2009 Short Solo Performance Characters

Every 12 months in Year 12 Drama, my students undertake a brief task of constructing and performing a short 2-minute solo performance.

The purpose of the task is for the student to understand the processes involved in the task that immediately follows it, a more demanding 7-minute solo performance examination.

This task, however, is set internally by the teacher, so Drama teachers around Melbourne and regional areas set a variety of different structures for this activity.

I offer my students the opportunity to research a subculture of their choice and perform a typical character complete with language, mannerisms and gestures, vocal expressions and behaviour. They also have to briefly transform into a minor secondary character, and along with this, transform place and object (prop).

The toughest aspect of this task is also where the students learn the most: their ability to successfully edit material. Let’s face it, creating a 2-minute solo performance is not particularly difficult, but editing every piece of content one has originally created is the hard part.

This year, we had another fascinating list of subculture characters and some wonderful performances. Most of my students deliberately avoided cliched subculture characters and many opted for highly unusual choices. We also saw a few historical subculture characters this year, including one from Nazi Germany (Zazous) and another from late 18th century London (Dandy).

Here’s a full list of subculture characters performed in my Year 12 Drama class last week:

  • Hip Hop
  • Zazous
  • Indie Kid
  • Riot Grrrl
  • Dandy
  • You Tube Blogger
  • Hardline
  • In-Crowd
  • Poser
  • Surfie
  • New Romantic
  • Fanatical Football Fan
  • Terrorist
  • Trekker
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6 Responses

  1. admin says:

    Matt,

    I don’t have a handout or sheet as such, but you can always get a few clues by doing some research on various theatre practitioners and styles at my other website, Justin’s Theatre Links. You’ll find links to the info you need on the homepage: http://www.theatrelinks.com/

    I usually teach theatre styles and conventions to my own students out of my head, but I know other teachers have developed handouts for their students, instead. Maybe I’ll write one up and post it….

    Cashy

  2. admin says:

    aprayerbeforebirth,

    I always say, good research = a good script = more than half way to a good performance/grade. So, I’m not sure how much research you have done on your chosen subculture, but this list of various subcultures is a start, anyway: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_subcultures

    Try these as starting points:

    – ensure you have appropriate (or typical) setting/s for your performance (locations/environments)
    – ensure you have written a script that utilises typical language of your subculture (typical words, phrases, sayings etc)
    – your research into your subculture will have highlighted typical behaviour and/or mannerisms. So, this should assist with scenes in your plot (work out what to do in the performance from the research)
    – from here, it should be a pretty simple case of working with your four expressive skills of voice, movement, facial expression and gesture perhaps in combination with the two performance skills of presence and energy and you should have a fabulous performance!

    All the best with it.

    Cashy

  3. Matt says:

    I was wandering if i could get some help. Im a year 12 drama student who is -ok- at remembering theatre styles ect. however i am feeling a little lost after ensembles and was wandering if i could get some help (eg. a sheet with theatre styles and conventions on it) to aid me in remembering each styles conventions… Thanks heaps

  4. aprayerbeforebirth says:

    Justin

    Im a 3,4 drama student having abit of trouble with my short solo i have afew sub cultures that i have in mind that i get into character quite well like a metro-sexual, an extremist hippy and surfer but i having trouble fleshing out a good story line to capture their lives. Any tips on how i should approach it?

  5. Cashy says:

    Fantastic! Be sure to comment here when they’re done and let us know the character choices etc. One of the reasons I find this task so fascinating is that, in terms of choice, the list of subcultures is ever-growing (well into the hundreds) and so the students not only engage with the task, but make some really interesting decisions along the way. Never a dull moment in this task 🙂

  6. micoke says:

    Justin,

    My students started their Subculture task today. Performing next week. Cant wait to see what they come up with.

    Michael

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