up with a chain. The train screeches to a halt. Percy rescues Rose and holds her in his arms.
The Play ± scene 8
Percy uses his bloodsoaked underwear to stop the train. He dabs his bleeding nose with his underwear. Percy climbs up the gas lamp at the far end of the station and put his pants over the lamp. It shines dark red and the train stops because the driver thinks it is a stop light.
The Play ± scene 9
Rose quickly told Percy what she has overheard about Lady Gatsby, the abandoned baby and the Gatsby fortune. They quickly go to the locker, open it with the tiny key and find a big bag of gold. Percy and Rose declare their love for each other.
The Play ± scene 10
The scene ends with the police coming up the tracks to arrest Lord Septic and Crouch.
- The End -
The meaning of the play that refers to its main idea. The theme of the play can be understood from several sources: It is stated clearly in the title. It could be understood through the dialogue as the plot unfolds. It may also be less obvious when the theme will only surface after some deliberation.
Themes in µGulp and Gasp¶
Greed o Lord Septic is so greedy that he is willing to kill people in order to achieve his goals to gain more wealth. o The evidence is when he orders Crouch to tie Rose up on the railway tracks when he threatens to tell the Evening News about Lord Septic. Oppression of the weak and poor. o The poor refers to Rose who was involved in a strike at the match factory that Lord Septic owns. The strike was triggered by the workers protest as they have not received their pay. A fire broke out and many of the poor were killed and Rose was blinded.
Themes in µGulp and Gasp¶
Heroism o Percy grabs Crouch by the collar to retaliate over his harsh treatment towards Rose and for throwing her flowers all over the platform. Struggle to survive. o Rose who is blind finds ways to survive by selling sprigs of heather. She struggles hard not just for herself but also to pay for her sick mother¶s pills.
We must not look down on the poor and the less privileged. o Lord Septic is an aristocrat that is arrogant in both his deeds and words. He easily call Crouch µYou fool!¶ and snaps at him with words like µShut up, you half-wit!¶ We must defend ourselves and the people that we care for in times of danger. o Percy manages to find ways to get the train to stop so that he could save Rose. He has managed to escape and comes back just to save Rose from her ill fate.
We must be quick thinking at all times. o Percy is quick thinking as the way he manages to stop a moving train by doing whatever he can. We must retain our dignity to gain respect from the people around us. o Crouch is Lord Septic¶s assistant and would go as far as killing a person just to please his master. He grovels all the time and by doing so puts himself to be very much to Lord Septic. As a result Lord Septic has no respect for Crouch who is actually a very loyal servant.
When reading a play, focus should be put on the words, phrases or lines that really make an impression. In µGulp and Gasp¶, most scene is full of humour and this is achieved by the use of :
Puns : a play on words that sounds the same but have several meanings and would create a certain degree of confusion. Example : Percy : What a rotter that man is! They¶ve just go on a strike on one of his factories. They all want a shorter wick. Rose : [laughing] I think you mean WEEK. They want a shorter working WEEK. Percy : No ± it¶s a candle factory.
Confused language : the use of different words in replace of the more appropriate words. Example : Lord Septic : It¶s just like the night many years ago. I stood right here as my father tied Lady Gatsby to the same track. She was the riches widow in town. He tricked her to meet him on this station one dark night. Crouch : Killer trains must runs in your family, sir! What Crouch should have said is µKiller veins¶ that means killing streak must have been hereditary. But instead he uses µkiller trains¶ because the killing happened in a train station and Lady Gatsby was run over by a train as would be Rose.
Tongue twisters : a phrase that is intended to be difficult to say, especially when repeated quickly and often. And it also sounds comical when the characters say their lines quickly. Example : µPercy¶s purse and purple pants popped these plotters and their pranks¶.
Dialogue and Action
Dialogue : refers to both the careful choice of words made by the playwright and also the articulation of the actors as the play is performed. There is no narration in a play so the dialogue that is delivered by the characters unfolds the plot, provides the exposition and defines the characters. Action : the determining factor of a playwright¶s success depends on his capability to bring the characters to life. The actors then have to assume the role and act it out so that what is said and done would seem to be real or close to reality.
Irony : a way of expression that suggests a different meaning of the word. Example : Rose : Yes, sir. Do buy a sprig of heather for a penny. It may bring you good luck. (Rose is blessed with good luck herself for selling it instead of buying it. Symbolism : the use of symbol to represent an idea. Example : Crouch : Because you¶ll own the biggest train set ever. (The train set is a symbol of an expensive toy that suggest that Lord Septic is like a little boy wanting a new toy)
Imagery : words used in the play that conjures an image or something. Example : Lord Septic : I¶ll go up my office to plot more plans. I¶ll get some ideas on being rich. Filthy rich. Thick, black and oily. That¶s how rich! I¶m going upstairs. (The image of slimy and thick black oil is conjured up to show how very rich he will be) Foreshadow : An event that happens in the play as a sign of future events. Example : Lord Septic trips over Crouch as he was telling him about digging up the tracks to look for the Gatsby gold. (This is the foreshadow that signals Lord Septic¶s demise in the near future)
This style of play is melodrama where protagonist is normally the victim of circumstances. In the end the good characters are rewarded and the bad characters are punished in a way that fits the crime they commit. It is like a pantomime by having over-the-top villains, much exaggeration and sprinkled with jokes. Much of the humor comes from puns or confused language. The audience is encourage to shout, cheer and boo so that the performance of the play is usually quite noisy. In the scripts, there are signs saying GULP, GASP, CHEER, BOO so when the play is performed, a banner is held up to allow the participation of the audience.
About The Playwright
John Townsend A writer of children¶s books and has written more than 100 books that includes both fiction and non-fiction. He used to be a teacher in a secondary school in which time he recognised teenage boys¶ reluctant to read and decided to nurture interest among them. He is now a specialist in designing reading materials for reluctant readers and µGulp and Gasp¶ (published in 2002) is one of the many. He is currently living in Suckley, Worchester in the UK. The literacy Trust (UK) includes him among their µAuthor Reading Champions¶.
~ The End ~
© 2010 by miss spellcaster aka Zati Helma Zainal
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