Drama Journal #7

This week’s Key Idea was special. This week, Neil Farrelly came to help make us improve our Drama skills. But Neil came to YIS so that he can teach us what “Physical Drama” is. Physical Drama is performing a play by using physical elements such as touching. Neil came to YIS so that he can help us create an original piece about “What Is Up”. We had two periods to work on this “What Is Up” play and we had to perform it to the 8th graders. He was also there to help us become better at expressing ourselves during a play.

I have a lot to say for this week’s Approach. We did a lot of warm-up activities with Neil. First, Neil taught us how to “breath”. We were just breathing for about 10 minutes. It was good practice. He told us that by taking a deep breath, you can calm down, speak louder, and express yourself better during a performance. After that, Neil told us to say “yes” to our peers when they have an idea, whether it is good or bad. By doing this you don’t kill the creativity of your friends. But our good did a horrible job on that. For 80% of the time, we said “no”. After, we did does warm-ups, we got started with our performance.

The Outcome of this week was drama skills in general. Thanks to Neil, I was able to improve on many of my acting skills. Neil taught me how to breath. This might be a basic skill in drama, but Neil helped me with breathing a lot. I also learned that I have to always say “yes” to my peers ideas. Next time when we have an activity like this, I will say “yes” to no matter how bad the idea. I hope Neil comes to visit us again next year. Performing our skit was very fun because we had a great idea and it worked out well.

My Connection for this topic is on speaking loudly. If you don’t speak loudly during a play, the audience won’t hear you and they won’t get anything from you. People need to hear your voice in the theater. Taking a deep breath consistently is also important. Another connection I can make with theater is physical acting. When I am improvising or acting, I should do more something physical. When you don’t take a breath, it will be hard for you to calm down and speak.

My Room is Relaxing Area

The collage that I made shows who I am and what my room is like. My room is actually not blue, it is white. Also I only have a desk, bed and a tennis racket in my room. On the desk I have my computer, phone, and some writing utensils. I put a blue cloth on my collage because I wanted to show that my room is calm and quiet. The blue color can make people calm down. On my collage, I had an awful amount of electronics. This is because when I am in my room, I am either finishing up my homework or texting people. Also I sleep in my room(that’s why I have a the boy sleeping). I also put a tennis racket in my collage because before I get ready for tennis practice, I always go to my room and change, get my racket, and go. I also put the Häagen-Dazs picture because I sometimes eat in my room. I spend most of my time in the living room with my family, so I had a hard time making this collage. But overall, it was fun looking through magazines and finding what fits my collage. If I could, I would totally do this assignment again.




Drama Journal #6

The Key Idea for this week is movement. Movement is the dramatic element we looked into during the previous two lessons. Movement can refer to a type of dance or mime. Movement covers how we move around stage, downstage, upstage, avoiding masking another actor. Movement helps characterization. For example a confident person would walk smoothly in big steps. Movement also explains how the characters move in relation to each other on stage. Characters can move in a friendly manner, or threateningly depending on their personality and the situation happening on stage.Movement helps create a balance and contrast between movement scenes and having scenes with dialogue only. There are many types of movement humans can do, such as standing, walking, reaching, leaping, crawling, kneeling, etc. When looking at movement, we have to concentrate on the symmetry, whether the scene is symmetrical or A symmetrical, the proximity, if the actors are close or far apart. We have to concentrate on levels, as well as the tempo, if the character is moving slowly or quickly, smoothly or jerkily.

For the Approach, we chose a word to represent as a movement freeze frame. When doing this we had to consider the level, proximity, symmetry and tempo of movement. Movement is all about how we use our bodies to represent ideas, so we mainly focused on that. We also had to represent more complicated ideas such as conformity, isolation, independence and freedom.Next, we created 4 freeze frames on the growth of a human: birth, child, adult and old age. We used movement to represent these four stages symbolically, instead of using speech. For example, instead of physically bending our backs to show we are old, we have to find a more surreal way to communicate ‘old age’ to the audience. We also had to use movement to make transitions and connect the freeze frames together.

This weeks Outcome came from when we worked on the ‘birth, child, adult, old age’ scene, it was fairly simple and straightforward to make freeze frames for birth child and old age. We struggled a bit when we created the ‘adult’ scene. We ran out of ideas. We solved this by giving the freeze frame a ‘leaving’ kind of image, where Claire is the adult, walking away from family, and friends as if there is a new start to a new life, and the others would pull and hold on to her, as if we didn’t want to let go. This worked out pretty well because we were able to effectively use space and different levels.

