The smell of grease paint



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Karen Yager and Melissa Cliff

Richmond River High School

Concept

“The smell of grease paint”


Building on year 7 drama skills and knowledge through close analysis of a play. Focus is on speaking, critical responding and composing, and performance.
Stage 4

Year 8

Duration 5 weeks

Cross curriculum content


Literacy

Difference and diversity



Language modes


Reading, writing, speaking, listening,

viewing and representing


Texts


Close study of a play such as: Honey Spot, Two Weeks with the Queen or Hating Alison Ashley

Outcomes


A student:

1.responds to and composes texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis and pleasure.

2. uses a range of processes for responding to and composing texts.

5. makes informed language choices to shape meaning with accuracy, clarity and coherence.

11. uses, reflects on and assesses individual and collaborative skills for learning.

Rationale

This drama unit is designed to revisit and extend the knowledge and understanding of the students through a close study of a play. A close study of a play invites a critical and detailed study of characterisation, the play’s concerns, dramatic techniques and the staging of the play. Students will be required to compose a critical response to these aspects, developing their exposition and personal response skills. The other main focus is the development of the students’ speaking skills. Through performance of monologues and dramatic performances, students will learn to develop and exploit their oratorical skills. The CD-ROM StageStruck is used as a main resource.

The unit begins with a class reading of the play. Even though this can be slow, it ensures that all students have read the play and allows teachers and students to stop and closely analyse aspects of the play as they read. After the initial reading, the real fun can begin. Individual and group work follows with performance of key scenes, monologues and other challenging tasks relevant to drama. It would be advantageous of students could view a live performance. It is not important if the performance is not the play they are studying, as the experience of live theatre is far more significant for their understanding of drama and performance. Allowing students to explore roles that they are interested in, in the world of theatre is another aspect of this unit. Students can choose to be actors, set designers, makeup artists, costume designers, directors or back stage people.



Syllabus content

Learning content and activities

Quality teaching




Students learn to:




1.1

  • respond to imaginative, factual and critical texts, including the required range of texts, through wide and close listening, reading and viewing

Deep understanding

1.2


  • respond to and compose texts intended to inform, persuade and entertain, including humorous texts

Deep understanding

1.5

  • interpret, question and challenge information and ideas in texts through close study

Higher-order thinking

1.7

  • respond to and compose texts beyond the literal level

Deep knowledge /higher-order thinking

1.8

  • graphically represent aspects of texts such as the storyline of a novel or film, the structure of a poem, the set of a play, and links in a webpage

Student direction/engagement

1.9

  • demonstrate understanding of the complexity of meaning in texts

Higher-order thinking

1.10

  • describe and explain qualities of language in their own and others’ texts that contribute to the enjoyment that can be experienced in responding and composing




2.1
  • use a range of listening, reading and viewing strategies, including skimming, scanning, predicting and speculating, reading and viewing in depth and re-reading and re-viewing, according to the purpose and complexity of the texts


Deep understanding

2.3

  • use and adapt the processes of planning, drafting, rehearsing, responding to feedback, editing, and publishing to compose texts over time




2.4

  • use processes of planning, including investigating, interviewing, selecting, recording and organising ideas, images and information for specific purposes in composing

Student direction

2.6

  • respond to their own and others’ compositions by considering ideas, images, information, linguistic and visual forms and features, tone, style, and type and structure of text, with reference to their appropriateness for the text’s purpose, audience and context

Deep understanding

2.7

  • discuss and explain the processes of responding and composing, and identify the personal pleasures and difficulties experienced

Connectedness

5.2

  • make oral presentations that demonstrate a personal point of view, including speeches and drama performances

Student direction

5.4


  • compose personal texts in literary forms such as narrative, poetry, speeches and scripts

Student direction

11.3

  • ask questions, listen and negotiate to clarify an extended group task with teacher and peers

Engagement

11.9

  • perform an allocated role responsibly in a group and assess the success of collaborative processes

