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Devising Portfolio


Portfolio Introduction

In this portfolio, I will be researching topics surrounding my stimulus. The main theme is 'stealing', and my group and I were given a set of lyrics from the song 'Stealing in the name of the lord,' by Max Romeo. We also have to incorperate the theme song from the 'Usual Suspects.' From this me and my group mind-mapped some of the key words from the song 'Stealing in the name of the lord'. We created a loose storyline of a corrupt priest exploiting his power, and stealing from the people who come to the church by telling them their money is going towards vharity and the church, when in reality it is going to the priest's personal pocket. In this portfolio i will be elaborating on this idea, and also researching cases like this, whilst incoperating my secondary role of costume. This whole project is based around the devising process and our secondary roles, whilst still creating a understandable and influencial ten minute piece for an audience of children. In the book: 'The Frantic Assembly book of devising theatre,' they highlight the fact that, "The term 'devising' or 'devised' inspires different connotations in different people." To me this means that devised theatre really comes down to an individual, and when we are faced with a stimulus, we all think of different things. If a group of people all have drastically different ideas, it can be tricky to come up with a compromise. Luckily enough for my group, we all thought of similar ideas. And with further research of the social, historical and cultural aspects of the church, we can constantly think of new things to add.

He won a BAFTA Award for Best Editing for The Usual Suspects, as well as two Saturn Awards for Best Music for The Usual Suspects and Superman Returns.

John Ottman composed the music for 'The Usual Suspects',according to wikipedia, John Ottman was born on July 6th, 1964. He is not only a composer, but is also a director and editor. Other than 'The Usual Suspects', he has composed alot of music for superhero films.

How we are going to incorperate this song into our piece is by playing it in the first scene which is a flashforward, as it fits the sorrow of the scene. It will also then play in the final scene when we return back to the flashforward in present time. I also hope that this helps the children understand the non-linear storyline, as it makes it a little bit more clear that we are returning to the start of the play and continuing. The song reflects the priest's sadness and frustration at that time, as his career is ruined as he has been exposed. The theme is somber and calm. The main instruments creating this theme is the piano, high flute and strings.

' Following a truck hijack in New York, five criminals are arrested and brought together for questioning. As none of them are guilty, they plan a revenge operation against the police. The operation goes well, but then the influence of a legendary mastermind criminal called Keyser Söze is felt. It becomes clear that each one of them has wronged Söze at some point and must pay back now.'

'Usual Suspects' Theme Song:


The 1995 film 'The Usual Suspects', is a thriller crime film, set in Los Angeles in 1995. A summary of the film from IMBD is:

As we know Max Romeo is pro PNP, and it's interesting to see the links of Christianity through his own political beliefs. Additionally, Max Romeo produced a number of songs going against Shearer and the JLP. Yet 'Let the Power Fall on I', a cover of an old Rastafarian spiritual produced by 'Derrick Morgan' which had the largest impact. Romeo's cover became the PNP's campaign theme song. He is an extremely influencial figure in the reggae music scene.

The man who wrote this song is named Max Romeo. He was born in Jamaica, on the 22nd of November, 1944. He is apart of a music group named The Upsetters, and his main genre of music he produces is reggae and pop. In a biography written by Jo-Anne Greene, she states that Max Romeo launched an "entirely different sub-genre of reggae music." Max Romeo was also notorious for including his political and social views in his song-writing. Max Romeo was a firm supporter of the PNP, the 'People's National Party' of Jamaica. The are a centre left, social democratic party. In 1972, 3 years before Stealing In the Name of The Lord was released, there was an election, and the opposing and at that time in power party was the JLP. Because for the first time in decades the JLP faced opposition, violence broke out, and the PNP leader was represented by biblical hereos, whilst JLP leader Prime Minister Harry Shearer was given the role of a 'villain'.

Other than the usual suspects theme, we were also given the lyrics of the 1976 song, 'Stealing in the name of the Lord.' We picked out the key terms and phrases from these lyrics, and I will argue that it was the most useful resource we were given as it set the theme and story for the entire piece. Some of these keywords include: "My father's house of worship, has become a den of thieves, stealing in the name of the lord yet the reverend drives out fancy car, to give in charity my father's house of worship, has become a den of theives." This song also played in our show, when our reverend was shown pouring out charity money into his own wallet.

