VCE Drama Solo Performance Resources 2020

A curated selection of resources for each of the ten characters on this year’s VCE Drama solo performance exam. Resources include articles, images and videos.

VCE Drama Solo Performance Examination 2020

Prescribed Structure 1

Harlequin (Arlechino) and/or Columbine (Columbina)

Encyclopaedia Britannica Source article for this prescribed exam character includes origins, development, characters and eventual decline of the Commedia dell’Arte throughout Europe.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Brief explanation of a “harlequinade”.

Encyclopedia.com Article outlining the Commedia form, players and troupes.

Italy Mask Useful character descriptions of popular Commedia characters, including Arlecchino and Columbina.

Learning Through Theatre History of Commedia, masks, stock characters, women on stage, influence on modern comedy etc.

New World Encyclopedia Modified Wikipedia entry on many aspects of the Commedia dell’Arte, including a useful image gallery of characters.

The Commedia dell’Carte Homepage Old-school website with detailed information on Arlecchino.

The Commedia dell’Carte Homepage Detailed information on Columbina.

The Drama Teacher Explanation of Commedia dell’Arte conventions for acting and production areas.

The Drama Teacher Image gallery of popular Commedia characters.

The Drama Teacher Useful series of short videos on how to act Commedia characters.

The Drama Teacher Article discussing the rise of eclectic theatre in the 20th century, including its characteristics and the influences of many other theatre forms.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Overview of the world of Commedia dell’Arte with links to items in the museum’s collection.

Wikipedia Entry on Commedia dell’Arte companies, characters, costumes and influences.

Wikipedia Entry on the Commedia character Harlequin / Arlecchino.

Wikpedia Brief entry on the Commedia character Colombina / Columbine.

Wikipedia Very useful account of the details involved in a “harlequinade”.

World Encyclopedia of Puppetry Arts Commedia dell’Arte from a puppetry perspective.


Prescribed Structure 2

Frida Kahlo

Artsy Article “How surrealism shaped the course of art history”.

Biography Video biography of Friday Kahlo.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Article on the surrealism movement.

Famous French fashion magazines in publication during Frida Kahlo’s lifetime (use Chrome for Google Translate):

Frida Kahlo biographies:

Frida Kahlo Foundation Image gallery of over 100 Frida Kahlo paintings.

Surrealism images: Google, Bing.

The Drama Teacher Useful resource on the surrealism movement in the theatre, including acting and characterisation conventions, stagecraft, theory etc.

The Drama Teacher Slideshow of surrealism images.

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The Drama Teacher Article discussing the rise of eclectic theatre in the 20th century, including its characteristics and the influences of many other theatre forms.

ThoughtCo Article on the surrealism cultural movement, artists, features of surrealist art etc.

Wikipedia Entry on surrealism in literature, film, theatre, music, art etc.

Prescribed stimulus documentary.

Prescribed Structure 3

The Drifter

American Historical Association Academic essay from 1893 “The Significance of the Frontier in American History”.

American Sky List of top 10 Wild West towns in America, one of which could be used in this solo performance.

All Thats Interesting Slideshow of historical photographs from the American Wild West.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Lengthy article on the American Frontier.

GradeSaver Study guide analysis for the film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

History.com Interesting article “10 things you didn’t know about the Old West”.

History Extra Article depicting true wild west in America, somewhat different from the films.

liveaboutdotcom Article “What is a Spaghetti Western?”

Medium Article comparing the violence of the Wild West with modern-day America.

National Archives Nearly 200 fascinating historical images of life in the Wild West from the US national Archives, catalogued by theme.

The Drama Teacher Article discussing the rise of eclectic theatre in the 20th century, including its characteristics and the influences of many other theatre forms.

The Vintage News Article that busts several myths of the Wild West.

TIME Article discussing women in the American West.

YouTube Prescribed stimulus theme music from the film The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

Vocabulary.com definitions for:

Wikipedia Extensive entry on the American Frontier, otherwise known as the Wild West or Old West.

Wikipedia Timeline of major events of the American Old West.


Prescribed Structure 4

The Eco-Warrior

Artsy Article about 10 artists tackling the issue of climate change with their work.

Artsy Great article exploring the world of 10 female performance artists.

AEGN (Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network) Article from philanthropy organisation with excellent infographics outlining how climate change will affect Australia’s future.

Australian Museum Article “What’s Happening to Australia’s Biodiversity?”

Bushfires, East Gippsland, Victoria, January 2020.

Australian Academy of Science Article discussing how Australia’s 2019-20 bushfires had unprecedented effects on the country’s biodiversity, not seen before anywhere on Earth.

Business Insider Australia Article discussing how climate change is affecting Australia’s wildlife.

Climate Council Various reports from Australia’s leading climate change communication organisation including the devastating bushfires of 2019-20, carbon emissions, floods, droughts etc.

Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on the nature and evolution of performance art as a form.

Frieze Excellent article “How Activists Made the Art World Wake Up To The Climate Crisis”

51-hour performance art protest outside the British Museum

index mundi Factbook entry (with descriptors) listing all current environmental issues facing Australia.

