Board Of Studies Drama Essays

There are two parts to this task.

  • Part A – performance essay (20 marks)
  • Part B – two extended responses of between 400 and 600 words each (10 marks each)

Outcomes

A student:

H1.2 uses performance skills to interpret and perform other scripted material
H2.2 uses dramatic and theatrical elements effectively to engage an audience
H2.3 demonstrates directorial skills for theatre and other media
H2.4 appreciates the dynamics of drama as a performing art
H3.1 critically applies understanding of the cultural, historical and political contexts that have influenced specific drama and theatre practitioners, styles and movements
H3.2 analyses, synthesises and organises knowledge, information and opinion in coherent, informed oral and written responses
H3.3 demonstrates understanding of the actor-audience relationship in various dramatic and theatrical styles and movements.

© Board of Studies, Drama Stage 6 Syllabus, 2009

Task description

PART A (20 Marks) – performance essay – in groups of 1–3 present a performance essay for the following question.

How are the elements of drama manipulated to engage the audience in the two plays you have studied?

Each person in the group is to consider one element of drama. Each person’s section of the performance essay must be submitted in writing. Each person has a performance time limit of 3–5 minutes.

PART B (20 Marks) – extended response questions

  1. To what extent are the plays you have studied a reflection of Australian society? Your answer should consider the views of the playwrights, and the social, historical and cultural references the plays make in regards to Australian society.
  2. How do the plays you have studied accept or reject the conventions of traditional Australian drama? Your answer should show an appreciation of how the style of realism is manipulated in both plays.

Write 400–600 words for each response.

Performance essay

A performance essay is a moved presentation of the theoretical information inside an essay. It is usually done in documentary style with a narrator moving in, out, and around selected scene extracts – explaining their relevance to the question. The key to a good performance essay is to ensure the information is informative and engaging.

The following example is an extract from a performance essay showing how the dramatic element of tension is manipulated in Act III of the Thornton Wilder play, Our Town. The text is read aloud by a narrator while the extracts from the play are performed by both the narrator and another actor.

Following the funeral of Emily we see an attempt by her to return to the world of the living. This ultimately, unsuccessful attempt, creates tension between the two worlds of ‘life’ and ‘death’.

[The actors playing Emily and Mrs Webb begin to act out the scene. They freeze at the point where Emily tries to tell her mother she is dead.]

You will have noticed the characters seem unwilling to look at each other. By employing this simple technique of movement, in this case no eye contact between the characters, significant tension is created. As an audience we are longing for Emily’s mother to acknowledge her daughter, but we know this cannot happen.

[The actors continue to act out the scene until Emily is 'ready to go back'.]

Emily's final departure presents an unresolved climax. She has died and there is no chance for her to gain closure with what she acknowledges is a lacklustre past. There is also significant dramatic irony within the scene as we, the audience, know that Emily is dead, whereas Mrs Gibbs is unaware of this fact. This creates a sense of dread, in that we know there is much sadness ahead for the family.

Marking guidelines – Part A

These guidelines are used to mark the collaborative task.

MarksCriteria
17–20
  • Demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of both plays in relation to the chosen elements of drama.
  • Presents relevant examples in a highly engaging and sophisticated manner on stage.
  • Answers the question in a cohesive and coherent manner.
13–16
  • Demonstrates a thorough understanding of both plays in relation to the chosen elements of drama.
  • Presents relevant examples in an engaging and considered manner on stage.
  • Answers the question in a cohesive and coherent manner.
9–12
  • Demonstrates a sound understanding of both plays in relation to the chosen elements of drama, one play may be dealt with in more detail than the other.
  • Presents examples in a somewhat engaging and generally cohesive manner on stage manner on stage.
  • Answers the question in a coherent manner.
5–8
  • Demonstrates a basic understanding of both plays in relation to elements of drama.
  • Presents examples which are inconsistent with the chosen element/s of drama with limited consideration of staging.
  • Attempts to answer the question in a somewhat coherent manner.
1–4
  • Demonstrates limited understanding of the play/s in relation to elements of drama.
  • Examples do not reflect chosen element of drama.
  • Limited response.

Marking guidelines – Part B

Each of the two responses is marked separately.

