Tip #3: The Script
A good script in a solo performance exam equals a good performance. It’s that simple.
The script forms the backbone to a student’s performance and is an essential and very important part of the task. In the VCE Drama solo performance exam, writing a script was always implied. Since the revised version of the task was published in 2007, the writing of a script is now compulsory.
There are always students in Drama classes who feel more comfortable improvising the development of aspects of their solo performance. There is still room for ample use of improvisation in the play-making process, but a formal script must always be written.
Teaching students the basic conventions of scriptwriting may prove worthwhile early in the task, if not already known. Because Unit 4 Drama now includes the addition of the short solo performance at the start of the course, it is assumed that students who submitted a written script as part of this SAC will already know how to include stage directions and properly format a script for their solo performance exam development.
We should not forget that scriptwriting is a play-making technique in itself, and among other things, students now have the opportunity to reflect upon the script in their written analysis of the solo performance at the end of Unit 4 Drama.
Each student is different. Over the years I have found weaker students in particular, or those not very familiar with Drama, use their script in the solo performance task as a form of security blanket. They stick to it like glue and are literally lost without it. More confident students, on the other hand, also realise the importance of the script, but are able to edit and rewrite, add and delete scenes or parts of scripted sections with relative ease.
Often students think the quality of their performance will be almost exclusively based on their performance skills. They forget that all the spoken dialogue in the performance is actually the written script. Their expressive skills (voice, movement, facial expressions, gestures) and performance skills (presence and energy) need to make sense with the script, so if their script is mediocre, so is their performance!
Finally, in my previous post Solo Performance Tip #2, I discussed how crucial effective research is in the solo performance task. Well, in such a sophisticated task as this, the quality of the script is heavily reliant on the research used to create moments in the plot, settings and the various characters.
We can therefore conclude a good solo performance is based around a high quality script, constructed from careful and extensive research.
Tip #4: From The Page to The Stage