U8 Task 5- Performance Research

Martha’s Harbour- All About Eve


Artwork- Poole Harbour

Artist- Philip Wilson Steer

Phillips ocean landscape paintings made him well known and the figure of Impressionism art at the time. He was greatly influenced by John Constable and T.M.W Turner. He was also an art teacher which influenced many artists.

Tate.org.uk, Phillip Wilson Steer 1860- 1942, [online] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/philip-wilson-steer-1990 [Accessed 29 Mar. 2017]

Art Movement- Impressionism

Art.co.uk. Poole Harbour, 1890 Giclee Print by Phillip Willson Steer. [online] Available at:  http://www.art.co.uk/products/p22112293643-sa-i7621994/philip-wilson-steer-poole-harbour-1890.htm?ac=true [Accessed 27 Mar. 2017]

Wilson, P, (1890). Poole Harbour. [oil on canvas] Leeds: Leeds Art Gallery.

I have been cast to sing and play the guitar for this piece. The song is “Martha’s Harbour” by a band called All About Eve. The group “All About Eve” emerged during the 1980s goth movement. The song came around accidentally when the band members were sitting outside the recording studio under the willow tree by the creek on their day off.

BBC-Radio 2. TOP 100- Martha’s Harbour. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/soldonsong/songlibrary/marthasharbour.shtml [Accessed: 27 Mar. 2017].

Songfacts.com. Martha’s Harbour by All About Eve Songfacts. [online] Available at: http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=8316 [Accessed: 27 Mar. 2017]

I have no specific character so I need to make up the character. After listening to the song I soon came to the conclusion that the woman in the song has fallen in love with someone and is waiting for them to return. In my opinion the character is in love perhaps her first love and they has gone out to sea and she awaits their return. I think she has lived in one place for her entire life because in the song she seems to be fascinated by the ocean which gives the impression that she wants to see what else is out there, however she is also tied to the person she loves, in the line it says “I am a galley slave my love” (a galley slave is someone who rows the boat from below the deck who is usually a convicted criminal or a prisoner of war) which would suggest that she wishes to leave and travel but is bound to her love. The song is sad but also seems to give her a glimmer of hope.

The artwork connects to the song very strongly. The main reason that it connects is because the title is Martha’s harbour and the painting is also of a harbour. However it also connects to the song because it looks out to a horizon and the song talks about the ocean and how she says that the ocean draws her in for example the line “The sea calls to me”  so she wishes to leave that place that she is but is bound buy the harbour because she is in love.

The skills needed for this piece is singing and playing the guitar. The song isn’t what I usually sing so I am finding that finding the pitch at the beginning fairly difficult. The piece on the guitar is plucked not strummed.

1. Who am I?

The character I have invented I have called Lilly, she lives in a seaside town that makes most of its profit from fishing. Her husband is a fisherman who isn’t at home often which means she is waiting for him. She has no children and hasn’t been married for very long to her husband, but wishes he was home or that she can go with him so she can see what’s beyond the harbour. She is an only child and her parents live in the same town and she has grown up hearing stories from her mother about father about what is out in the world and wishes she can go and explore it for herself.

2. Where am I?

A small sea side town where most of the profit is made from fishing, no tourists are there because the town is too small and is very secluded town. The scene where Lilly is standing is on the edge of the harbour looking out to sea, I feel like she goes to this spot a lot to clear her mind and on this occasion she is tired of having to wait and is considering running away. It’s in the middle of the night and it’s a clear sky which is why she is looking up and not across the harbour.

3. When is it?

The scene is based in the middle of the night when the town is asleep and no one is at the harbour so she is completely alone with her thoughts. It’s also a cool summers evening. In my personal opinion this can be from any point beyond 1960 but I think due to the time the song was published it settles around 1980.

4. Where have I just come from?

I think that she has woken up in the middle of the night and starts to think about her husband the remembers all the stories that her parents have told her, so she gets up out of bed to take a walk along the harbour. By the time she is at the harbour she is awake and her mind realizes she has two options to either leave or wait for her husband .