Michael Kpughe Lang clarifies that corruption has been around for many years, and when it takes place within a certain group it is easier for the public to just automatically associate one bad thing with the overrall group rather than the individual. That is why people get away with things, or dont have as much attention drawn to them when they do commit said crimes. I myself can agree with this, as when I started this project, my initial thoughts were when you hear that "Oh Christianity is corrupt as they steal!" But those cases now that I have researched them actually boil down to just a certain small group of individuals. They rely on stereotypes and social beliefs to shield them. And nearly always the overall consequence doesn't effect said individual nearly as much as the whole often innocent group.

This gives us some inspiration for our piece, as it's clear that monetary corruption within the Catholic Church in the 70s was a big issue. An article about 'The Pattern of corruption in Christian churches,' written by Michael Kpughe Lang in 2014, highlights the main reason for corruption within churches:

'Its leaders were accused of transferring money out of the country into shady overseas banks, as well as being linked to an illegal masonic loge known as Propaganda Due (P2), which had ties to the mafia.'

'When Pope John Paul I died in 1978 in apparently mysterious circumstances, many conspiracy theories suggested it might have had something to do with his desire to clean up the affairs of the Vatican Bank. The scandal intensified a few years later, when in the early 1980s a bank that it had a majority stake in called Banco Ambrosiano hit the news for all the wrong reasons.'

Historical Context:

Our piece is set in the late 1970s, as one of our songs are named: 'Stealing, Stealing, Stealing,' and was written in 1976. The main stimulus for our piece is stealing, paired with the theme of the church; to which we conjured the idea of monetary corruption within the Catholic church in the 1970s. And according to 'World Finance', the Catholic church founded the Vatican bank in 1942 in order to manage the finance of the Catholic Church. And it's main purpose was to: 'provide for the safekeeping and administration of moveable and immovable property transferred or entrusted to it by physical or juridical persons and intended for works or religion or charity.' But was 'plunged into disrepute in the late 1970s after many years of rumours about money laundering on behalf of the mafia.' According to the 'World Finance' website:

Website: 'The Take,' states that: The Godfather: Part III (1990) interweaves a fictional account of two real life events: the 1978 death of Pope John Paul I and the Papal banking scandal of 1981-1982.

Social Context:

The Vatican Bank scandal affected the genereal public in different ways. Not only does it give Catholicism a bad reputation, but it gives people who want to see the fall of traditional religions a solid arguement. The actions of a few people higher up then the public results in a worldwide stereotype. It completely contradicts all that the church stands for, and that is the irony of it. An interesting way that is physically affected the citizens of Italy, is that in 2013 card payments were banned in the Vatican after The Bank of Italy complained that they failed to put in new procedures to prevent money laundering. Due to no electronic transfers, this meant that tourists who relied on their cards had to convert their money to cash or cheque. According to 'The Global Treasurer', around 5 million tourists visited the Vatican museum and spent a total of 93.3m euros on tickets and souvenirs. Not only did this affect tourists, but the Vatican's pharmacy, shops, and post office, which were unable to accept e-payments or transfers. Another way in which this scandal influenced people is that it actually inspired the story for the well-known film 'The Godfather.'

This is Father Castiel's costume design. When creating this costume I thought about what I knew about this character. I knew he was secretive, manipulative, sly and guilty. Similarly I thought about how the actor would hold themselves in this costume. Father Castiel is very nervous throughout the entire show, and his personality and character completely contrasts those of the others. He is also the first person the audience meets, and from an outfit you can start to piece together using stereotypes and social norms what a characters role may be. Also I had to keep in mind it is for a young age group, so there may be details they would'nt notice, in order to overcome this and help them get a better understanding of who is 'bad' and who is 'good', I used contrasting colours. Father Castiel is cloaked in black, and dark colours, whilst the angels are in warm, light ones. This is also ironic, as you would think a priest would wear bright, bubbly colours as they have devoted their time to others, but ofcourse, the dark colours are connotations of his dark and hateful actions.