The Connection is that it is important to know how to incorporate movement into theatre. In theatre it is good if there is a contrast between speech and movement. Also, sometimes movement can explain a meaning or symbol better than words. The audience also decides and judges what is happening on stage based on the movement the characters are doing. Movement is significant for characterization because the way characters walk or move would have an effect on their personality and relationships between other characters. For example, if a character is being controlled, the character would be kneeling on the floor and slouching to show that they have a low authority.

Drama Journal #5

This weeks Key Idea was symbol. Actors use symbols to represent a deeper meaning that is beyond the symbol’s appearance or common impression. Symbols can be incorporated into live theatre in many different ways. Actors use props, gestures, expressions, costumes, lighting and settings to represent different symbols that help show the storyline and main theme of the play. Symbol is one of the most complicated elements of drama. This is because the use of color is helpful for the audience to distinguish symbols, however colors such as red can mean either anger or love, which is controversial.

This weeks Approach was we got into pairs and we all got a different symbol drawn on a piece of paper. Around the symbol, we wrote all the words that had an association with the symbol. We also wrote down what feelings we could get from the symbol and any scenes that could be made based on the symbol. Next, we made a group of 4 with another pair. Olle and I decided to make a group with Moe and Leo. Our symbol was a clock (time), Moe and Leo’s group had a 100 dollar bill (money) symbol. We had to find a group that had a symbol that could somehow be connected to ours. After creating groups we had to come up with a scenario with 2 scenes, one scene including one symbol, the other scene using the other symbol. Our of the many ways symbols can be  incorporated in the scene, we represented the symbols in the scene as props.

This weeks Connection with theater is that symbol is extremely significant in theatre work. The reason why I think this is because sometimes the actors should have a contrast of showing and telling. The characters in a scene should not always tell the audience what is happening or make the central theme or motifs in the scene too clear. It is more interesting for the audience if they can figure out deeper meanings from symbols themselves. The audience can think about the feelings they feel from the symbol and connect the feelings to what is happening on stage. Overall, symbols are also a quick way to explain concepts happening on stage. Also, instead of the character telling the audience what is right or wrong, symbols are controversial, therefore the audience can interpret the scene in whichever way they want to.In real life symbols are everywhere on the streets, representing different things.

Drama Journal #4

This weeks Key Idea is on how language has an effect on our performance. Language is important as it is needed in order to communicate the story to the audience. As well as using voice to expressively, the story can be communicated non-verbally, by using body language. Depending on the character the actor is playing, the characters will perform certain words used by the story’s writer. Language should allow the audience to understand the personality of the character, such as their relationship between other characters, thoughts, fears, etc. The different types of language used helps differentiate the age, cultural or geographical meanings of each character.

This weeks Approach was to change our language when we talk with different characters in different loyalty levels. To explore this, we did a scene with 2 parents and a child. It is the child’s birthday and the family is supposed to watch a movie together, but the father is late. This scene shows a contrast between how the parents talk to the child, an how the parents talk to each other. Sometimes the tone of voice changes, or sometimes the same tone of voice is used, but a weird facial expression is used to show a certain emotion.

The Outcome of the first exercise we did was quite a good outcome. I saw another groups performance and when the mother talks with the kid, she has a small and kind voice. On the other hand, when she talks with her husband, she has a loud and scary voice. The transitions in between scenes were not that smooth, and the whole scene did not seem very realistic. I liked how Kana’s group dealt with this problem. Kana was the mother in her group. Kana got mad at Solon (the dad) when Mira (the child) was still in the scene. Kana did said ‘we bought it last week, remember?’ in the same tone as she would use towards the child, however changing her facial expression to let the father understand her disappointment. This worked out very well since Kana did not change her tone of voice, the child did not notice that her parents were fighting.

The Connections that I made this week with theater is that language is important in order to identify the relationships between different characters on stage. With the human context in drama in which we studied first this year, the type of language and tone of voice a character uses relates to the status and relationship of the person the character is talking to. The character on stage would speak more informally to his/her best friend, using slang words, whereas the character would speak more politely and formally to his/her teacher. The same applies to real life situations. When any person talks to their teacher, the tone of voice used automatically becomes softer and nicer, and the language used to communicate would be formal and respectful. After school, when any person hangs out with their friends, their tone of voices becomes harsher and the choice of words used would be less selective and more random. In the future, paraphrasing is important when we will work on devising. Also, when delivering speeches or writing stories/essays in real life, we try to get our point across by using as less words as possible to be concise.

