Archive of ‘Drama 6’ category
Recently in drama we have been focusing on performance poetry. We started by saying a poem called Sweet Lips with the whole class. It was about different body parts made out of candy. After that we got a piece of paper with several different poems, and experimented with a few we liked. After that we got into groups for our final performance. I was with Tomoka, Jack and Connor. We chose to do two poems, Sleeping and Stupid Alarms, because they both were kind of about the same topic. We decided that me and Tomoka would perform Sleeping, and then Jack and Connor would do Stupid Alarms, one after the other. Right before the end of their poem, me and Tomoka got up and joined them, to finish as a group. Here is our performance:
In this unit we have been exploring different types of performance poetry. We looked at different techniques to use, like changing your voice, making patterns, and even physically being an object with your body. Performance poetry is quite interesting, because it takes several elements of drama and puts them together in one big piece. You can do almost anything while reading a poem, besides maybe mime, because you wouldn’t be able to talk. It was really fun to try to put lots of different things in our performance, because there are so many different options, and sometimes people completely forget about a few.
Before we started this unit in drama, I didn’t know much about poems, let alone using them in a performance. I always thought of rhyming words and Haiku’s, but there is so much more than that. Performance poetry is about making the words come to life, using your voice, body and imagination. I learned a lot about this topic during this unit, for example that performance poems are often written in strange shapes, or in circles or patterns, just to influence the way the people perform it. A lot of thought is put into the format and writing of the poem, and every person does something different with it. I also learned that it can be hard to get timing and order right, because in one line of the poem, Tomoka and I both shout BANG! at the same time, and during the practices we kept messing it up. Luckily in the performance we got it right, though.
I still want to know more about what professionals do when they perform, and how they think of so many good ideas. It was hard for me to figure out things like how to become a cloud or something, because in the beginning I kept doing everything straightforward. By the final performance I was better, but I could’ve improved a lot more. In performance I can use this style of poetry when I have to act something out, or just recite a poem. It makes it a lot more interesting for the audience to watch, because they can really see what’s happening right before their eyes. Overall, I think this was a really interesting unit, but also important, because it was different to the other things we have done in drama before. I can’t wait to see what we’ll do next year!
In drama we finished a unit about creative movement, which is basically dancing, but with more of a storyline and purpose. For our final assessment, we got into groups of two or three, and make up a sequence that follows a storyline. I was in a group with Rhiannu and Layna, and we made our dance about not listening. We used the song ‘Freak the Freak Out’ from the TV show Victorious, because the idea in the song is similar to our plot. It starts out with me walking in, wearing headphones and dancing around, but in most of the dance moves I accidentally hit the other two, who had just been sitting down. They start to get really annoyed, but I don’t notice until the beginning of the chorus, and I “unplug” the headphones. After that we all start dancing together. However, at the end of the song, I put the headphones back on and Layna and Rhiannu sit down again, as if nothing ever happened. Here is our video:
Because creative movement isn’t exactly the same as dance, we used real movements, and tried to make them more dramatic and creative, so that they could be used as dance moves. We mainly did this in the beginning of the song, because I didn’t want to literally smack my friends in the face. For the first move I slide between them, causing them to roll away from each other. In another one, I swing my arms around from one side to the other, which makes both of them duck to avoid being hit. In one other move I reach out my hands, elbow them in the side, and then push them away from me. In other parts of the song, we also took real movements and made them different by adding something, making them more flowing, or something else. When you’re changing the movements, you have to think about the smooth/jerky and fast/slow. Most of our movements are smooth, but a few of them were more angled and jerky. I think we kept the movements at about a medium pace, because nothing was ever extremely fast or slow during the song.
We had to include lots of things in our sequence. One of them was symmetry and asymmetry, which we definitely used, because lots of the movements were the same, and we also have one where we all bend in toward the middle. We also had lots of parts where we were doing completely different things, and that was asymmetrical. The second thing was balance and the use of level and body position. I think that we had a pretty good balance of different levels, because sometimes we’re sitting down, standing up, and at one point we even make a pyramid. I think that our timing was good most of the time, but we made a few small mistakes here and there. At first we didn’t have very good transitions between each sequence, but I think it got a lot better after we practiced more. I think that most of our gestures were clear, but we could’ve had more facial expressions (we look really bored sometimes). There was an area marked by tape that we had to stay inside so that we would be in the video, but during the pyramid, Layna’s head is cut off a bit, which we probably should’ve thought out before. The last few things: we all used the prop at some point, the story makes sense, and we stayed focused the whole time. Overall, I think we did a great job.