MarksCriteria
9–10
  • Demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of both plays in relation to the question.
  • Demonstrates exemplary knowledge of the content and theatrical techniques of both plays in relation to the question.
  • Answers the question in a cohesive and coherent manner.
7–8
  • Demonstrates a thorough understanding of both plays in relation to the question.
  • Demonstrates thorough knowledge of the content and theatrical techniques of both plays in relation to the question.
  • Answers the question in a cohesive and coherent manner.
5–6
  • Demonstrates a sound understanding of both plays in relation to the question, one play may be discussed in more detail than the other.
  • Demonstrates sound knowledge of the content and theatrical techniques of both plays in relation to the question.
  • Answers the question in a coherent manner.
3–4
  • Demonstrates basic understanding of the play/s in relation to the question.
  • Demonstrates basic knowledge of the content and theatrical techniques of the play/s in relation to the question.
  • Attempts to answer the question in a somewhat coherent manner.
1–2
  • Demonstrates limited knowledge or understanding of the play/s or the theatrical techniques.
  • Presents limited response.
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2015 Notes from the Marking Centre – Drama

Introduction

This document has been produced for the teachers and candidates of the Stage 6 Drama course. It contains comments on candidate responses to the 2015 Higher School Certificate examination, highlighting their strengths in particular parts of the examination and indicating where candidates need to improve.

This document should be read along with:

Practical Examinations

Group Performance

Characteristics of stronger group performances:

  • a clear and fully developed concept that showed flair, creativity and innovation was presented
  • the audience was fully engaged throughout the performance
  • an appropriate and effective structure was employed
  • a unity of purpose was demonstrated, by which each dramatic moment contributed to the meaning of the piece
  • the elements of drama, for example, focus, tension, symbol, space and mood, were manipulated and controlled
  • defined and sustained roles/characters with a physical, psychological and emotional truth were created
  • a theatrical ‘world’ was created by performers and was signified clearly for the audience
  • the performance skills of the candidates were appropriate to the dramatic and theatrical demands of the purpose and style of the performance.

Characteristics of weaker group performances:

  • a developed concept emerging out of research was lacking
  • an incoherent and/or superficial performance was presented
  • disconnected and often unrelated scenes were presented with awkward, unmotivated and superficial transitions, for example blackouts or entrances and exits
  • minimal reference to the chosen style was demonstrated
  • characters or roles that lacked clarity in identity and motivation were created, often displaying unidimensionality and little physicality
  • characters who engaged in limited interaction with other characters/roles were created and there was an inconsistent ability to work as an ensemble
  • performances lacked integrity because of their over-reliance on sets, props, music, sound or lighting special effects, exits and entrances, or other production elements.

Individual Project: Performance

Characteristics of stronger individual performances:

  • well-rehearsed, complete and clear theatrical journeys for their characters were presented, derived from a thorough action/objective analysis of the text
  • an understanding of the role of the audience in the performance was demonstrated and that relationship was manipulated
  • an understanding of the conventions of the style adopted for the performance was demonstrated
  • characters were realised in each moment with absolute conviction, clarity and truth
  • dramatic elements such as rhythm, pace, timing, mood, atmosphere and dramatic tension were effectively utilised
  • pieces that suited the performance skills, abilities and strengths of the candidates were selected.

Characteristics of weaker individual performances:

  • performances were presented with little theatricality, and were often simplistic and without a clear or complete theatrical shape or structure
  • scripts demonstrated minimal or no analysis of dramatic elements, including moments and turning points 
  • little or no awareness of the audience was demonstrated
  • an over-reliance on song, dance or production elements, for example music, lighting effects and props
  • lack of spatial awareness, which resulted in unmotivated movement, aimless wandering or inappropriate use of the space
  • one-dimensional, unmotivated characters with little internal or external energy or belief were presented
  • scripts from film or TV were presented without theatricality
  • scripts or improvised pieces that demonstrated a lack of directorial choices were used.

