Childhood

When I first saw the baby suit. The class had just previously had some discussions over the whole idea of childhood and what it means to certain types of people. We did the discussions in a number of ways. First of all we did this with the teacher explaining to us his views on the whole idea and the reality of it. He talked to us about 3 main things in a child’s life; these were playing, no responsibilities and dependency on others around you. He just gave us those 3 ideas and told us to think to ourselves. I did this and it got me thinking. What I was thinking was which idea represented a child the most.

Which ever one this was; I felt it would have to be included in future drama role plays, which I would eventually have to put together and the same idea would have to be put forward in countless group discussions. Following on to this, as a class we each were handed a piece of paper. The paper was for a little group exercise. The exercise involved each of us writing what we thought was the most important thing about childhood. Once done the teacher went round the whole class and asked everyone to say what they had written out loud. Mine was the idea which stuck with me the most which the teacher had previously said.

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This idea was Dependency on others. Several people had different ideas but it was interesting to know that they all revolved on the same 3 ideas we had discussed as a class before. I have to say this was very helpful and interesting. It showed how a lot of people have the same perception of childhood. The baby suit was based around the symbol of before and after birth. There were 2 very contrasting ideas which it gave me and symbolized. It could have been to parents before the baby is born a very joyful symbol. One which was full of eagerness, expectations and happiness to the parents of the baby.

But after birth it would turn into a symbol of annoyance, absolute stress and anger. The baby keeping parents up all night, wetting the bed etc… The other idea was the other way round basically. Before birth the suit being a symbol to the awaiting parents of humiliation, stress, conflict. Imagine an idea if a teenager got pregnant and she was still at school and couldn’t look after the baby, didn’t have the money etc… But after the birth becomes a symbol of appreciation, joy, and happiness. Imagine the parent realizes how wrong she was about the whole idea and how she loved the child and the joy it brought to her life and others.

So to me the baby suit as a whole was more than a piece of clothing. When I first saw the photograph a number of ideas were in my head. First of all the idea which was strongest was that the baby was crying. This then led me to thinking of reasons why the baby might be crying. I thought maybe the parents of the baby might have been having a fight or still are having a fight influencing the baby to start crying because of all the shouting. Another reason I thought could have been maybe the baby is hungry and is being ignored. So the bay to get attention begins to cry so it is fed.

There were a number of ideas which I thought of. After thinking of all these different scenarios something hit me. It became apparent to me the time period in which the baby has been crying. This was whether the baby had just started crying, in the middle of crying or even just finishing crying. The one which hit me the most was that the baby had just stared finishing crying. I came to this assumption based on the baby’s facial features. Its face did not looked like it was in a lot of grief with its face scrunched up and eyes closed, mouth open like when a baby is beginning to cry or in the middle of it.

Its face was a lot mellower and looked to have a face of someone calming down. So this was my assumption that the baby was just calming down and had been crying previously. This then linked to my ideas about the reasons for all this. Maybe if the baby’s parents where having a fight they would have realized the baby was crying and stopped fighting and decided to comfort the baby instead, that kind of thing. The opening sequence of the film Amelie was very intriguing. It started off in what I thought was a very cartoon like comic fashion.

It was very quickly flicking through important events which in a different style would have been in a lot more detail but the cartoon style still got its point across. This cartoon style continued throughout; especially when the baby was in the mother’s womb, plus when it was born. It was a quick almost fast forwarded snippet of the real thing. Based on the whole idea of childhood I reckon this was done this way because from the child’s point of view none of this period mattered at all. It then cuts to the opening credits, where straight away Amelie as a child is playing with the words making the credits.

I thought this was a very creative way of showing a fascination with everything. Follow on we then saw Amelie playing a whole host of childish games. All the games where when she was on her own and they seemed to engage the viewer a lot as she was looking directly into the camera a lot. One game she was playing was when she was upside down and drew a face on her chin and it looked like a monster when her mouth opened. This made me realize and gave me an idea for future references, this idea was the fact that although children are not technically clever in their own way they are very creative and very good at what they do.

The same thing was shown when she was playing with dominos. Another idea I got was about her fascination with little things. This was shown when she was cutting out shapes of people and sticking them together but the most obvious was when she stuck glue to her hands and made it seem as if her skin was coming off. This whole sequence was done in a very old fashioned wind up camera like screen. With the white lines going across the screen like in olden movies. There was also a soundtrack in the background of a very playful song which although was not as quick flowing as the sequence fitted in perfectly.

