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Thread: Pocahontas

  1. #1

    Default Pocahontas

    It's year two of our newly state-acclaimed school drama class, and this time of year means One Act Competition. Our director is certain we're going to State this year, so much so he already has it and a victory show by the 'GHSA State Champions' on our class calendar.

    The show is, much as the title suggests, Pocahontas.

    No talking trees or raccoons or hummingbirds allowed. He's condemned them. This is a serious show about racial tensions.

    I wouldn't know that, I've never seen the Disney movie.

    But, I assume some of you have. Which is where this comes in.

    As I am one of the only constant male actors (though we had a surplus after last year's success), I have been selected to try my hand at becoming:

    John Ratcliff. The villain.

    And if I don't get it right, well, no show for me.

    I need to be assertive and loud (not a usual thing for me). I need to be dastardly. Greedy. Egotistic. Pompous. Rude. Lazy. And downright despicable.

    I need to release my inner insane actor that I keep bottled up.

    Now, all I know about Ratcliff is from Google. I have yet to find a decent character analysis.

    I picked up most of it from the lyrics.

    I've been armed with two lyric sheets and a CD with the movie songs on it, the songs from the stage version, and then the instrumentals.

    What I'm asking you guys for is tips.

    Tips on how to do Ratcliff well.

    I don't want to overdo the shouting and all...

    How did he act apart from the songs in the movie?

    I'm going to need you guys for this if I want to maintain my role.

    I'm just a little worried. I think I can make it, though.

    Many thanks,
    Your Friendly Neighborhood Testing Associate

  2. #2


    As you know, I'm one of the oldest members on this site, and so I actually knew John Ratcliff personally. He was not at all like the person you see in the Disney production, though when I knew him, he had gotten up there in age. Mostly he sat around drooling, and occasionally would soil his pants. It was sort of sad, but it was hard to imagine him being such a bad ass.

    All kidding aside, since your teacher/director wants a serious rendition, I would abandon the Disney version and do some more research. Often, little was recorded to history regarding secondary characters. The best way to understand an historical person is to research and find some of their personal writing. This is one case you may have to go to a library and research some books that would contain deeper information. Often letters have been saved and documented, and that is where you should go.

    That said, I'm not sure going "crazy" on stage might be what your director is looking for. Can you talk to him and ask him as to how he sees the character? It would be a starting point. Good luck.

  3. #3


    By crazy, I mean release the emotions that boil in my when I get into this part. It becomes easier for me as I hit the stage.

    Well, there's a bit of an issue completely abandoning the Disney Ratcliff, Amd that it is probably what the script calls for. And since we are doing to songs from the animated feature...

    Though I will try historical research. Thank you.

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