Individual Project: Critical Analysis

Portfolio of Theatre Criticism

Characteristics of stronger projects:

  • particular theatrical elements, such as the play’s ideas, directorial choices, acting, performance style, set, costume, lighting or sound design that created dramatic meaning for the audience were identified, selected and evaluated
  • relevant theatrical elements that made the production unique, gave it shape or created impact were identified
  • evaluations were supported, substantiated and justified with specific reference to key moments from the performance viewed
  • perceptive and accurate observations were embedded, informed or supported by research or evidence
  • an appropriate and authoritative reviewer’s voice, sometimes for a particular publication, was used.

Characteristics of weaker projects:

  • theatrical elements were identified but not expanded upon with reference to specific moments to justify their opinion 
  • generalisations were made that often provided simplistic, hyperbolic or inappropriate justification for their evaluations
  • events/characters/moments on stage were described without further analysis
  • an appropriate reviewer’s voice was not created, or the voice did not alter to suit the target audience.

Applied Research Project:

Characteristics of stronger projects:

  • a breadth and depth of initial research was demonstrated that led to a hypothesis that was original, focused and manageable
  • a substantial range of resources and effective research tools were sourced, analysed and synthesised, using primary and secondary sources, and, when appropriate, their own practice to draw insightful conclusions
  • sophistication, confidence and authority were demonstrated in the use of language, style and structure
  • the hypothesis was expressed as a statement or open-ended question that allowed for depth and breadth of research.

Characteristics of weaker projects:

  • a predictable, inappropriate (too broad or overly narrow) or unmanageable hypothesis that was difficult to research and/or prove was presented
  • minimal, incomplete, inappropriate or irrelevant data or research was relied on that often did not substantiate the hypothesis
  • projects were presented that lacked attention to detail, such as formatting, editing, footnoting, punctuation and syntax, or were substantially under the word limit.

Director’s Folio

Characteristics of stronger projects:

  • directors’ visions were presented that were inspired by the play rather than imposed on the play
  • extensive knowledge and understanding of the play’s ideas, dramatic elements, style and staging demands were demonstrated by producing a highly effective realisation on stage
  • a sophisticated awareness of how elements of drama can be manipulated through directorial and design choices to create dramatic meaning and engaging theatre was demonstrated
  • the intended audience experience was clearly articulated throughout the project
  • rehearsal techniques with the actors were clearly linked to the intended theatrical experience for the audience. Selected techniques showed relevance and restraint in aiding the realisation of the concept
  • a thorough understanding of how the visual elements worked together to clearly communicate the concept on stage was demonstrated.

Characteristics of weaker projects:

  • a superficial engagement with the play was demonstrated and an undeveloped, inappropriate, impractical or imposed directorial concept, often focusing on theme, was presented
  • the historical, social and political context and stylistic demands of the play were often discarded
  • an understanding of the practicalities of staging the production was lacking, and inappropriate or impractical design concepts or design concepts did not support the directorial vision
  • specific analysis of the text was lacking, such as how the ideas and characters in the play would be realised according to the director's vision
  • a superficial approach to working with the actors which stated the obvious was provided, for example saying that actors would read the play.

Individual Project: Design

Lighting

Characteristics of stronger projects:

  • audience engagement was deliberately manipulated through highly appropriate atmosphere and mood choices that transported the audience into a world appropriate to the play
  • a unified design was clearly evident in all aspects of the work, including the candidate’s vision for the lighting rig plan, choices and colours on the rigging sheets, articulated time cues and an accurate, easy-to-follow running script
  • well-plotted cues were presented that created areas of focus, mood and atmosphere, and dramatic meaning
  • support material demonstrated clear links between the intended lighting states and the equipment selected to deliver these design choices.

Characteristics of weaker projects:

  • a poorly articulated directorial vision of lighting design choices was presented
  • inappropriate and/or impractical technical choices were made when selecting lanterns (especially regarding the strength of chosen lights to cover key staging requirements), rigging positions, angle and direction, circuit loads and channel allocations
  • inappropriate colour choices and/or overly simplified symbolic colour gels were employed without taking into account the mixing of colour on stage
  • a few varied lights were used as a substitute for a full, well-justified rig that would leave areas of the stage in darkness, or designs were presented using simple washes or strong colour
  • too many lighting changes overwhelmed or distracted from the dramatic meaning of the chosen scenes.