One thing that was a bit difficult for me was the beginning of the song, because I couldn’t hear the music through the headphones, and I kept missing the cue. When we actually performed in front of the class, the music was a lot louder, so I could hear it and everything was fine. I know we also had some difficulties with the timing, especially how long to keep the headphones on. When we passed them around, one person would always have them for only a few seconds before they had to pass them to me, because we spent too much time walking around with them on. We didn’t exactly find a solution for that problem, but luckily when we filmed we got it to the last person in time.
The unit really gave me a new perspective, because it isn’t exactly the first thing you think of when you say the word ‘dance’. Most people think of moving your arms and legs in cool ways, or ballet, or even tap dancing, but not really just taking an actual action and making it a dance move. I think that our group achieved some great things, because we really captured that idea and used it, even if you don’t notice at first. When you think about it, a lot of our movements look realistic. Watching other groups’ performances also helped, because all of the ideas put together are really encouraging, and it shows how much we’ve learned over the course of this unit.
In drama, we watched a video of Gene Kelly’s dance to the song ‘Singing in the Rain’. We have to give our opinion of it and comment on four things: props, rhythm, expression, and moving through space.
In the scene, Gene Kelly mainly uses his umbrella as a prop. He twirls it around, opens and closes it, and even pretends it’s something else. At the beginning of the song he closes it, and then puts it on his shoulder while he’s walking down the street. A bit later, he twirls it around and then flips it in the air. Shortly after that, he uses the umbrella as a guitar that he’s playing. He also swings and twirls around the umbrella (open and closed) several times while he’s tap dancing in the puddles. At one point he puts the tip on the ground and kicks it, causing the umbrella to flip around in the air until he catches it. He also uses the streetlamp pole to swing around during some parts. When he talks about love, he puts his arm around the pole, and pretends that his umbrella is a dance partner.
The rhythm in the song is very important. Not only is it in the music, but in his dancing too. Rhythm is a key concept of the song, because it’s one of the things that makes it so happy and upbeat. During many parts of the song, Gene Kelly tap dances. Of course this makes up a lot of the rhythm, and makes it more exciting. Tap dancing is a good way to create the beat of a song, because it’s creative, and fun to watch. The sound that is made is really unique, and all the different movements make it even better. The rhythm really makes the mood brighter, because if there was no rhythm, the song wouldn’t be as good.
Gene Kelly’s main expression during the song is a big, happy grin on his face. The expressions really represent the mood of the song, because he is really happy and he doesn’t care if it’s raining. He’ll sing for joy anywhere! At the very end of the song when the policeman walks up behind him, his expression changes a bit. He looks worried, because he had been splashing around in the puddles at that moment. He slowly turns around, sensing that someone is behind him, gets back up on the sidewalk, and nervously smiles at the man. Then he shrugs, and sings the last line of the song. He backs up, and the big smile returns to his face, but then he quickly walks down the street, away from the policeman.
During the song, Gene Kelly uses the space really well. Even from the beginning, he’s walking down the street, past all the shops. Sometimes he stops and does a little dance sequence in front of it, or walks in circles around it. At one point, he dances across the whole street and then back again, forming a sort of circle. He also splashes around in the puddles, and kicks the water up onto the sidewalk. Apart from that, he also performs on different height levels. For example, during the part with the lamppost, he’s standing on a higher part. He also walks on and off of the sidewalk. During one part, he pretends that the gutter between the street and the sidewalk is a tightrope, and pretends that he’s about to fall off, before continuing with the song.
Overall, I think that the whole sequence of movements is very creative, and really fits the song. Gene Kelly is a great dancer, and he clearly shows his talent in this brilliant performance.
6B Drama: Double Figures from YIS Arts on Vimeo.
In drama, we had to make a two-minute speech about someone that we know (a friend, family member, neighbour, etc.) I decided to make mine about the friend that I’ve known for the longest time: Livia. She’s from Switzerland and Italy, and I’ve known her since I was 6 months old.
My Two Minute Speech
Just like for our first speech, we had to write a reflection about the parts of modulation in our speech, like volume, pace, projection.
Volume: This time my volume was better than my first speech, but at some points I got too quiet (when I was rushing).
Pace: My pace was steady for most of the speech, but I rushed a bit too. All in all, I must have rushed a lot more than when I practiced, because my speech was one and a half minutes long, instead of two minutes.
Projection: I’m pretty sure my voice went far enough, except for when I got really quiet.
Pitch: My pitch was a bit strange during parts of the speech, when my voice would go from low to hogh to low. (It was probably when I got nervous.)
