Sample HSC drama assessment task
There are two parts to this task.
- Part A - performance essay (20 marks)
- Part B - two extended responses of between 400 and 600 words each (10 marks each).
- H1.2 uses performance skills to interpret and perform other scripted material
- H2.2 uses dramatic and theatrical elements effectively to engage an audience
- H2.3 demonstrates directorial skills for theatre and other media
- H2.4 appreciates the dynamics of drama as a performing art
- H3.1 critically applies understanding of the cultural, historical and political contexts that have influenced specific drama and theatre practitioners, styles and movements
- H3.2 analyses, synthesises and organises knowledge, information and opinion in coherent, informed oral and written responses
- H3.3 demonstrates understanding of the actor-audience relationship in various dramatic and theatrical styles and movements.
© Board of Studies, Drama Stage 6 Syllabus, 2009
PART A (20 Marks) - performance essay - in groups of 1-3 present a performance essay for the following question.
How are the elements of drama manipulated to engage the audience in the two plays you have studied?
Each person in the group is to consider one element of drama. Each person's section of the performance essay must be submitted in writing. Each person has a performance time limit of 3-5 minutes.
PART B (20 Marks) - extended response questions
- To what extent are the plays you have studied a reflection of Australian society? Your answer should consider the views of the playwrights, and the social, historical and cultural references the plays make in regards to Australian society.
- How do the plays you have studied accept or reject the conventions of traditional Australian drama? Your answer should show an appreciation of how the style of realism is manipulated in both plays.
Write 400-600 words for each response.
A performance essay is a moved presentation of the theoretical information inside an essay. It is usually done in documentary style with a narrator moving in, out, and around selected scene extracts ? explaining their relevance to the question. The key to a good performance essay is to ensure the information is informative and engaging.
The following example is an extract from a performance essay showing how the dramatic element of tension is manipulated in Act III of the Thornton Wilder play, Our Town. The text is read aloud by a narrator while the extracts from the play are performed by both the narrator and another actor.
Following the funeral of Emily we see an attempt by her to return to the world of the living. This ultimately, unsuccessful attempt, creates tension between the two worlds of 'life' and 'death'.
[The actors playing Emily and Mrs Webb begin to act out the scene. They freeze at the point where Emily tries to tell her mother she is dead.]
You will have noticed the characters seem unwilling to look at each other. By employing this simple technique of movement, in this case no eye contact between the characters, significant tension is created. As an audience we are longing for Emily's mother to acknowledge her daughter, but we know this cannot happen.
[The actors continue to act out the scene until Emily is 'ready to go back'.]
Emily's final departure presents an unresolved climax. She has died and there is no chance for her to gain closure with what she acknowledges is a lacklustre past. There is also significant dramatic irony within the scene as we, the audience, know that Emily is dead, whereas Mrs Gibbs is unaware of this fact. This creates a sense of dread, in that we know there is much sadness ahead for the family.
These guidelines are used to mark the collaborative task.
Each of the two responses is marked separately.