Tag Archives: WOOF

The Blackadder Threesome: status games and power

In drama at school we used to play a warm-up game that involved cutting a deck of cards to determine each character’s status. We’d be given a scenario, let’s say person A is a teenager who’s broken a vase during a house party while their parents were away, and B and C are the parents returning home. If you just tell people to play what they think those characters should do, the scene will run in a fairly obvious way. Parents discover the accident, interrogate their kid about how the breakage happened, the child is suitably apologetic/nervous of the consequences, etc. However, if you have each person cut the deck of cards and replay the scene, this time assuming status and power depending on which card they got, things look very different. Let’s say the kid gets a Jack or a Queen, Mum gets a 9 and Dad picks a 2. Now the kid has the most power, and might end up berating their parents for owning something so expensive in the first place. Mum is the kid’s semi-obsequious sidekick, agreeing with him while occasionally sniping at Dad for not anticipating that this might happen before he booked their weekend away. Dad grovels before both of them, frantically trying to make amends for an accident that, in his low-status role, he’s entirely reframed as his fault. See what I mean? Status isn’t inherent to each character, it’s determined by the luck of the draw. And status, power and playfulness are all at the heart of my idea for a Blackadder Threesome. Here’s one for all the horny switches.