Drama resources

KASCA (knowledge and skills creative arts) drama framework

The KASCA drama framework breaks down the core components of the elements of drama, drama practices and drama context into a series of lesson sequences. All lesson sequences come with ready-to-use differentiated learning and teaching resources and are available in an online format through the tabs below and an e-book version (PDF 5.1MB) that can be downloaded to your smart device.

Duration: 2 weeks

Driving question

Who is Bertolt Brecht and what are the conventions of Epic Theatre?

Overview

Students define political theatre and understand theatre as a powerful vehicle for communicating social, political, cultural and historical messages. They learn to adjust self-devised performances based on the theatrical conventions and techniques of Epic theatre and analyse how the Verfremdungseffekt changes the audience’s experience of a theatrical work.

Stage 4 outcomes

Stage 5 outcomes

A student:

A student:

4.1.2 improvises and playbuilds through group-devised processes

5.1.2 contributes, selects, develops and structures ideas in improvisation and playbuilding

4.1.3 devises and enacts drama using scripted and unscripted material

5.1.3 devises, interprets and enacts drama using scripted and unscripted material or text

4.2.3 explores and uses aspects of dramatic forms, performance styles, theatrical conventions and technologies to create dramatic meaning

5.2.3 employs a variety of dramatic forms, performance styles, dramatic techniques, theatrical conventions and technologies to create dramatic meaning

4.3.2 recognises the function of drama and theatre in reflecting social and cultural aspects of human experience

5.3.2 analyses the contemporary and historical contexts of drama

Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Content

Political theatre is a term that has been used to refer to different forms, theatrical styles or performances that comments on political/social/cultural issues, political action or protest that has a theatrical quality to it. Within this lesson sequence student’s learn about Bertolt Brecht’s notion of Epic theatre. They learn about the Verfremdungseffekt and act as practitioners to explore ways of balance between disengagement and distancing.

Cross-curriculum content and key competencies

Civics and citizenship

Difference and diversity

Literacy

Information and communications technology

Embedded elements of drama

  • Structure
  • Symbol
  • Tension
  • Dramatic Meaning
  • Audience Engagement

Assessment

All activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all assessment for learning activities.

Teaching and learning activities

The following learning experiences are structured to provide students with a practical and theoretical understanding of Political theatre.

Connect and Predict

Within this task, students predict the content of this sequence.

Students will:

  • form a semi-circle in front of the whiteboard/projector.
  • watch the Protest Montage on YouTube.
  • as they are watching students are to use their logbooks to predict what the content of this lesson sequence will involve. Common responses include:
    • protest
    • socio-political issues
    • political issues
    • inequity
    • war
    • social unrest
  • introduce students to the concept of foreshadowing and highlight how this video highlights the style of theatre they will be exploring.

Defining political theatre

  1. Review the definition of political theatre provided on slide 3 of the KASCA Political Theatre – Brecht PowerPoint (PPTX 11.93MB)
  2. Monitor students’ understanding of key words by defining any unfamiliar words and recording definitions in their logbooks.

Finding issues

Remind students that political theatre is good political theatre reflects current social, cultural or historical issues as it makes the performance more engaging and relevant for the audience.

Students will:

  • brainstorm social and political issues individually
  • share their findings with a partner and add to any new findings to their brainstorm
  • share their findings with the class and add any new findings to their brainstorm
  • review and interpret a range of images and ask students to interpret the social, cultural and political issue being explored. Examples might include:
    • political posters
    • images of war
    • images of poverty
    • images of homelessness
  • after students have a varied list of political issues to choose from, divide them into groups of three to six and ask them to select one issue, research it and devise a short one-minute performance that has a linear narrative using this issue as a stimulus.

Understanding Brecht

Students will:

Non-linear narrative performance task

Students will:

  • re-structure the work they devised at the beginning of this sequence, converting it from a linear narrative into a non-linear narrative
  • while watching each other’s work students will reflect on the impact a non-linear narrative has on the audience
  • reflect and record their findings in their logbook.

Conventions performance task

Students will:

  • adjust the work they devised at the beginning of the sequence by selecting up to four conventions listed on the Epic theatre – conventions  handout and applying them to their performance
  • watch each other’s work and reflect on the impact these conventions have on audience engagement
  • reflect and record their findings in their logbook.

Reflection

Students will:

  • write a letter to a friend describing what political theatre is. Ensuring they use the conventions of a letter, which include:
    • a postal address followed by date in top right corner
    • a greeting which is typically 'Dear Sir' or 'Dear Madam' or their full title if they have met, spoken, or written before. For example, 'Dear Mr Brown' or 'Dear Dr Jones'
    • ending is always 'Yours faithfully' if you have opened with 'Sir' or 'Madam' or 'Yours sincerely' if you have used a name
  • in their response include an example of how/why/when they might use political theatre
  • use examples from the workshop as evidence.

Differentiation

Extension

Students could:

  • research the socio-cultural and political context that led to the development of Epic theatre
  • stage scenes from plays by Brecht and discuss the themes and issues communicated within the text.