The secondary role i chose was costume, all appealed to me but I really wanted to explore and experiment with costume and hair to project a character's personality, motives, and history. I've designed four costumes, each inspired by their chosen persona.


Castiel has this sort of 70s side swoop hair, it is dark brown and messy, and is concealing alot of his face. When he gets nervous he will move it out of the way in a frustrated manner. It symbolises that he is hiding, hiding the fact that he is guilty and hiding his dark, drug related past. He's also reluctant to chop it, as when he went to prison he had to have a shaved head, and whenever he cuts it it reminds him of his past. He has a large, loose fitted alb, which unlike my moodboard photos goes all the way up to his chin. Father Castiel wants to be concealed at all times, and the fact that it is loose suggests that he is hiding something, and is not fully attached and loyal to his job as a priest. He does not want to feel restricted or tight, but knows he can never let anybody into his heart. He wears a pair of beaten up, maroon leather gloves. He never wants to become attached to something, and the dark red symbolises the blood he has spilt in the course of his life. It connotes danger, and is ironic, as later in the play he will be caught red-handed. He often shakes hands, as a priest he is always greeting new people, but no man has ever felt the warmth of his skin due to those gloves. Additionally, thieves are notourisouly known to wear gloves in order to cover their tracks.

It also symbolises all of the money he has stolen, and suggests he is wealthy, but at what cost if it is broken? Next to this watch there is a thin, red string bracelet; in Christianity this is 'parallel to the blood of Christ,' and is seen as a symbol of redemption.


He wears a pair of regular fit, extremely worn dark grey trousers. Seams are broken and small holes scattered around the ankles of the trousers. The knees are stained lightly with dirt, as he keeps stolen money in a dug out hole in the church yard. You can't see from the image, but he always wears odd socks. An inmate in prison told him it was goodluck, and ever since that day he continued to wear odd socks in the hopes of using said luck to rebuild his life. Flowing out of his left pocket are some rosemary beads, his pockets are broken so they always slip out; this thoroughly annoys him, as when he's filling up his pockets with stolen goods it falls out, but in reality, it could be seen as a sign from God, telling him to look down at his feet and think about if he was in the person's shoes that he is stealing from; whilst simultaneously picking up a cross. He bares a scar on his face, from his past. And his beaten up brown leather boots are scuffed all at the front. His shoelaces are always undone, warning him that one day he will trip up. Hidden on his wrist there is a gold watch, broken and stuck on the time where he hit a cartel member in the past, to remind him not to go back.

Angel Michael throughout the play is seen as the 'leader'. He is always in the middle, takes main leads in conversations, and stops any unneccesary nonsense. At different parts within the piece, he is seen on the phone to someone. This shows that he is not in complete power, but it still the lead on this particular mission. He is brave, loyal and strong. He is a warrior, he has a sword and is not afraid to fight. He has a good temper, and moral understanding, and unlike the other two arch angels, lacks bias. He follows orders and doesn't let anything personal get in his way. His costume consists of this strong blue, as blue connotes justice and prosperity. This is paired with a fierce red cape, and I would of hoped a cape and sword may have suggested to the young audience that he is a sort of prince or superhero. The gold promotes wealth, and the two contrasting red and blues connotes power and strength. He pairs this with clean brown leather gloves and boots, much like a medieval hunter. His hair is golden brown and neat, contrasting Father Castiel's. The detail down his tunic is a red line with small red beads, representing rosemary beads. He wears his on his chest connecting to his heart, whereas Father Castiel keeps them tucked away in his pockets. Michael's chest detail can also be seen as blood running through his body to show his warmth and goodness.

Archangel Gabriel is extremely focused, devoted and intelligent. He is stern like Michael, but finds it difficult to not let his personal beliefs get involved with his judgement, unlike Michael. It is made clear that there is some tension between him and archangel Gabriel, as they have two contrasting personalities. Raphael prides himself in his knowledge and integrity; and if he has an issue he will always bring it up. Raphael's costume consists of this dark, forest green suit. Dark green to me connotes health, growth and abundance. It is also the colour of money, and his character takes Father Castiel's offence very seriously. He has sharp dark red boots, in perfect condition. He has a pair of tortoise shell spectacles, and his hair is blonde and combed into a neat side part. His Jacket has a very light pinstripe effect, a timeless look that orginated and is heavily associated with bankers. Bankers would and still wear that design on their suits, its popularity rised in the early twentieth century. The shirt Raphael is wearing is a golden brown satin shirt. The satin material first became popular in the 14th century and started in China. It was reserved for royalty and rich aristrocratsas, and showed prestige and wealth.Rapheal bibically carries a scepter, but here it's disguised as a walking stick.