Pause: During our first speeches we didn’t have palm cards, so I paused whenever I forgot to say something, but this time we didn’t have that problem. I think I paused in the right places, but could have done it more to make what I was saying clearer and to take up more time.
Emphasis: During my speech I emphasised some the important words, but I should have done it a bit more often to make emphasis affect the speech more.
Posture & Eye Contact: I think that I looked relaxed enough while I was giving my speech, but I was also fidgeting with my palm cards a tiny bit. When watch a video of a speech, it’s hard to tell if the presenter is making eye contact with the audience, or just with the canera, but I think that’s one of the things I should try to improve on next time.
Even though I improved a lot from my first speech in the concepts of modulation, I still have lots of things to get better at in the future. I need to improve at least a bit on all the concepts, especially emphasis and pace. I think I need quite a bit more practice to get goodat speechmaking, and even though I wasn’t looking forward to it at the beginning of the unit, I’ve realized that it’s actually quite simple when you do things step by step, and I’ve learned a lot.
We had to make up and perform a one-minute speech in drama about something we like to do. At first I had no idea what to make mine about, but in the end I decided to talk about reading and writing. The main things we had to focus on to reflect on our speeches was our volume, projection, pace, pitch, pause, and mention posture or facial expressions too.
Here is a video of my speech:
My One Minute Speech
Volume: I think that I was loud enough almost all the time, there may have been a few places when my voice was too quiet.
Projection: I think my voice went far enough throughout the speech, but it’s hard to tell, because the video camera was right in front of us.
Pace: For about half of the speech my pace was pretty good, but at some points I rushed, and I was too slow when I couldn’t remember what to say.
Pitch: My voice went a bit higher than usual when I was nervous, or trying to think of something to say, but the rest of the time I think it stayed pretty normal.
Pause: I paused a few times when it made sense, but I also paused or stretched out words (if you continue saying the last syllable of a word for longer than normal) when I was trying to remember what to say next.
Throughout the speech I was fidgeting with my arms a bit, which I shouldn’t do next time, because it distracts the audience from the what the person is actually saying. The next time we do a speech, I think I can improve on almost all of the concepts of modulation.
What did I explore in this unit?
In this unit of drama we explored the ideas of improvisation. For example, we learned that O+A=S (offer+accept=scene), which means that if somebody says something that is an idea that you can go along with, you have to accept that offer, otherwise there won’t be a scene. You also have to name the ‘it’. For example:
“Look over there! It’s coming at us!”
“Yeah, we’ve got to get away from that flying cow!” (The flying cow was the it.)
What did I learn?
I learned several games that let you practice improvisation: Expert Double Figures, Statues, Space Jump, Die Story Die and One Word at a Time. In Expert Double Figures there are at least two people involved. One person talks, and the other person sits behind them and pretends to be their arms. In Statues there are three or four people that get formed into different positions and have to start a scene using those positions. Space Jump starts with one person doing an activity. After 15 seconds somebody yells ‘space jump!’ and the actor freezes. Then the second person comes onstage and starts a completely different scene using the position the person is frozen in. You keep repeating it until everyone is onstage, and then you come to a conclusion. In Die Story Die there are three or four people standing in a row and a conductor. The audience comes up with a title for the story, and the conductor points at someone. That person starts telling the story, and when the conductor points at another person they have to continue it right where the other person left off. If somebody repeats a word, hesitates or doesn’t follow the story, they have to die dramatically. When there’s only one person left, that person has to end the story. One Word at a Time is a bit similar to Die Story Die: there’s a group of people that tell a story one word at a time. The story has to make sense though, it can’t be really random.
From playing all these games, my improvisational skills have improved a lot. I’m definitely not an expert, but I’m a lot better than before.
How can I use this in performance?
If I’m in any kind of play and something goes wrong on stage, I can improvise and say something that will help keep the scene going. It will also definitely help me if I need to do a performance that is completely made up on the spot. If I hadn’t had this unit, then I would probably mess up after five seconds.
What did I know?
Before we started this unit I only knew a little bit about improvisation in drama. I knew that it was acting on the spot, and that you can’t tell someone what to do on stage (side coaching), but that was about it. I know a lot more now.
What do I want to know?
I would like to learn more games so that I can practice and do a performance for fun. I also want to know what you would do if you were performing onstage and somebody got really nervous and nobody could think of anything to do or say.
I think it was a really good thing that we learned about improvisation this year, because in the past we haven’t practiced or talked about it that much. It was a good change.