5. What do I want?

She wants to leave so she can go and see all the things her parents have told her about the world but she also wants to be with her husband so she is deciding what she wants more. She wants to leave so she doesn’t live with the same boring life alone anymore but if she goes she will have to leave her husband, if she stays she will be living the same day over and over also she will be alone.

6. Why do I want it?

She wants to leave so she can be free and experience her life to the fullest as she feels she has been sheltered her entire life and that the world beyond the harbour and her town is mythical. However she wishes to stay to carry out her simple life being a fisherman’s wife and she also wishes to stay because she loves him too much to leave and couldn’t leave him to be alone while she goes off to fulfill her wish.

7. Why do I want it now?

She wants to know the answer more now because she is tired of being at war with herself over this decision and really wants and answer and she knows that only she can answer this question herself which is why she has never talked to her parents about this issue.

8. What will happen if I don’t get it now?

If she makes her decision she knows it will change her life, if she leaves she feels as if she may not return which would mean leaving her husband and her family but if she stays she will feel unfulfilled for the rest of her life.

9. How will I get what I want by doing what?

The line “The sea calls to me”  tells me that she is close to leaving along with the lines “I felt safe and sound, but needed the danger” is telling me that she wants to stay because her life is safe but she wants some excitement with it, the only way she can get what she wants is by leaving so she is no longer trapped in waiting for her husband.

10. What must I overcome?

She must overcome her fear of leaving her old comfortable life behind so she can live her life to the fullest and that she doesn’t regret staying and not achieving her destiny.

A Dolls House- Henrik Ibsen 


Art Work – Separation

Artist-  Edvard Munch

Most of Edvard’s work is from the symbolism, he painted things that were supposed to make people have different opinions. Many of his work is a depiction of love, death and terror. His paintings have often given viewers the feeling of loneliness and sadness with his dark bold lines and mix of sombre colours.

EdvardMunch .org, Edvard Munch- Paintings, Biography Quotes of Edvard Munch, [online] Available at: http://www.edvardmunch.org/ [Accessed 29 Mar. 2017]

Art Movement- Symbolism

Wikimedia commons, (2016). Edvard Much – Separation -Google Art project. [online] Available at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Edvard_Munch_-_Separation_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg [Accessed 28 Mar. 2017]

Edvard, M. (1896). Separation. [oil on canvas] Oslo: Munch Museum

I have been cast to play the character Nora from the play “A Doll’s House” written by Henrik Ibsen and was written and published in 1879. The tone of the play is serious and is about a serious matter that wasn’t acknowledged at the time, the play touches on what a woman’s role is and her independence of that time. A woman’s roles in the 19th century would be to work along side their father and brothers in a business such as managing a shop and keeping accounts along with domestic chores, especially after 1830 where the bell skirt it was difficult for woman to carry out many domestic tasks without falling over so many of these tasks were then changed over to servants. So for Nora to leave her husband at the end of the play was unheard of during that stage in society. During the play Nora is blackmailed by Krogstad who threatens her that he will tell her husband about her past crime of forgery and throughout the play she discovers what she needs to do and then makes the decision to leave.

Hughs, K. Gender roles in the 19th century  [online] The British Library. Available at: https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/gender-roles-in-the-19th-century [Accessed 28 Mar. 2017]

I am playing Nora who is the main protagonist and feels as if in her entire life she has been treated as nothing but to look at and to play with, she feels as if no one takes her seriously and craves independence. At the beginning of the play she seems quite content with this life however as Krogstad continues to black mail her about forgery she reveals not to be as doll like as everyone thinks and shows that she does know more about business than her husband thinks. As she discovers this she realizes that she has had a fake marriage and everything she has done in her and her husbands marriage was to benefit him not her, this makes her realize that she needs to leave.

SparkNotes, (2012) SparkNotes: A Dolls House Nora Helmer [online] Available at: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/dollhouse/character/nora-helmer/ [Accessed 29 Mar. 2017]

The piece shows a man clutching his heart and a woman walking away. I feel like this piece of art is very powerful and many people will have different views on it. I think that the artwork and this piece fit really well because the woman has no face so it shows that she has no emotion like Nora has no emotion or feeling towards her husband or children in the scene however the man is clearly heart broken as Torvald is when Nora leaves him and the children. The painting also shows that the woman is walking towards the ocean and the ocean in many cases is portrayed as new possibilities because the ocean can carry you to new shores while the man is staying on the land which indicates that he is going to stay in the past because when you live on land and don’t go towards the ocean you stay in one area.