Student direction




Students learn about:




1.11

  • the ideas, information, perspectives and points of view presented in imaginative, factual and critical texts

Deep knowledge

1.14

  • their emerging sense of personal style and taste in composition and response

Connectedness

1.18

  • inference, figurative language and alternative readings as strategies for responding to and composing texts beyond the literal level

Higher-order thinking

1.20

  • the complexity of meaning in texts


Deep knowledge

2.9

  • techniques for planning and rehearsing including brainstorming, mindmapping, storyboarding, role-play and improvisation

Deep knowledge

2.13

  • alternative ways of expressing ideas

Higher-order thinking – student direction

11.15

  • roles and responsibilities of individuals in groups




11.20

  • reflection strategies such as learning logs, journals, letters to teachers and peers, guided discussion




Week 1: The opening act

Content

Learning and teaching activities

Quality teaching



Spelling – look, cover and write – revisit drama terms. Students select 15-20 challenging words to begin their drama glossary after discussing meaning in groups.

Metalanguage

1.11


Improvisation

Depending on the main issue in the play being examined, such as coping with loss or bullying, place the class in small groups and give them a short scenario such as: “A group of students is bullying a younger student in the playground.” The students have ten minutes to allocate roles, discuss characterisation, dialogue, action and movement and create their role play. Students present their scenarios dramatically. Follow this with a class discussion about:



  1. the issue, the actions of the players and their personal reaction to the issue

  2. how conflict is essential to drama

  3. dramatic techniques used by different groups (and others that could be used)

  4. elements of drama such as movement on stage, acting and relationships, creating mood, tension etc.

Glossary of dramatic terms revisited. Check if any word is unfamiliar and discuss meanings in groups.

Background knowledge: prior knowledge of drama, conflict and dramatic techniques
Knowledge integration: links to the Creative Arts K-6 Syllabus

Metalanguage



1.1

1.2


1.5

1.9


1.10

1.11


1.18

1.20


2.1

Close reading of the play:

Teacher to model a range of note-making strategies such as mindmapping, main idea – supporting ideas, listing key words. Teacher to revisit the play’s central issue and tell part of the story of the play to engage students. Begin reading the play and allocate roles to those students who volunteer. Stop at significant moments, discuss and, using a variety of strategies such as group brainstorm, mindmapping, acting out brief sections, students make notes on:


  1. Characters: traits, motivations, dialogue and actions

  2. Conflict: what causes it and the consequences

  3. The playwright’s perspective of the issue

  4. Main issue: how it is conveyed

  5. Language features: tone, word choice, figurative devices, syntax, modality, etc

  6. Dramatic techniques: contrast, suspense, foreshadowing, etc

  7. Audience reaction: how the students feel as they read the play.

Narrative: engage through a story of the play

Deep understanding: detailed analysis of the play


Deep knowledge





Homework:

Research the main issue of the play through the internet and print texts and prepare a brief report for the class about your discoveries.



E.g. research bullying at:

Connectedness

Week 1: Drama terms

Select 15 or 20 challenging drama words to begin your glossary.

Word

Look

Cover

Write













































































































































































































































Total correct:


Week 2: Act 2 – suspend disbelief

Content:

Learning and teaching activities


Quality teaching



Spelling and vocabulary – look, cover and write. Select 15 – 20 verbs and adverbs from the play and use ten in your own sentences about the play and your response to it so far. Share and discuss your sentence writing with a partner.

Metalanguage



1.1

1.2


1.5

1.9


1.10

1.11


1.18

1.20


2.1

Close reading of the play:

Continue close reading, discussion and notes in preparation for critical response, a monologue by one of the characters and group performance of a key scene. We should complete the reading by the end of the week and use the last lesson the week to start on the assessment task. Students continue to add to notes about the play (character details, setting, mood, plot).



