Looking at comedy using Billy Liar

Karen Hart
Monday, February 1, 2021

Although many students interested in studying drama are quick to seize the opportunity of acting in or devising a comedy, it can be very difficult to get it just right. There is a reason many performers say they find comedy the hardest genre to perform, and this is due to many factors: the need to time your lines just right, judging the subtlety of spoken lines and the need to find the piece you’re performing genuinely funny. It’s hard to get many laughs from a scene when you’re not really feeling it yourself. Of course, what makes one person laugh out loud, may not so much as raise a smile from another, and above all else it’s probably this subjective nature of comedy that makes it so difficult to perfect for your audience. This scheme of work will look at many of these complexities and work on ways to enhance a student’s comedy performance. Each of the 6 sessions here is based on a one-hour lesson, but they can be mixed and matched as you please. Learning objectives The learning objectives here cover all sessions. During this scheme students will: - Look at what makes us laugh in TV and film, and why - Familiarise themselves with Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, the play and the film - Look at performing comedy through use of various techniques, such as timing, characterisation and breaking the fourth wall - Work on performing from a script. - Explore a range of comic situations and characters - Look at observational comedy and how this is used in Billy Liar - Work on devising their own comic scene. Resources required throughout this scheme of work: - Tables and chairs - Student copies of the play Billy Liar - Means of watching film clips - Large sheets of paper and marker pens.