Archangel Gabriel is kind, forgiving, and caring. She dislikes Raphael's attitudes towards bad people, and is a firm believer in second chances. Again, unlike Michael, she is biased towards forgiving people, and it does effect her judgement. She has a very motherly persona, and loves animals and nature. She also enjoys the arts. She is alot more laid back then Raphael, and is constantly trying to prove her worth to Michael. Bibically, she holds a Lily, a flower which represents purity, innocence and rebirth. It is associated with the Virgin Mary, and also often depicted as the ressurection of christ. Lillies also represent fertility and femininity. Gabriel is cloaked with rich materials; as are Michael and Raphael, but Michael's clothes are built for his recklessness, and Raphael's are built for work and focus. Gabriel's are more for style and class. Like Raphael, she also bibically holds a scepter; although for her it's less for violence and more for blessings. She has high end, gold jewellery, which she specifically wears around Father Castiel to test him. She wants to see if he will break and try to either steal it, ask about it, or see if his eyes follow her gold covered wrists and hands rather than her eyes. She has golden-ginger hair in a classy updo, and two curls to frame her face. Curls represent freedom for her. She has dark brown pointed heels, to connote her sharp temper. And a beautiful ruffled long skirt to appear like feathers; wings.


The first day that we started the project I was excited, as we devise this completely ourselves. Before we were given it we did a grid exercise where we walked around in different tempos and reacted to different music. And when we were confronted by another person we had to react to one another in order to get past eacother. We had to come to an agreement without talking. This would help us build our character, and how they act physically. We were given our stimulus, and at first we were stuck, but once we wrote out the keywords and created a mindmap it became a bit easier. We were given the task of creating a 3 sequence freeze frame with no dialouge surrounding our initial ideas. That is where we created the idea of a corrupt priest stealing from charity. I feel like that exercise was really benefical to our overrall piece and is something that when faced with devising I will revisit. Shortly after this we went straight on to creating, and within the first week we were sort of stuck and only really had the idea surrounding one scene. We each researched a certain religion, and looked into cases of monetary corruption within that religion. We then settled on Christianity as our religion, so we dove deeper into moetary corruption within the church. We didn't know how to create any more characters other then the Priest, and we initially thought of us being civilians, and only one of us knew that he was corrupt. Then I came up with the idea that we were angels, and how I even came to think about angels was that I was playing a video game in which one of the characters said:'Are you some kind of angel? Gabriel...Michael?' And in that moment I thought that I could suggest that to my group. I then researched different angels, and we were also coming up with a storyline at this point. I suggested the idea of a non-linear storyline, the only thing pushing me away from that was the fact that it was a young audience, and I wasn't sure if it would be to confusing. So with that came making sure it was extremely clear it was a flashback at the beginning. We then went on to think about dialouge. I took a large A3 sheet of paper and I started writing our first draft. I wanted to include a charactonym and after some research we landed on the name 'Father Castiel,' 'Castiel' being another word for 'Lucifer'.

When writing the first draft I also looked up the ten commandments, to which 'thou shall not steal,' is the eighth. I thought that when Father Castiel is reading the headline of the newspaper, which is: Stealing, Stealing, Stealing, the lyrics of Max Romeo's song, he says "Page 8?" as a little indication to what's to come. From here we had trouble with everyone being in at the same time, so it was hard to rehearse and write scripts for people who were not there. We managed to work around it though, and we had alot of minor script changes, even after I had typed up the offical one the night before the tech rehearsal. It was just rehearsing constantly at this point, adding minor changes in after doing it. It was more to do with staging, rather than dialogue.

first script draft

other script tests

first storyboard


https://www.worldfinance.com/banking/a-history-of-corruption-in-the-vatican-bank. - AUTHOR JULES GRAY