I, Sophie Smith

When asked to play the role of Katie from the film ‘I, Daniel Blake’ for our TMS Book Day assembly, I took the opportunity with very eager, willing hands. It was the chance to portray a very real and genuine character, a chance to show the struggles of living in poverty and the extents it can lead. To portray a mother whose dignity is stripped from her through poverty and hunger as she grabs a tin of beans in a food bank gave me the opportunity to apply the techniques of Stanislavski’s naturalism and realism that I have been learning in Performing Arts. What I had learnt in these lessons, allowed me to take the role to another level.

Although the lines were short and few, the physical element to this part was difficult. Everyone knows what it is like to be hungry, but starving to the point you are collapsing? They are two very different things. In order to gather a better insight to this dreadful feeling (without actually starving myself), I would lengthen the time in between meals and make the portions relatively smaller. It made me exhausted and feeling drained as the days felt long and tiring. However, these were the feelings I needed to portray on stage.

The one thing I thought necessary not to practise was opening the can of beans then eating with my hands. I did not want to rehearse this at home or in my free time at all, simply, because I wanted to do that on stage on the day, to feel the embarrassment and humiliation the poor woman experienced in the script.

It was an absolute pleasure to participate in something that, hopefully, made an impact on the audience. It was an opportunity I will not forget.