Costume

Characteristics of stronger projects:

  • a clear vision of the chosen play as a theatrical performance was presented
  • the vision was conveyed effectively so that it could be visualised on stage
  • characters were presented that effectively communicated the whole world of the play
  • a clear understanding of the individual costume requirements of each character within an overall concept was shown
  • colour and texture were used effectively to enhance the themes and reflect the mood of the chosen play
  • strong support material that was consistent with the designs and reflected the fabric and texture shown in their projects was provided
  • designs were presented clearly and allowed the renderings to ‘speak for themselves’
  • costumes were designed for characters that reflected the central themes of the play
  • there was evidence of a thorough and well-researched design process
  • rendering techniques were appropriately theatrical
  • renderings clearly showed the character in a moment of action on stage
  • the journey of the play was shown through selection of characters and scenes.

Characteristics of weaker projects:

  • work that was undersized and/or incomplete was presented
  • projects presented as ‘fashion design’ rather than theatrical
  • an inappropriate selection of characters and/or scenes that did not reflect the journeys of the play was chosen
  • a cohesive concept was lacking, or a concept was imposed rather than being developed from a study of the play
  • the required number of renderings were not presented
  • four additional costumes for the play were not presented as stated in the project requirements
  • adequate support material was not provided
  • fabric swatches were whole items of clothing or were disproportionate to the size of the renderings
  • fabric swatches were not used or did not connect with their renderings
  • there was no differentiation between the various characters in the play, or aspects of status and context were ignored
  • costumes were not designed to support the dramatic or technical needs for the selected characters in the chosen play
  • the needs of, and requirements for, actors wearing the costumes were not considered.

Promotion and program

Characteristics of stronger projects:

  • the world of the play including its themes, subject matter, style, characters, symbols and mood was clearly communicated through visual design choices in the poster, flyer and program
  • a carefully sequenced and believable marketing/publicity journey was developed through all components of the project working together; the poster and flyer were aesthetically appealing and eye catching and appropriate ‘actors’ who are the right age for characters in the play, as well as costuming and set or props that were convincing for the image/concept were used
  • a thorough knowledge of the world of the play and the chosen theatre company’s appeal to an appropriate target audience was demonstrated in the written materials
  • branding was appropriate and convincing if the chosen theatre company was an existing professional company and sophisticated language appropriate to purpose and function of the written items of flyer copy, program items, and media feature story was used
  • where candidates created their own theatre company, a convincing profile was developed with the use of an appropriate name, logo, location, target audience and personnel
  • a clear and appropriate use of the director’s voice in the Director’s Notes section of the program was developed
  • a detailed program, which was properly sequenced and took the audience further into the production via both written material and visual images and layout was developed.
  • images of cast and crew in the program were appropriate to the theatre company profile, the chosen play and selected character(s)
  • a fully completed copy of the program in the correct size format and a flyer in an appropriate small size format was provided.

Characteristics of weaker projects:

  • a limited knowledge of the chosen set text was displayed
  • simplistic, cluttered, clichéd images and/or images from past productions were used
  • inappropriate visual and written choices were made showing little understanding of the world of the play, the chosen theatre company and the intended target audience
  • an understanding of the separate function/purpose of each element of the project was not shown
  • an understanding of the profile of the chosen established theatre company and its stylistic promotional approach was lacking
  • unrealistic casting and other items inappropriate to the theatre company profile, the chosen play and selected character(s)were used in the program
  • there was no clear sequence and some essential components such as Director’s note or cast information were missing
  • visual images and text were pixelated or at a poor resolution
  • the poster, program or flyer were not presented in the appropriate size format
  • written material lacked originality and was repeated across all areas
  • the flyer copy was significantly less than 150 words and the media article was significantly less than 500 words.