National Association for the Visual Arts Article interviewing several Australian artists whose work deals with climate change.

New Internationalist Article written by one of the key activists behind the performance art invasion of the British Museum.

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Roy Morgan Research findings revealing environmental issues seen as the most important issue facing Australia for the first time in almost a decade.

Popular Science Article discussing the intense impact of the 2019-20 Australian bushfires on the country’s (and the world’s) biodiversity.

The Art Newspaper Wonderful look at dozens of performance art pieces.

The Art Story: Excellent series of articles about the performance art movement:

The Drama Teacher Article discussing the rise of eclectic theatre in the 20th century, including its characteristics and the influences of many other theatre forms.

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation Articles discussing the current threats to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

The Guardian Stimulus article for this solo about Australia’s biodiversity being at breaking point.

Trendhunter Great look at the work of 43 different performance artists and their work.

United Nations Environment Program Article outlining 10 impacts of the 2019-20 Australian bushfires.

Wikipedia Entry on a number of environmental issues facing Australia including whaling, oil spills, ocean dumping, logging, land clearing, soil salinity, water use, urbanisation etc.

Wikipedia Entry on performance art during the 20th century.

Yonah Article examining the work of 10 contemporary performance artists.


Prescribed Structure 5

Ida Wood

6sqft Photographs of New York City in the 1920s.

All Thats Interesting Pictorial history of New York in the 1920s.

History Article on the key characteristics of the Roaring Twenties.

Ida Wood biographies:

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List25 Excellent list of 25 celebrity recluses throughout history including Edvard Munch, Harper Lee, Greta Garbo, Howard Hughes, David Bowie and Emily Dickinson.

liveaboutdotcom List of famous recluses including Michael Jackson and Lauryn Hill.

Ranker List of 30 famous celebrities who are recluses including Johnny Depp, Brian Wilson and Stanley Kubrick.

Ranker Interesting article showcasing the weird and wonderful parts of daily life in New York in the 1920s.

The Drama Teacher Article discussing the rise of eclectic theatre in the 20th century, including its characteristics and the influences of many other theatre forms.

Wikipedia Entry on the 1910s decade.

Wikipedia Entry on the 1920s decade.

Wikipedia Entry on the Roaring Twenties.

Wikipedia Entry on Ida Wood.


Prescribed Structure 6

The Stage Parent

Backstage Brief article about the three main types of stage parents.

BBC Bitesize As the name suggests, a handy little bite-sized guide to musical theatre.

Musicals 101 Detailed series of articles about the various elements of a musical.

OMG Lane Article outlining 10 celebrities and their pushy stage parents, from Kris Jenner to Gertrude Temple.

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Theatre Art Life Interesting article on the tell-tale signs of contracting Stage Mom Syndrome!

The Drama Teacher Article discussing the rise of eclectic theatre in the 20th century, including its characteristics and the influences of many other theatre forms.

TV Tropes Article outlining the characteristics of a Stage Mom.

Wikipedia List of well-known stage mothers, from Tina Knowles to Dina Lohan.

Wikipedia Useful list of stage fathers included in this article from Joseph Jackson to Kit Culkin and Lava Ball.

Wikipedia Entry on musical theatre.


Prescribed Structure 7

John Lennon

All Thats Interesting Fascinating photographic essay of New York City in the 1970s.

Biography: Series of biographies on Beatles members

Encyclopaedia Britannica Entry on The Beatles.

Google, Bing images of New York City (sometimes known as Fear City) in the 1970s, .

History An account of Beatlemania sweeping the United States.

Independent The true story on the break-up of The Beatles.

People The rise and fall of German pop duo Milli Vanilli, whose career ended after a lip-syncing scandal.

Rolling Stone The inside story on the forces that broke up The Beatles.

Rolling Stone Article “The 10 Messiest Band Breakups” chronicles ugly controversies ending the careers of The Eagles, The Police, Guns N Roses and more.

The Drama Teacher Article discussing the rise of eclectic theatre in the 20th century, including its characteristics and the influences of many other theatre forms.

Wikipedia Entry on The Beatles.

Wikipedia Entry on the Beatles break-up.


Prescribed Structure 8

Irena Sendler

Afrik Article detailing the life of 12 well-known humanitarians including Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Princess Diana and Mahatma Gandhi.

All Thats Interesting Article “The Seven Greatest Humanitarians in History” including Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jnr, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and more.

Biographies of Irena Sendler:

Biography Online Entry on famous humanitarians such as Rosa Parks, Bob Geldof and Florence Nightingale.

Human Services Degree List of many humanitarians including Warren Buffett, Richard Branson, John Hopkins, Paul Newman, Al Gore and others.

The Drama Teacher Article detailing many of Brecht and Piscator’s techniques for their epic theatre form.

The Drama Teacher Article discussing the rise of eclectic theatre in the 20th century, including its characteristics and the influences of many other theatre forms.