Deep understanding
Deep knowledge



1.5

1.7


1.9

1.11


1.20
2.2

2.4

Assessment tasks: Critical response

Students will be required to compose a critical response: an analysis of one of the characters in the play

The response is due at the end of week 4 and the draft is due at the end of week 3. Remind students to carefully read what is expected. We will be making notes in class to prepare for the response and there will be class time this week spent on the response. Students are asked to hand in their draft before the due date so their final copy is of a high standard. If time permits, students could workshop their expositions in pairs or groups using a teacher-generated set of critical reading and peer editing guidelines and questions (see scaffolds and assessment sheet).


Deep understanding
Higher-order thinking: the two tasks are challenging and require students to synthesise their knowledge of the play




Extension:
Extend your research into the play’s main issue and compose a feature article for the local newspaper, e.g:

for The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty: Bullying is causing major concern in all schools throughout the world. The local newspaper would probably publish a feature article with interviews with students, staff and counsellors

for Two Weeks with the Queen: coping with cancer is a concern for many families, especially when it involves a young person. Read articles about people who have coped with cancer such as Lance Armstrong the Tour de France champion cyclist.

Students find examples of feature articles to use as models for their own responses.



Deep understanding
Connectedness

Higher-order thinking



Assessment task 1: Character analysis
Outcomes:

  1. A student responds to and composes texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis and pleasure.

  2. A student uses a range of processes for responding to and composing texts.


Language modes: reading and writing
Nature of task: A character analysis
Select one of the characters from the play we are studying in class and, in a piece of writing, explain how you would play the part of this character if you were an actor.
In your response, refer to your reading of this character’s:

  • personality and appearance

  • voice, movements, costume and makeup

  • relationships with other characters


  • role in the play – refer to a key scene

  • reception by an audience


Requirements:

  • detailed references to the play

  • key quotes from the play

  • your personal reading of the character and how he or she should be portrayed

  • a draft must be submitted before the end of week 3

  • a well structured, polished response


Date Due: End of week 4

Assessment task 1: Character analysis scaffold
This is a suggested scaffold that you can use or modify or ignore and create your own to suit the task. Remember the key elements to be covered are your interpretation, or reading of the characters:

  • personality and appearance

  • voice, movements, costume and makeup

  • relationships with other characters

  • role in the play – refer to a key scene

  • reception by an audience.


Paragraph 1: Briefly introduce the character you will be playing and outline your interpretation or reading of this character.

Paragraph 2: Describe in detail your interpretation of what type of person the character is and his or her role in the play. Include some quotations from the play and comment on the quotations.


Paragraph 3: Describe the age, appearance, voice, movements, costume and makeup of the character. Include some quotations from the play. And comment on the quotations.

Paragraph 4: Discuss the character’s actions and refer to a key scene that features this character. Describe how you would play parts of this scene. Include some quotations from the play and comment on them.


Paragraph 5: Describe the character’s relationship with other characters. What tone you would use with certain characters and how you would deliver your lines when you are talking with them. Include some quotations from the play, with accompanying comments.


Paragraph 6: Discuss how you intend an audience to respond to your portrayal of this character.

Paragraph 7: Conclude by expressing your feelings about playing this character.

Week 2: Spelling – verbs and adverbs

Select 15 or 20 words verbs and adverbs from the play and our notes.

Word

Look

Cover

Write













































































































































































































































Total correct:


Week 3: Stage struck

Content:

Learning and teaching activities

Quality teaching



Spelling & vocabulary – look, cover and write. Find 15 –20 challenging words from the StageStruck CD-ROM and add any new terms to our drama glossary

Metalanguage




Assessment 1:

Students complete the character analysis and submit a draft at the end of this week. If time, provide writing workshop time for the writing process.



High expectations

1.11

2.9


StageStruck CD-ROM:

In pairs, students navigate through this detailed and informative CD-ROM. They examine the role of a director, staging a play, acting, costumes, make-up and stage design. As students will be performing a monologue and a scene from the play, they need to make relevant notes from the CD-ROM.