Set

Characteristics of stronger projects:

  • a scenic breakdown was completed early in the design process
  • a sophisticated concept for the whole play was presented, which evoked a clear theatrical experience through highly appropriate design/visual choices in the context of the chosen theatre
  • the historical period and style was researched widely
  • sets that supported the dramatic action, mood and setting of the chosen scene were constructed, while still considering the whole world of the play and later scene changes
  • appropriate building materials were selected to support the concepts
  • support material with clear floor plans and scene changes, which included detailed prop placement, a 1:25 scaled figure and sightlines for the audience( taken from the extreme seating positions in the theatre) and a scenic breakdown was submitted
  • the elements of drama, such as space, mood and atmosphere, evoking both an emotional and physical space were used
  • the form and style of their plays was clearly understood
  • a strong understanding of how proxemics was used in the sets and how a director could use them for character status, change in time and relationships was demonstrated
  • an understanding that the model box and descriptions that form this project are intended to communicate to a theatre workshop department, actors and the director
  • a realisation of the logistics of the whole play, such as WHS, exits and entrances was apparent
  • sets were designed in the context of a specific theatre with special consideration paid to the actor, audience relationship and sightlines
  • sturdy and well-finished set models that fulfilled all the project’s requirements were produced, especially with regard to scale, and with all components of the project clearly labelled
  • a rationale that was about the concept not the construction process was provided.

Characteristics of weaker projects:

  • an isolated scene was presented without providing a clear intention for the use of the stage space
  • the design was not supported by the ideas and/or issues in the play or the play’s style
  • there was little consideration of the manipulation of the actor–audience relationship in the location of key playing areas
  • the practicalities of the set within the space of the theatre were not considered and exits and entrances were often not shown
  • dioramas rather than sets were created, indicating a lack of understanding of theatrical context
  • floor plans were chosen that did not provide sightlines (specifically from the audience’s perspective) of stage properties within the context of the theatre space
  • poor choices in the selection of construction materials that did not clearly communicate the stage design were made, for example pencil colouring to suggest dirt or a road rather than using a textured surface
  • details in documentation, such as measurements, descriptions of where the action for each scene would take place and how set pieces would be moved were lacking
  • an inappropriate mode of presenting the design was selected, for example choosing computer-aided design when building a model may have been a stronger or more appropriate choice
  • models were not constructed to a 1:25 scale or were made of inappropriate materials, demonstrating an insufficient awareness of colour and texture
  • a USB as well as any print-outs of the set design were not included when submitting a computer-generated design
  • minimal research was demonstrated, often drawing on past productions/films for inspiration rather than engaging directly with the text and examining the appropriate historical period.

Individual Project: Scriptwriting

General comments

Characteristics of stronger projects:

  • a sophisticated understanding of the scriptwriting process and product was demonstrated, clearly engaging the audience in an authentic and believable theatrical experience appropriate to their chosen style
  • a sustained theatrical concept was developed, creating a coherent world with a clarity of purpose through an engaging journey for the characters and for the audience
  • evidence of wide reading and research, embedded carefully and thoughtfully to create believable situations, status and voices was provided
  • dramatic action was manipulated with flair and precision, displaying both control and insight in the use of the elements of drama; particularly rhythm, mood and tension
  • advantage was taken of the unique qualities of live performance and production elements, technical aspects and the practicalities of staging were manipulated appropriately
  • sustained, evocative, precise stage directions were used to create visual and verbal images that revealed the use, for exampleof symbol and motif, and consistently framed the dramatic action
  • a sophisticated use of language to write appropriate, distinct and authentic character voices and relationships which reflected a thorough development and knowledge of character and built relationships on stage that allowed the characters to impact on each other
  • technical effects such as sound, lighting and projection were used in a judicious way that was meaningful and relevant to the world of the play, serving the concept and the chosen dramatic form.

Characteristics of weaker projects:

  • projects lacked structural and/or thematic complexity and/or coherence
  • scripts contained dramatic action lacking in direction and/or resolution, paying insufficient attention to the needs of the audience, the actors or director
  • scripts contained action hindered by poor transitions and impractical stage requirements, such as multiple restriking of the set and several costume changes
  • issues, concepts or topics  were dealt with in an unoriginal or overly derivative manner, and in a manner which did not reflect the candidate’s individual voice
  • concepts, plots, characterisation and/or scene structures which were essentially screenplays rather than live theatre narrators
  • voice-overs and/or off-stage action, technical effects (such as projection and film) and set and/or prop changes were overused and adversely affected audience engagement
  • characters were created with an implausible emotional range, depicted by melodramatic action and lack of awareness of actor’s vocal control, for example, shouting and stamping; heightened entrances and exits
  • the published specifications for the project were not met.

