The 2015 VCE Drama Solo Performance Examination and Theatre Studies Stagecraft Examination have both just been published by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. Senior students undertaking the Victorian Certificate of Education in Drama and Theatre Studies must undertake these externally assessed examination later this year.
The 2015 Drama Solo Performance Examination has a range of interesting characters including The White Rabbit or The Queen of Hearts from the novel Alice in Wonderland, the wife of Henry VIII, The Performer from the Indian epic The Ramayana, plus a few characters from novels and a number of characters from various YouTube stimuli. All characters must be non-naturalistic in style. This year, specific style aspects for certain characters include musical theatre, pantomime, whodunnit (more of a genre than a style), biomechanics and the Indian musical theatre form yakshagana – of which the latter two in particular should challenge most students.
This year, the convention of dramatic metaphor is once again prescribed. Last used by the VCAA in the Drama Solo Performance Examination back in 2012, its definition in the terminology section of the exam on that occasion confused many teachers (including myself) because it was too close to symbol – an element of drama already in use in other parts of the same exam. Frustrated, I did some research and wrote a post defining dramatic metaphor to assist teachers and students. I see on this year’s solo exam dramatic metaphor has been redefined and I’m now happy with it. Why? Because the new definition of dramatic metaphor by the VCAA on the 2015 Drama Solo Performance Examination has clearly been sourced from my post on The Drama Teacher. I’ll take this as a compliment.
The 2015 Theatre Studies Stagecraft Examination includes such characters as The Witch from Sondheim’s Into The Woods, Imogen from Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, Peachum from Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera, Mark Antony from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Chorus from Aeschylus’ Agamemnon. There are also a number of characters from a mix of other plays, allowing for a good collection to suit many types of students, personal interests and strengths.
Interstate or international drama and theatre teachers may be interested in downloading these performance exams to see what students do elsewhere.