Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oh, the Drama!

Today, our first ever (as in first for Geoff & me), intrepid pioneers of the world of VCE drama, completed their solo exam performances. This is our first year of teaching unit 3/4 Drama. Like most things in life we do it as a team, and while that in itself is not without tension sometimes ;-), it's nice to be able to share the highs and lows of working with these amazing young people in a subject that is, surprisingly, as academically rigourous as it is creative. It's scary though, to do something for the first time and we can only hope we are learning fast enough to keep in front of the kids and give them the best shot at being successful.

35% of the total marks for the year for Drama are externally assessed via a 7 minute performance. The students have to write the script themselves from one of 10 prescribed structures and stimulus. Within that 7 minutes they have to show a particular dramatic style, a number of dramatic elements and transform themselves into a range of characters who, in turn, transform through time and place with just a single prop. It's pretty demanding stuff. We've been working on these solos for 7 weeks now. There's been a fair amount of scolding, cajoling, encouraging, pleading and advising going on. As you would expect, some worked harder than others but in the end I think everyone gave it their best effort and today was the day.

What a tension packed experience! On a scale of don't care at all to having a baby, it was right up there. I actually found it very similar to coaching netball teams in grand finals. No matter how good the preparation, there was that feeling that you should be cramming a bit more feedback, a little more advice, just doing something, to get them over the line. That dreadful separation anxiety of not even being able to be in the room while they performed was like dropping your first born off at daycare! What if they forgot their words and you weren't there to prompt? What if they were going too fast and you couldn't give them the slow down signal?

In the end, as we knew they would, everyone came through with flying colours. There were no lost lines and no disasters. All performances filled their allotted time. They didn't need me to be there and that's a sign that we've done our job well. And so have they.We don't get the marks for a couple of months yet but really, in the scheme of things, the marks are sort of irrelevant. As I said to one of the kids today, drama solos are a life experience worth banking. Once you've bared  your soul with seven minutes of non naturalistic theatre, on an empty stage in front of three complete strangers, who hold the key to part of your immediate future in their hands, and survived...why you can do anything :-)

So to "The Family Car", "Mrs Lovett", Meip Gies", "Jeeves" and the other "Family Car', congratulations and well done. We couldn't be prouder of you.

Now get back to work and study for the written exam!!

1 comment:

  1. Yes it was a wonderful day and I would add my praise and respect and recognition to those wonderful 5.
    Thanks for taking us on the journey with you.