Individual Project: Video Drama

Characteristics of stronger projects:

  • a clear understanding of the story and where the audience was placed in relation to that story was demonstrated
  • an understanding of the conventions and screenwriting demands of a short film was evident
  • control of the elements of drama was demonstrated in the narrative, including character, tension, focus, mood, pace, time, space, and symbol
  • an understanding of mise-en-scene, including attention to detail and informed choices about everything the camera saw (location, costume, casting and lighting) was apparent
  • the visual elements supported the dramatic narrative and showed an ability to relate the story/narrative using images
  • camera shots were carefully controlled to reveal and create dramatic meaning
  • tripod use was appropriate
  • post-production elements were used to enhance and layer meaning
  • control of the pace and timing of the film in the editing process was evident
  • music was used skilfully to enhance the dramatic meaning and not to drive the narrative.

Characteristics of weaker projects:

  • a poor understanding of the conventions and screenwriting demands of a short film was shown
  • works were derivative and based on recent television programming
  • the camera was used as a recording device without exercising control of shot size, length and angle
  • an over-reliance on wide shots
  • hand-held camera shots were used without a clear dramatic purpose or in a way that worked against audience engagement with the narrative
  • footage was out of focus or difficult to see due to poor lighting
  • live sound was of a poor quality
  • inappropriate choices with regard to casting, or actors with little or no dramatic skill were used
  • collages of shots and images, or stock footage was used without any clear dramatic purpose
  • an over-reliance on special effects or over-used effects in post-production led to poor image quality
  • editing was used to merely link scenes without exercising control of pace and timing to build tension
  • the setting of live sound and added music at very different volume levels indicated poor control of sound levels in post-production.

Written Examination

Section I - Australian Drama and Theatre

Candidates showed strength in these areas:

  • interpreting the question within a physical performance space and including insightful reference to how one or more of set, proxemics, stage types, intimate and larger spaces affected the audience, with reference to specific examples from the studied texts
  • using appropriate, relevant and detailed references to experiential learning (workshops and theatre visits) as supporting evidence to explain both the use of space and the effect on the audience, with direct reference to key moments in the studied texts
  • making reference to production elements or elements of drama and specific reference to the shaping of meaning in response to the question
  • applying an insightful connection between context and space that showed a holistic understanding of the subtle nuances of the form specific to traditions.

Candidates need to improve in these areas:

  • interpreting or discussing space and/or its effect on a specific audience and supporting a conclusion with evidence
  • responding to the requirements of the question rather than recounting the action of the play.

Section II – Studies in Drama and Theatre

Question 2 – Tragedy

Candidates showed strength in these areas:

  • addressing the question explicitly, identifying and explaining the connection between the construction of tension and the tragic vision
  • providing a comprehensive, balanced and thorough discussion of both plays as theatre
  • demonstrating insightful ideas about how the plays might be staged and linking these to the question directly
  • supporting an argument with highly relevant examples from their own workshop experiences, productions or imagined directorial choices.

Candidates need to improve in these areas:

  • directly addressing all components of the question
  • linking aspects of the question such as ‘tension’ to the construction of a ‘tragic vision’
  • responding to the requirements of the question rather than recounting the action of the play
  • exploring the theatricality of the plays
  • making reference to relevant workshop experiences.

Question 3 – Approaches to Acting

Candidates showed strength in these areas:

  • responding insightfully and comprehensively by discussing the actor training techniques specific to each practitioner
  • responding insightfully to the way the contemporary theatre practice was informed by the practitioner's training techniques
  • using relevant and insightful examples of both their classroom workshop experiences and class performance work in the style of the practitioners and other contemporary production examples.

Candidates need to improve in these areas:

  • explicitly addressing all aspects of the question
  • providing personal workshop experience/class performance work and/or contemporary production evidence to support the discussion
  • defining understanding of techniques
  • understanding the techniques and practices of practitioners.

