"Her Big Chance": Techniques used by Alan Bennett to make the character Lesley seem real

Essay by josh_man160High School, 10th gradeB, October 2006

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"Her Big Chance" is a dramatic monologue written by Alan Bennett. Her big chance is in a series of programmes called Talking Heads. Talking Heads are all programs about a person talking about an event in their lives and they were all written in 1980's and are set in the 1980's. Alan Bennett was born in Leeds, Yorkshire. He grew up there and was educated there. He grew up in an ordinary family with an ordinary life.

Allen Bennett has used many techniques to make Lesley seem real. He makes Lesley seem like a typical person and this lets the audience relate to her. Lesley is the main character in this story. She is an actor who finds a job in a film. She takes the role but it ends out that the film is a pornography film and is only being released on video in Germany.

First he presents the audience with a stereotypical character which helps the audience feel like they know her.

She is a loud person who is confident. It shows this when she says "I saw this interesting looking man in the corner, next thing I find myself talking to him". Alan also gives her other qualities which don't match her stereotypical character like when she says "I'd rather curl up with a good book quite frankly".

To give the characters in Talking Heads a background Bennett talks about their family. In this episode Lesley only mentions her family once and she only mentions her brother. This shows that she either doesn't have much of a family and is quite lonely or that she hasn't got on well with her family. This gives her a back story and makes her seem more believable. Bennett also gives Lesley a context. It shows that she is a middle aged women who thinks she is doing well in her job but isn't. She says that she stars in cross roads but in reality crossroads was a very poor TV show and she was just an extra with a very small role in it. The programme was also made in 1970's which shows that she lives in the past. Bennett also shows that Lesley meets people in the story, there are many character interactions. When she is talking about a conversation she says "he said" and "she said" a lot. This is to make it sound more like she is talking which reinforces the sense of reality. "Hello' he said 'hello' I said 'what do you do?' he said 'I'm in films' I said". Bennett also uses other techniques to make Lesley's speech seem real. He puts lots of pauses in it to indicate that it is her speaking and not a scripted sentence. In real life people don't talk continuously; they take time to think about what they are going to say and this is reflected by Lesley's speech. "Anyway I'm ready. I've been ready since yesterday morning. It was long enough before anyone came near". There are a lot of pauses in the quote; which are indicated by a comma or full stop. Furthermore Bennett shortens Lesley's sentences to makes her speech seem more realistic as in real life people don't normally speak in full sentences all the time, to reinforce this Bennett uses short sentences. "I sat in the bar for a bit". Then one of her long sentences is, "you see, the more you have to offer as a person the better you are as an actress". Sometimes he uses longer sentences to reflect the tone and mood of his character for example when Lesley is passionate about something for example acting. Also in the episode Bennett uses lots of stage directions. This is to make sure that it seems real and that Lesley isn't just sitting there. "Take care.' Pause that was last Friday... surprised they haven't telephoned. Go to black. Come up on Lesley, who is now made up and her hair done, sitting in a small bleak room in her dressing room in her dressing gown. Morning." He details the scenes very carefully so the actors and people working on the show have an easier job.

Overall Bennett does a very good job of making Lesley seem realistic. He uses lots of techniques and they all work and add to the realism. He uses the stage direction a lot but these are detailed because it helps the actor know exactly what is required by them. When he puts lots of pauses in the sentences and makes the character say he said and she said; I think that works really well and makes the character seem real. Bennett also gives Lesley a back story. This makes Lesley seem like a real person and not just a character.