I thought the reason this bit was done like this was to some up every aspect of how a child entertains themselves whether with others or without others. The opening credits finish and went to introductions about the lives of her 2 parents. This talked about their likes and dislikes in a comedic way. Both seemed quite similar people but in female and male terms. It then followed to a very important part which was the connection between Amelie and her parents. Her father wasn’t very close to her and the only time they had physical contact was when she had a monthly check up.

This showed how small things like a hug and a sign of love from parents can affect a child. Due to this Amelie had a high heart beat when her dad touched her. So over time I think this could build up into something else which would affect someone as an adult. This was a very important idea as it linked to earlier work. Her mother was very close to her and even home schooled Amelie. As I had previously imagined because she did not have friends at school she had a wild imagination which entertained her at all times. She imagined her comatose neighbor as someone sleeping for fun and being a doctor.

Most kids have imaginary friends but Amelie had a fish for a friend. She loved the fish and one day when her mother threw it into the river. This became a defining moment in Amelie’s life and changed her. She is deeply devastated like all children even older people are after losing something precious. But as a child a simple thing please her and she quickly forgets after getting a camera. This is why kids go through so many toys I reckon after seeing this. They are fascinated by anything new. She is tricked by her neighbor but ends up getting revenge on him in the way she thinks best.

I think the reason for this is because the trick made her feel so bad and after losing her fish she changed a bit and became that tiny bit more spiteful. This got me thinking about key events in my own life and how they changed me. Finally the defining moment which the whole opening sequence was leading up to. This was when someone committing suicide killed Amelie’s mother. This would have been the last stroke and changed her completely from a playful and loud child to being very quiet and still. Yet still her dad was now obsessed with her mother and wasn’t still giving Amelie attention.

I think its few things like this which define a person personality from childhood and effect their actions. We had class discussions about this. We talked about the effectiveness of the short little intro with the soundtrack playing to it. It was a very quick way of getting a point across as I have already stated and keeps to the theme of childhood. We also discussed about the imagination of a child. This was a building base for a lot of role play ideas. If a role play was constructed in this way it could be as wacky and crazy as possible. We also talked about marking the moment.

There were moments in the sequence which defined the whole movie and the character. These were the losing of the fish and the death of the mother. We were told to keep this in mind as it would be an effective technique to use and we would use it in future work. After working on the baby suit in a class room discussion we were then split up into groups of 3. We were supposed to make a non-naturalistic role play of a before and after scene. These were only meant to be 2 scenes. The before scene was a few weeks before the baby was to be born. The after scene was supposed to be one year down the line or another time e. . 6 months.

We chose to do one year down the line because after this long period of time everything the parents think and know about the baby would be confirmed. Any shorter and the baby might just be acting up a bit and the parents might miss-assume his real character so they would have a different response. Any later and any problems the parents would have had about the child would generally be subsided and the reality of living with a child would have gone through their minds a long time ago. We started developing our piece by first brainstorming various ideas of what we could do.

I decided it would be a good idea if everyone in the group said something which changed them if slightly or maybe a lot in their lives. We all came up with various ideas but when they were all weighed up together they sounded virtually the same. All ideas about the parents being both very pleased about the addition to their family of a new baby before it is born but after end in a stresses and hate the baby. Another was the parents not being very happy about the baby coming then when it does come they love the baby. They were all generally ideas which we came up with in our class discussions.

Then I got the idea of trying something new. We decided for two roles who wanted to be the father and who wanted to be the mother. Once we had these roles. We used a technique named hot-seating. We did this by sitting the two parents both and seats and firing questions at them. We asked them to imagine they were actual parents. The questions we asked them were all based on what their hopes would be for having a child. Another was what their fears would be of having a child. We got plenty of ideas through this and it was very successful.

The idea we got was of an idea of conflict between the parents and not the baby. The conflict would be caused by the baby but none of it towards him. This conflict’s main fuel would be hiding things from each other as parents. The two parents before the baby is born would act really happy but deep inside they would think differently. This same thing would happen in the after scene except they show their emotions instead. Our play was based on a family friend throwing the couple having the baby a baby shower and 1 year down the line he meets them arguing in the park.

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