Question 4 – Verbatim Theatre

Candidates showed strength in these areas:

  • examining the specific challenges present in the construction process of Verbatim theatre from many perspectives, including playwright and actor, and also the challenges presented in the staging of Verbatim theatre
  • discussing the tension between authenticity and theatricality, and also substantiating ideas with insightful examples
  • examining and reflecting on the construction and performance of their own verbatim theatre piece
  • including balanced and relevant references to both plays studied
  • examining how the manipulation of theatrical conventions, such as the fourth wall, structure of particular stories, the impact of the writing process and particular techniques have a deliberate impact on the creation of truth.

Candidates need to improve in these areas:

  • offering more than a synopsis of the plays studied or the known factors faced by the playwrights in assembling the plays
  • providing evidence of their classroom experiences of Verbatim or their own experience of constructing their own Verbatim theatre piece
  • interacting with the notion of challenges in Verbatim theatre and engaging specifically with the texts
  • engaging with evidence from both texts
  • interpreting how the texts balance truth and theatricality or using this knowledge to support an argument  rather than retelling the plot of both plays or recounting the process involved in creating each play
  • exploring rather than listing dramatic techniques used in Verbatim theatre.

Question 5 – Black Comedy

Candidates showed strength in these areas:

  • addressing all aspects of the question insightfully, especially how discomfort and humour manipulated and provoked the audience to think specific and detailed thoughts
  • supporting their discussion with comprehensive and relevant evidence about how audiences were provoked, via techniques of discomfort and humour, into specific serious thought
  • referring to specific and pertinent conventions and techniques of Black Comedy
  • having a clear thesis that was maintained throughout the response.

Candidates need to improve in these areas:

  • responding to the question rather than recounting the plot or simply describing the humorous/discomforting moments in the play without reference to serious thought
  • having accurate knowledge of Black Comedy conventions and techniques and how they work to manipulate the audience, for example, dramatic irony
  • providing relevant supporting evidence from experiential workshops.

Question 6 – Multi-Discipline Theatre

Candidates showed strength in these areas:

  • addressing the question insightfully by describing how the dramatic meaning was created on stage from the perspective of the designer, director, actor or audience
  • conveying a full appreciation and understanding of the texts set for study as well as their own piece created in class
  • linking processes and rehearsal strategies to powerful moments on stage
  • showing that the audience’s understanding of an idea or concept is shaped by a theatre- maker’s approach to their practice
  • explaining how dramatic meaning on stage is linked to audience engagement in a precise way, speaking of the layers of dramatic meaning made possible by MDT practitioners and how this is different to more traditional theatre makers
  • discussing the nature of MDT being a hybrid of theatrical techniques that combine to create powerful dramatic meaning on stage.

Candidates need to improve in these areas:

  • providing more than just a biography of the practitioner without referring to the question
  • referring to their own devised piece
  • using evidence to support their argument.

Question 7 – Significant Plays of the 20th Century

Candidates showed strength in these areas:

  • addressing all parts of the question explicitly and possibly concurrently
  • identifying the shift in theatrical paradigm in a concise way
  • presenting a coherent argument with clarity and sophistication
  • linking workshop experiences and/or experiences of being an audience member of a professional production to the words ‘change and challenge’ from the quotation.

Candidates need to improve in these areas:

  • considering the question focus rather than retelling the plot and themes of the play
  • linking workshop experiences to the ‘challenges’ the audience might experience
  • exploring the theatrical paradigms present before each one of the significant plays were staged
  • responding to the question rather than using a prepared response.

Question 8 – Japanese Traditional and Contemporary Theatre

Candidates showed strength in these areas:

  • writing a sustained response that addressed the requirements of the question
  • identifying symbolic features from their traditional play/form such as movement, makeup, costumes, physical environment an actor–audience relationship
  • using judicious workshop examples and/or quotes from the traditional works to show how the symbols worked in practice
  • identifying symbolic features of Suzuki’s contemporary practice, such as movement, connection to the earth, physical environment, modern symbolic costume (or lack of it), actor–audience relationship
  • using judicious workshop examples of Suzuki exercises or the application Suzuki techniques to various texts
  • showing understanding of the connections between the traditional and contemporary forms.

Candidates need to improve in these areas:

  • addressing the question explicitly throughout the response
  • recounting relevant workshop experiences
  • providing evidence from the traditional play, and focusing on either the traditional or contemporary form.

 

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