This year’s VCE Drama Solo Performance Examination for Year 12 Drama students in Victoria, Australia has got increasingly challenging.
- this year’s solo exams are considerably more academic than in previous years
- since the task has existed in its current format (2001), the plot dot points have become more sophisticated, lengthy and complex
- the performance structure can apppear to leave more questions than answers for the student and teacher, so everyone needs to be careful
- necessary research for the task has now increased considerably, so students need to start this part of the task early
- ask a random sample of Year 12 Drama students what their hardest task is in any subject at Year 12 and you’d be surprised how many ‘Drama solo performance’ responses you’ll get
- this year there is a sudden rise in dot points implying the student must play a character other than the prescribed one. In past years this was not such a focus, although many students played multiple characters in their solo. But on the 2006 exam paper, students are left with less option and now face the prospect of playing a secondary character in a particular plot dot point
- a couple of years ago, complex aspects of performance style, theatrical conventions and dot points popped up in a few prescribed structures on the exam. In 2003 it was Japanese Noh Theatre (Sturcture 7) and last year we saw ‘lyrical and symbolic’ (Structures 4 and 7). This year it is Peking Opera (Structure 10) and ‘dramatic metaphor’ (Sturcutre 5). Students need to be wary of choosing characters for the solo exam that involve skills beyond their means. There are ten characters, so choose wisely!