Knowledge integration:

1.1

2.1


1.11

Monologues:
As students are required to deliver a monologue to the class as one of the characters in the play, the class will view a variety of actors performing a monologue so students have an idea of what is expected. Students should be making notes as they view the extracts on the features of a monologue. Note film ratings – see DET Memorandum number DN/02/00113 dated 28/01/1988.

  • Kenneth Branagh as Iago in Shakespeare’s play Othello

  • Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

  • Malcom from Malcom in the Middle

  • The Wayne Manifesto (ABC TV)

Focus and make notes on:

  • facial expressions

  • gestures
  • delivery of words: pitch, volume, pace and intonation


  • word choice

  • language features

  • dramatic techniques.

Deep understanding

Deep knowledge





1.9

5.2


5.4

Assessment task 2: Monologues

Students elect a character from the play they could become. They decide what the character will be reflecting on and find key quotes and ideas from the play. Remind them to choose an appropriate topic for the monologue and think carefully about what motivated the character to deliver a monologue (see assessment sheet).

Read the monologues provided as models before you begin at .


Student direction: students choose the character they connect with




Assessment task 2: Monologues
Outcomes:

1. A student responds to and composes texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis and pleasure.

5. Makes informed language choices to shape meaning with accuracy, clarity and coherence.

Language modes: speaking and viewing and representing
The task:

A monologue is a short dramatic speech that reveals the inner thoughts of a character. Choose the character in the play we are studying that you could easily become and deliver a two to three minute monologue as that character. As this is a dramatic performance, think about the monologues we have read and viewed and consider the following when you are writing the script:



  • appropriate the character’s words from the play
  • note his or her personality, relationships with other characters and behaviour, and try to capture what these reveal about the character and what he or she could be contemplating in a monologue


  • use emotive language as you are trying to convey their thoughts and emotions

  • decide when the monologue could have occurred in the play such as just before the curtain falls the character reflects on what has happened or directly after a dramatic conflict the character considers his or her role in the conflict or the consequences

  • include pauses and stage directions so that when you come to learn the script you remember how to perform it.

When you are delivering the monologue:

  • use your voice and let it be heard! Stress certain words, modulate your voice and convey a range of emotions.

  • use facial expressions and body language to reinforce the emotions.

  • it is a viewing and representing task as well as a speaking task. So become the character – wear a costume and use props.




Requirements:

  • submit your draft to the teacher before your performance

  • learn your lines

  • you will have two to three minutes for the delivery.


Date due: To be performed at the start of week 4

Week 3: Spelling – StageStruck

Select 15 or 20 challenging words from StageStruck CD-ROM.



Word

Look

Cover

Write


































































































































































































































Total correct:

Week 4 - 5: Learning your lines

Content:


Learning and teaching activities

Quality teaching




Spelling and vocabulary – look, cover and write. Find 15-20 dramatic words from our notes and the play and discuss with a partner.

Metalanguage

1.9, 5.2

5.4


Assessment task 2: Monologues

To be performed at the start of the week.






1.8

1.14


1.20

2.4


2.9

2.13


5.2

11.3


11.9

11.15




Assessment task 3a and 3b:

Group performance of a scene and viva voce
Form a group of six or more, select a brief scene from the play and allocate the following roles:


  • Actors and understudies: decide how you will perform the role and record your impressions of the character and how you intend to play the character in your Dreaming Tracks journal. Learn your lines.
  • Director: decide how you want the scene to be played, direct the actors how to play their roles and record your directorial vision and justifications in your Dreaming Tracks learning journal.


  • Costumes and makeup people: decide on the costumes and makeup of the characters and record your decisions including drawings and/or photographs in your Dreaming Tracks journal. Include explanations for the costumes and make-up you have chosen.

  • Back stage people and set designers: select the props needed, design the set and record your decisions and sketches of the set designs in your Dreaming Tracks journal. Include justifications for your choices.