This piece doesn’t require any dance or singing only acting so  I will need to get the tone of the piece right because she is feeling a mix of emotions including: realization, sadness, frustration and slight excitement for what is going to happen.

1. Who am I?

Nora is a wealthy Victorian woman who is married to Thorvald Helmer. She is not taken seriously by her husband and her father (who is deceased along with her mother). It is not mentioned whether she has any siblings but she has a good friend called Christina who she talks to about what she wants to do and how she wants to go against Thorvalds wishes. She has forged a letter in her fathers name to save her husbands life as Thorvald was sick and close to death, this through out the play is used as blackmail through Thoarvalds work rival Krogstad until she realizes that Thorvald only thinks fro himself and makes the decision to leave.

2. Where am I?

During the scene Thorvald and Nora are in the drawing room (or in some cases Thorvalds study but in this scene we were in a drawing room). The room is filled with dark oak antique furniture I believe and has the fire going in a fireplace as Thorvald had thrown and burnt a letter there previously in the scene.

Doll house set example

(This is an example of one of the Dolls House set which is what I imagine the room to look like)

This room I am very familiar with so when entering the scene I shouldn’t ask to sit down and I should be confident as it is my own house. But as Nora see’s this house as a prison she sits very small and closed as if she doesn’t live there.

3. When is it?

The couple have just returned from a Christmas party which means it is winter which is also why the fire is on in the house. The script gives no detail if it is snowing outside but I think that because Nora is leaving the night is clear which is why she leaves at that moment, I think that if it was snowing she would of said that she was leaving in the morning. The script was written and published in the late 19th century which is when the play is set which would mean that Nora would hold herself tall and not slouch and due to her possibly wearing a corset she would have her hands on her stomach, however I doubt this because corsets went out of fashion in the early 19th century.

4. Where have I just come from?

Thorvald and Nora have just come back from a Christmas party, they have had a chat about legal affairs and business with Krogstad and Nora tired of Thorvald not listening to her or the letter she goes to get dressed into a dark dress for going out so she is ready to leave the house. When she comes in she must walk with confidence so people and Thorvald know that she has made up her mind.

5. What do I want?

She wants to leave her life behind because her husband belittles her and so did her father. Much like Lilly she wants to know her own potential but unlike her she knows what she wants because she doesn’t love Thorvald. Her motive in the scene is to leave and to leave quickly but she finds it difficult to get through to Thorvald that she is leaving.

6. Why do I want it?

She wants it so then she can be independent and find out who she is because she feels as if she has no identity because her family treat her like a doll. She needs to go and find her own way around because she has been living a comfortable sheltered life with her father then was passed onto Thorvald and then proceeded to live the same sheltered life.

7. Why do I want it now?

If she doesn’t leave now she will be stuck in an endless cycle of not having a fulfilling life and feeling like a child for the rest of her life while being with a man she doesn’t love. This life disappoints her and makes her sad and even though it is difficult to leave she knows that it is the only way. If she leaves she will never hear of her family ever again and will be looked down upon on society but she knows this and it’s a risk she is willing to take.

8. What will happen if I don’t get it now?

If she doesn’t leave then her husband will restrict her freedom even more than he has already because he knows how she will truly feel, he may also take advantage of that and use the children as a way to stay. If she said nothing then their lives will go as normal but Krogstads blackmail will hang over her because she can’t do anything about it, again Krogstad will use this to his advantage and use her to interfere with Thorvalds work.

9. How will I get what I want by doing what?

Simply Nora has to leave to achieve her goal, this also means not returning to her family and having to make her way in the world alone which during that time would be difficult especially with the decision she has made.

10. What must I overcome?

She must overcome leaving her home and world behind and be strong enough not to return to her family when times get tough and to not be put down by peoples judgement of her decision.


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