Give Advice to the Actor Playing Mrs Johnstone About How She Should Present the Character to an Audience.

Give advice to the actor playing Mrs Johnstone about how she should present the character to an audience.

Mrs Johnstone is a character who goes through many different emotions throughout the play.   She has lots of ‘ups and downs’ and so the actress would need to present the character to the audience in a variety of ways at different points in the play.
Early in the play, Mrs Johnstone has discovered that she is carrying twins and is concerned that the ‘welfare’ will take them away.   She confides in Mrs Lyons that she cannot afford to keep them and Mrs Lyons manipulates the situation showing in this scene the uneven power balance between the two women.
At the beginning of the scene Mrs Johnstone is confused and panicked.   As the scene progresses she is in disbelief at Mrs Lyons initial suggestion but then during ‘My Child’ she becomes caught up in the idea of a better life for one of her children and becomes excited although still sad.
When she is confused the actor should seem to be in a daze as she has been shocked by the news of twins.   The actor might give a pretend smile as Mrs Lyons approaches as the character is well used to putting on a brave face of things.   Her voice should be low and shaky as she shares her news with Mrs Lyons, almost as though she is thinking aloud, particularly when she says ‘with one more baby we could’ve managed but not with two.’   Here she should stare into space like she doesn’t know what to do.   The audience needs to see that she isn’t thinking straight and feel sorry for her predicament.
To show this physically, the actor should wring her hands together, maybe hug herself and stroke her arms and at certain points put her head in her hands so that the audience can see her despair and vulnerability.   Such gesticulation from Mrs Johnstone’s character would make Mrs Lyons’ actions seem all the more manipulative and predatory and the audience will then surely sympathise and empathise with her plight which I think is what Russell...