Drama Journal #3

The Key Idea in Drama Class, for the two weeks before field studies, we learned about Focus, Place, and Space. So to begin with, focus is how the actor/actress gets the audiences attention. There are many ways to get the audiences attention. First, you could do some talking. When a character talks, everyone’s attention goes there. You could walk around and do some action too.The different sections on stage are very important to remember. If a character is on downstage right or downstage center or downstage left, the character is quite an important character in the play and since he/she is in the center, everyones focus/attention will go there. But if a character is on upstage right or upstage center or upstage left, it means that they are not a very important/relevant character. No one will give attention to them.

For the Approach in class, we did many activities/practice. First, three group of people were on “stage” and they were just walking around saying nothing. That was soooooo boring. It was the worst scene in life. Later, Claire drops a pen and she says that she can’t find it. Now, the 3 had some attention from the audience. Then later, the group did there play about finding this bomb and stopping it from exploding. Once Kent found the bomb and he said, “Oh, here it is!”. Everyones face turned there. This was the scene were they totally got the audiences attention.I learned that in a play/scene, there is inside action, edge of action, and outside of action. These “focus” are important because when you have these inside action stuff, you not which action is relevant or not.

The Outcome was once we did a lot of practice on focus, place, and space, personally, I think that I did a great job on me improving in those skills. The thing that I learned and was surprized about was that the sections of a stage are from the actors view and not the audiences view. I think I was also able to build up some relationships with my classmates over this two weeks with these amazing activities.

The Connection I made is that I learned the most in this two weeks, generally about drama. We went over many elements about drama. I was kind of able to understand the importance of a director of a theater. I believe that I would have to remember these common sense information if I am going to take Drama for the rest of my school year. I think that focus is not only in drama. This skill can be used in real life like doing presentations.

Drama Journal #2

Tension and Relationship

So the Key Idea for the last two weeks were  about tension is the act of stretching or straining. So in Drama, tension is needed because by using tension you are able to get the readers attention. There are three kinds/types of tension: Task, Mystery, Relationship, and Surprise. The tension in task can be hard or important. The tension in mystery can be like suspense or an incident. Tension in relationship can be like a dilemma, conflict, or just relationships between people. Last but not least, tension in surprise can be expected or unexpected.

In the past two weeks, we played many games, but the one that stands out to me the most is the Holy Hat Game. We sit in a circle around the “Holy Hat” and we have to respect/worship the “Holy Hat”. The objective of the game is to concentrate and not laugh or talk, even if something really happens. If you laugh or talk, you have to do something “embarrassing” like dance around the hat. About 30 seconds we started the game, Mr. Meiklejohn(our leader of this ceremony) sings, “Holy Hat, Oh Holy Hat”. Now that was unexpected tension. There was complete silence before he sang this. No one was expecting this. Now I had to laugh. Later, Mr. Meiklejohn asked a person who has a lot of sense in humor to sing. Now that was expected tension because we knew that he would make us laugh. So, he sang and even Mr. Meiklejohn laughed and that was the end of the game.

So, for the tension summative assignment, we were in groups of 4 or 5. In that group, we had to make a series of two scenes or more and build tension in those scenes. In my group, we did a love/romantic scene(ooooooohhh). I think that we were able to build enough tension in the scene. Our group built tension by having many romantic scenes and some sad/mad scenes. Our first scene was a scene where two couples found out that both of them were cheating on each other and both of them broke up. Later, both of them are dating another person and they see each other on the road. They actually see each other getting proposed and proposing to the new partner. I think seeing your ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend getting proposed or proposing builds up a lot of tension. Later, the girl who broke up talks to her grandfather and the grandfather eventually tells her to go and date the boy again. At this time the boy was also thinking about getting back with the girl. So on the day of the wedding of the boy, the girl also comes. When the priest asks if the boy will accept the new partner as his wife, he says no. Then he says that he loves the girl who he broke up with. And at the end, they kiss. So, as I said before, our group built quite a lot of tension.

The outcome of the past two weeks was that I was able to improve my romantic skills(nice right). No, that is not what I gained during this past two weeks. I have learned how to create/build tension. I think that tension is a big part of drama and when you have tension in your scenes, you will grab the audiences attention. But, I think I need to improve on my skills of creating tension. To create tension, I will look at people who are good at creating tension and “copy” them and learn from them(standing on giants shoulders).

The connection of live theater and our past two weeks was that all the things we did, I think all the people who act in theater go through this stage. Also, in real life theater, tension is used a lot.