The Container by Clare Bayley

Please respond using essay-question format. You do not need to turn this in to a full-blown essay with an introduction and conclusion. Instead use the numbering below and answer each question fully and thoughtfully. Just state the name of the play and where and when you saw it in your opening response. For all your responses, support each point with concrete details that you observed from the live performance.

1) Discuss the work of ONE performer that stood out to you. Clearly state both the performer name and the name(s) of the character(s) he or she played. Incorporate terminology and concepts from Topic 12/Chapter 4: The Art of the Actor in your response. (250-300 words; 30pts)

– Describe in detail one particular moment that stood out in the play, and talk about the situation of the character in that moment. What was happening for that character? What did s/he want? What got in the way?

-Now think about actor/performer choices: physical and vocal choices; believability; presence/energy; rapport with audience and/or other performers. How did the performer’s choices contribute to your experience of the moment?

-Overall: What happened? How did you respond viscerally (in your gut)? What did you think about? How, if at all, did you care? How did other audience members respond? Be specific!

2) Describe in concrete detail one other moment of the play that stood out to you. Now think about the other elements (other than acting) that contributed Analyze HOW the production used at least TWO of the following elements to convey story and idea and evoke a response from the audience. Incorporate in your response terminology and concepts from Chapter 5: The Director and Chapter 6: The Designers and their associated topics. (250-300 words; 30pts)

-Directing: casting, creating metaphors, stage pictures/movement (blocking, entrances and exits), rhythm and pacing, focus

– Choreography: Dance/Movement in addition to the general stage movement (blocking and entrances and exits)

– Design: (Spectacle: All that we see: lighting design, Set Design, Properties (objects) Design, Costume Design). Use terminology from the Elements and Principles of design in the Design topic module to support your points.

– Music (all that we hear) – singing, orchestration, rhythms of speech– sound and silence


The Container by Clare Bayley

1. Guled who plays the character of Asha.

One moment that stood out for me is when Asha wakes up Miriam for a talk while others are asleep. She confesses to Marian about having gone through the belongings of others: Ahmad has money; Mariam, a gun; and Jemal, food. She also felt Mariam was not ill but pregnant.  Mariam is terrified that others will soon know her secret but Asha appeases her by disclosing her own secret: she has been given a letter addressed to the queen of England by a tribal leader recommending Asha for a servant position. Asha deluded into thinking a job awaits her on the Queen of England’s domestic staff. Even Ahmad and Jemal overhear her conversation and made fun of Asha regarding her quest to work for the Queen as a servant.  She is open enough and pragmatic in convincing Mariam to confide in her. Asha also convinces Mariam that the container is comforting unlike the terrifying boat journey that brought her and Fatima across the Mediterranean.

            When payment negotiation hits a pitch, Asha and Mariam are left Jemal and Ahmad to help out.   Fatuma, Ahmad and Jemal are able to pay but Mariam and Asha are not. Jemal pays for Asha while Mariam is told to pay with sex. Asha reveals Mariam is pregnant and thus cannot have sex. She begs Fatima to give her ring for Mariam but the latter refuses. Mariam is thrown out of the container. Asha becomes distressed, mistaking Mariam as her sister Salma. Asha blames Fatima and Fatima slaps her. Asha angrily says Fatima’s son abused her sexually and that Fatima keeps Asha as a servant.  

This part is vibrantly executed because Asha gives strong and electrifying performance. Asha presents a convincing descent into total desperation, especially when payment negotiations arrive at unbearably fraught pitch and siting barely six feet from her was amazing experience. 

2. The element of set design is outstanding. The setting functions extremely well. The play happens in a shipping container. By placing the play in a container, the director succeeded in putting the audience few inches from placing space with the characters. The setting in the container shows that the play occurred in real location of the story. This setting confronts the viewers with emotional and physical of the characters. The container setting plunges the viewers into similar disorientating interminable semi-darkness and confined conditions that the refugees cover as they look for a new life in England. In the opening scene, the characters do speak about how much the container stinks. The use of a bucket toilet is also simulated.

The cast is perfect. The characters chosen to act represent people from the countries of origin of the characters. Their roles are culturally specific and match with their background perfectly. Mariam is an Afghan flees the Taliban who wiped all her family. She is travelling all alone except for a gun in her bag. She is very secretive. Ahmad is an Afghan. He is to content with traveling people he considers beneath him. Jemal is a Turkish Kurd and does speak Turkish. Jemal and Ahmad look much like Middle Eastern. Asha and Fatima are Somalis and look exactly like the came from Somalia. Fatima and Asha look different enough in terms of age to be an aunt and niece. Overall, the vocal qualities and appearance of these characters represent the people of their country of origin. 


Bayley, C. (2007). The Container: A Play. London: Nick Hern.

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