  • Producer and promoters: design the program, tickets and an advertisement for the performance. Include copies and justifications for the designs in your Dreaming Tracks journal.

You will have two weeks to rehearse and complete your set tasks. Ensure that you select a brief scene, as the schedule is tight.



(See sheet for viva voce and assessment guidelines.)


Student direction: students select scene and roles
High expectations: tight deadline and challenging task
Knowledge integration: links to other key learning areas such as Creative Arts
Inclusivity: all students valued and a variety of learning styles and interests catered for by the task
Social support: collaborative team work essential for success of performance



Week 4: Spelling – revisiting the glossary

Select 15 or 20 drama words you found challenging.

Word

Look

Cover

Write














































































































































































































































Total correct:

Assessment task 3b: Viva voce

Outcomes:

2. A student uses a range of processes for responding to and composing texts.

11. A student uses, reflects on and assesses individual and collaborative skills for learning.
Language mode: speaking
Nature of task:

Discuss and explain the processes of responding and composing, and identify personal pleasures and difficulties experienced in a viva voce. A viva voce is an interview where you be asked questions on the following:



  • Your role in the group performance

  • What you did in that role and the decisions behind your performance, such as:

    • how you played a character and why you chose to interpret the character this way

    • your directorial vision and your justifications for directing the play the way you did

    • describe the costumes and makeup of the characters and justify your decisions. Show your drawings and/or photographs

    • describe the props, set design and justify your reasons. Show your sketches of the set design

    • provide examples of the program, tickets and an advertisement for the performance and explain how you arrives at these designs.

  • Personal pleasures and difficulties experienced.


Requirements:

  • A copy of your explanations or reflections in your Dreaming Tracks learning journal.

  • You will be asked three questions based on the above.


Assessment:

The panel will consist of two of your peers who have been elected by the class and your teacher. You will be assessed on the quality of your responses.


Date due: During week 5

Assessment task 3a: Group performance – marking sheet




Names of group members (including self):

Exercise allocated to group member:

Effort and Attitude:

/10

Quality of completed task:
/10

General Observations:

1.




/10

/10





2.



/10

/10





3.




/10

/10





4.



/10

/10





5.



/10

/10







Student and teacher resources

CD-ROM:
StageStruck Nida http://www.nida.edu.au/venues_services/learning_resources/StageStruck/index.html

Plays:

Calcutt. D, Dracula, Oxford University Press (evil and courage)


Calcutt. D, The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty (bullying)
Davies. J The Honey Spot, Currency Press (racism and friendship)
Marsden. J, So Much to Tell You, Lothian Books (difference/diversity and coping with problems)
Morris. M, Blabbermouth, Currency Press (friendship and difference/diversity)
Morris. M

Two Weeks with the Queen: The Play (Coping with problems)

Currency Press


Tulloch. R, Hating Alison Ashley, Penguin Books (friendship and growing up)
Burton. B, Making Drama a Drama course for Junior Secondary Students

Peerson Education, Australia, 1995


Gaffigan. C (Ed), By Kids, for Kids, 1994 (monologues)
Howie. J, Basics in Communication & Drama, Moreton Bay Publishing, 1987
Tourelle.L & McNamara, A Practical Approach to Drama Performance, Heinemann, 1998
Web sites:

Monologues: Free Monologues “Girl Problems” (Teen Monologue, Male Drama)

www.actingforkids.com>
www.perspicacity.com/elactheatre/workshops/
www.theatrehistory.com/plays/mnologues.html
Bullying for The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty:

Stop Being Bullied

www.faithlinks.org (statistics and links to other sites)

Suffer in Silence

www.dfes.gov.uk/bullying (video and simple explanations)


What’s Bullying?

www.nobully.org.nz (simple definitions)



NSW Department of Education and Training November 2004 Page of

Curriculum K-12 Directorate http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au








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