Top Class Drama Review 7/4/06
This afternoon I had the privilege of seeing the first of three Top Class Drama sessions (1.00pm) as part of the Victorian Curriculum and Assesssment Authority’s Season of Excellence program. So I thought I would blog the highlights (not every performance) and if I make a few errors, please excuse me as I don’t have the running sheet before me, and so will blog from memory.
First up was Rory from Wonthaggi SC with a strong performance of ‘Pride’. Loved the massive prop, laughed at the image in my head of the trailor behind the bus carrying the over-sized picture frame down the highway to the exam centre (!) and really enjoyed this young man’s insight’s into the challenges of the task to the audience, as he was invited to speak a little while later. Strong expressive skills evident here in a sophisticated performance that really made good use of exaggerated movement and caricature.
The Beauty Queen Helena Rubenstein was a solid performance with an excellent use of prop (don’t quite know how to describe the swinging white thingo, sorry!). Good use of accent, pathos and disjointed time sequences. A strong performance.
The second of the Shakepsearean characters from Scotch College was also a great show. It’s very difficult performing toward the end of a long program because no matter how interesting the performances have been before you, the audience unfortuantely is a little restless. I really enjoyed this performance and felt I connected with the many different characters presented. No doubt about it, fantastic use of a prop, here! A piece of thick rope was used for multiple purposes as the actor transformed character and location. A fine example for any student on how to effectively use a prop in a solo performance .
I thought the firefighter Asahina Daigo from Ruyton Girls’ Grammar was a very interesting performance. Now, I’m going to be honest. I didn’t see much substance in this exam character last year and told my students to avoid it like the plague! Later down the track I discovered many students actually performed the character without ever reading the Manga it was associated with because it was so difficult to get a hold of, which is a pity. I’m guessing the assessors may not have seen too many strong Daigo’s walk through their rooms last October. But this performance today was very strong. A perfect example for budding students on how to incorporate sound into a solo performance. The actress used so many sound effects (from her mouth) in various parts of her show that enhanced her performance. Loved the use of a small picture frame as prop, also.
The Ford Prefect character performance was also strong. Let’s get one thing straight from the beginning, it’s not the actor’s fault if his microphone cuts out half way through the performance! Not being a fan of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, I found this exam character (on paper last year) and everything it represented incomprehensible at first and then realised, that was sort of the idea in a way. Great physical skills in this performance, wonderul use of gibberish, some clever use of positioning costume and props (shirt and hoop) and a clear and understandable performance. Possibly the most illogical of all characters was made very coherent by the actor for the audience.
It would be remiss of me not to blog about my own student in this program; Amelia performing The Security Guard. After talking to her after the show, she said her microphone (‘what microphone’, I said?) didn’t work at all! I think most people heard all her performance, although because there was no mike, her own Drama teacher struggled to hear the softer parts, partly due to my wonderful seat allocation in the very back row next to the bio box! We worked hard together on her character transformation being as slick as possible and I think Amelia did a fine job in this area. Perhaps a little slow on tempo, her performance nevertheless demonstrated a coherent spoken text, showed great use of comedic timing and good use of contrast between characters and events at Melbourne Airport and Troy. She made her buddies in the senior Drama classe at Avila proud in the audience. Well done Meelz!
So, if you were there today as student, participant or teacher, it would be great to read your comments on what you thought of the characters presented in this program?