Below is an ensemble topic suitable for students in Years 9-11 Drama. Use with your students and adapt as you see fit. Use the print button at the bottom of this post. For local readers of The Drama Teacher, this topic is appropriate for VCE Unit 1 Drama as it will most likely be “stimulus material that reflects personal, cultural and/or community experiences and stories” (VCE Drama Study Design 2014-2018) of your students.
Social Media Definition
A group of Internet-based applications that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content. Users typically shift fluidly and flexibly between the role of author and audience. Social media uses Web 2.0 technologies to allow people to interact socially with ease. Example applications include Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Flickr, YouTube, wikis, forums, multiplayer gaming, MMS, SMS and more.
This ensemble performance involves subject matter concerned with the student’s personal cultural and/or community experiences and stories. It must make use of both naturalistic and non-naturalistic performance styles and includes content that explores both the positive and negative aspects of social media.
One of the following options must be used:
- Linear plot development: each actor performs one role and each scene is a result of event/s in the preceding scene/s
- Episodic plot development: each actor performs multiple roles and scenes are self-contained episodes with different events and characters tied together by the ensemble topic
- Combo deal: a combination of the above to be negotiated with your teacher.
Elements of both naturalistic and non-naturalistic theatre must be presented in the performance.
|Naturalistic Conventions||Non-Naturalistic Conventions|
|One role per actor||Multiple roles per actor|
|Believable characterisation||Stereotyped characterisation|
|Full costume||Fragmentary costume|
|No interaction with audience||Direct address to audience (narration etc.)|
|Communicate via voice, gesture, movement||Use of placards, signs, notices, multimedia|
|Complete set pieces and props||Fragmentary set pieces and props|
|Actors do not break into song||Song used to convey message or theme|
|Realistic speech patterns||Stylised speech, use of monotone, rhyme etc.|
|Believable gestures and movements||Stylised/exaggerated gestures & movements|
|Resolution or ending is complete||Unresolved conclusion, left up to spectator|
Prescribed Dramatic Elements
Contrast: presents the dissimilar or opposite in order to highlight or emphasise difference. Contrast can be explored in many ways and can include contrasting characters, settings, times, themes, elements, stagecraft and performance styles.
Tension: the suspense that holds an audience’s attention as a performance unfolds. The release of tension can have a comic or dramatic effect.
Symbol: used to create meaning that is not literal. Symbol allows performers to communicate ideas and themes through words, stagecraft and expressive skills.
Prescribed Stagecraft Elements
Props, costume, theatre technologies.
15-20 minutes of continuous drama.