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Discussion in 'Drama and performing arts' started by jorb, Feb 19, 2012.
Thanks for the help
Hi Jorb -
Mine lay theirs out as above (on a landscape A3 sheet) but our sections are slightly different as we do:
1) Acting style (voice and movement/improvisation or rehearsed/positioning/entrances and exits/use of other disciplines like singing and dance etc)
2) Actor/Audience relationship (social mix of audience/distance and intimacy between audience and actors/ use of direct address and asides etc)
3) Design Elements (costume/set/sound/lighting and stage layout)
4) Themes (which themes were heightened and why? What would a modern audience understand differently to original audience?)
I make mine type them as that way they can get the full 1000 word limit on there. They also draw diagrams of the set layout and key costumes.
For each of the above sections I get them to name two specific moments from the contemporary production, so that they are able to give examples. Some of them also draw lines (with a ruler) from original to contemporary where there are direct similarities.
I think the biggest mistake students make on this unit (for Section B as well) is that they don't show their knowledge of original performance conditions enough. Every point should be grounded in historical context so that you end up with something like:
'In the 2011 production it was evident that costume was being used to highlight the different statuses of the characters. Faustus wore a suit with a waistcoat to show thta he was an educated man. This was also a suit which was desighed to look contemporary, firmly placing the adaptation in 2011. This is similar to the costuming in 1591 when the play was first produced at The Rose, as costume would have been designed to look contemporary and would also have shown the social class of a character through colour and style of dress. In both the 2011 production and in 1591, the use typical dress of the time for the central protagonist enabled the audience to relate to the character as a contemporary. As an audience member I understood that the Director was trying to establish that Faustus was relevant to me in 2011 through using a suit which I could have worn."
The students struggle to make well-rounded points which link their experience as an audience member to the history of theatre - it is really hard (even my example above is a bit wishy-washy at the end). The only way is to get them to do LOADS of practise. We are currently doing at least two practise questions per week in class - boring, but it gets them through!
I try to get them to mix practise papers with practical (they direct each other in extracts of Lysistrata so that they have experience of running rehearsals and visualising their concept). We do some practical on section C (mainly me acting in role as an Elizabethan theatre owner with them working from scripts which only give their cues and lines) but really it is a theory section!