Prescribed Structure 9

The Boxer

A Matter of Style Useful post on Meyerhold’s biomechanics, including exercises.

Australian Dictionary of Biography Biographical entry on Jimmy Sharman.

Google Series of images of Jimmy Sharman’s tent boxing show.

Ilbijerri Theatre Company Excellent resource “Teaching First Nations Content and Concepts in the Drama Classroom”. Written for teachers, students can nevertheless use this resource to advise them on how to create and perform The Boxer sensitively if choosing to make this character Indigenous.

Narrandera Argus Prescribed stimulus article outlining the history of boxing troupes in Australia.

Biomechanics in action on the set of Meyerhold’s production of The Magnanimous Cuckold, 1922.

National Library of Australia Series of articles about sport and Australian culture including the Commonwealth Games, Women in Sport, First Nations people in sport, Migration, and Sporting Heroes.

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Google Arts and Culture Showcase from the National Sports Museum featuring numerous artefacts. While this feature focuses on another promoter, Harry Johns, it nevertheless is an excellent historical account of the tent boxing circuit and some of its boxers.

Jimmy Sharman’s boxing tent.

Google Arts and Culture Excellent showcase “Australia: Great Sporting Land” with articles, images, videos, plus virtual tours of various sporting museums and stadia, covering the culture, people, moments and places of sport in Australia from its very beginnings to the present day.

MeyerholdWorks Handy explanation of Meyerhold’s system for biomechanics.

NITV Article “A round or two for a pound or two” discussing Indigenous boxers on the tent boxing circuit.

Oxford University Press Personal Development, Health and Physical Education curriculum publication discussing the relationship between sport and national and cultural identity in Australia.

Personal Reflection Blog post about the memories of Jimmy Sharman’s boxing show. If you’re happy to play historian, some of the comments in this thread are very useful accounts of the experience.

Richard Broome Excellent, detailed account of the history of Aboriginal boxers on the tent boxing nationwide circuit.

Russia Knowledge Excellent account of Meyerhold’s biomechanics for the theatre.

Saad, N Academic paper exploring the interrelationship between sport and culture in Australia determining the extent to which sport contributes to the overall Australian identity” (using the Sydney Cricket Ground as a case study).

Jimmy Sharman’s Boxing Troupe, by Jack Walton, Ballarat, Victoria, Nov 1934.

The Drama Teacher Entry on the conventions of Vsevolod Meyerhold’s system of biomechanics.

The Drama Teacher Article discussing the rise of eclectic theatre in the 20th century, including its characteristics and the influences of many other theatre forms.

The Queensberry Rules Excellent description of the theatre of the tent boxing circuit where men would “fight several times a night for 300 nights a year” before stricter boxing regulations were introduced in the early 1970s.

Wikipedia Entry on Jimmy Sharman.

Wikipedia Entry about sport in Australia including its history, participation, spectators etc.

Jimmy Sharman’s Boxers by Midnight Oil (Red Sails in the Sunset, 1984)

From the red dust north of Dalmore Downs
Sharman’s tents roll into town
Twelve will face the auctioneer
Sharman’s Boxers stand their ground
Their days are darker than your nights
But they won’t be the first to fall
Children broken from their dreams
But they won’t be the first to fall

Fighting in the spotlight
Eye’s turn blacker than their skin
For Jimmy Sharman’s boxers
It’s no better if you win
Standing in the darkness
Lined up waiting for the bell
The days are wasted drinking
At the first and last hotel

Why are we fighting for this?
Why are you paying for this?
You pay to see me fall like shrapnel
To the floor
What is the reason for this?
There is a reason for this?
What is the reason they keep coming back for more?

The blows now bring him to his knees
But still the crowd calls out for more
The drums are burning in his ears
The man keeps counting out the score


Prescribed Structure 10

Mary Poppins

A Mother Far From Home Article discussing how parenting has changed over the past century.

Babygaga 15 celebrity nannies tell why they quit.

Care.com Tips for using Mary Poppins as stimulus in your own home.

eNanny Source List of 10 nannies who helped shape history.

HuffPost Article discussing the changed nature of the parent-child relationship in the digital era.

J Rank Useful article discussing the parent-child relations through different phases of childhood development.

Morningside Nannies List of 25 characteristics of a great nanny.

Nanny Authority Useful history of the nanny.

Nanytax Brief look at the role of the nanny throughout history.

popculture Hollywood nannies reveal details about caring for celebrity children.

Psychology Today Excellent article detailing how and why parent-child relations have changed.

The Drama Teacher Article discussing the rise of eclectic theatre in the 20th century, including its characteristics and the influences of many other theatre forms.

Wikipedia Entry on the nanny.

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4 Responses

  1. Catherine Grootenboer says:

    Wow! Amazing work Justin! Wish I taught in Victoria so I could use these right now! No matter – might find a way to use them in NSW in the future. Well done.

  2. My pleasure, Edie. Thanks for the feedback! – Justin

  3. Edie Moon says:

    I don’t know who you are but thank you for all the work you put into helping others teaching theatre. Wow. It is much appreciated.

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