Life skills

Life skills outcomes

A student:

LS. 1.2 a student explores a variety of playbuilding activities.

LS 2.1 a student explores dramatic forms and theatrical conventions.

LS. 3.2 identifies and responds to the elements of drama or theatre in performances

LS 3.3 recognises that drama and theatre performances can communicate meaning and ideas.

Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Students could:

  • identify current issues in the news and media
  • create a linear narrative using tableaux of a current social, cultural and political issue. Create a montage performance using the tableaux created ad music.

Evaluate

Feedback is formative during the lessons.

Reference list and resources
  • Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.
  • Handout: Epic theatre – conventions  handout
  • Presentation: Political theatre - Brecht
  • Youtube Clip: Protest Montage.

Duration: 1 week

Driving question

How can comedy be used as a vehicle to insight social change or highlight social inequity?

Overview

Students learn to devise performances that are of a satirical nature. They begin to understand that, if used correctly, comedy can go beyond a means of just entertainment and can be used to highlight social inequity. Students experiment with exaggeration, role-reversal and caricature both practically and experientially to understand how these techniques can be used in a performance to create comedy.

Stage 4 outcomes

Stage 5 outcomes

A student:

A student:

4.1.2 improvises and playbuilds through group-devised processes

5.1.2 contributes, selects, develops and structures ideas in improvisation and playbuilding

4.1.3 devises and enacts drama using scripted and unscripted material

5.1.3 devises, interprets and enacts drama using scripted and unscripted material or text

4.2.3 explores and uses aspects of dramatic forms, performance styles, theatrical conventions and technologies to create dramatic meaning

5.2.3 employs a variety of dramatic forms, performance styles, dramatic techniques, theatrical conventions and technologies to create dramatic meaning

4.3.2 recognises the function of drama and theatre in reflecting social and cultural aspects of human experience

5.3.2 analyses the contemporary and historical contexts of drama

Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Content

Satire is traditionally a form of comedy, but can often be found in political theatre as a vehicle for social commentary on current social, historical or political events. Essentially it means to ‘send-up’. Satire will often mock an individual, group of people or, more broadly, an institution. Satire uses a range of techniques to create humour and dramatic meaning, including:

  • Exaggeration – Representing something (action, voice, slogan) beyond normal boundaries so that it becomes larger allowing for faults to be seen (e.g. a caricature).
  • Reversal – To swap the roles of a situation and present them out of the usual order (e.g. male versus female gender roles).
  • Parody – to imitate the techniques, actions and language of a person, place, or thing.

Satirical comedy is made even more powerful when the topics are well known to the audience. Often the more relevant or famous the person, event or institution is, the funnier the satire will be for the audience as it feels more relevant to their lived experience. However, if done without care or thought, satire can be deemed as offensive or insulting, consequently care must be taken to ensure the dramatic meaning is clear and consistent.

While satire can often feel contemporary, it is important to note that its origins were in ancient Greek satyr plays and some of the works of Shakespeare. More recently, it was used by German theatre practitioner Bertolt Brecht who used theatre to highlight aspects of the government in 1930’s Germany. Presently, satire is all around us in contemporary culture with almost every facet of the media employing it, including: newspapers, magazines, theatre, arts, television, radio and film. It is a way of engaging audiences and an opportunity to provide a social commentary on social, political or cultural events in a comic or humorous means.

Cross-curriculum content and key competencies

Civics and citizenship

Difference and diversity

Gender

Embedded elements of drama

  • Role & Character
  • Situation
  • Language
  • Movement
  • Dramatic Meaning
  • Audience Engagement

Assessment

All activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all assessment for learning activities.

Teaching and learning activities

The following learning experiences are structured to provide students with a practical and theoretical understanding of how to structure a script.

Everyday events

Students will:

  • create list of what they did yesterday after school. The list does not need be detailed, but more a short recount of events in dot-point form. For example, watched television, rode bicycle, went to the shops, are all good examples for this task.
  • discuss the similarities and differences between the student activities.
  • using the theme song to The Simpsons, ask students to identify the activities characters are doing during the opening titles. Examples include:
    • Bart writing on the blackboard
    • Bart on his skateboard
    • Homer leaving and driving home from work
    • Marge at the supermarket checkout
    • Lisa playing the saxophone
    • The family racing for the couch
  • compare the sequence of events in the opening of The Simpsons to their own list of events.
  • discuss why The Simpsons might start, as well as other TV series, with a recognizable series of events.
  • read through the more than laughs handout (PDF 3.02MB) and discuss how this relates to The Simpsons.
  • review the opening sequence of events and discuss what underlying political, social or cultural messages are communicated. For example:

Action from opening titles

Message

Bart writing on the blackboard during detention.

Discipline and engagement in USA education.

Maggie being scanned at the checkout.

Consumerism (please note Maggie costs $847.63).

Lisa playing saxophone and being forced out of concert band rehearsals.

Censorship of creativity and freedom of thought.

Family racing for the couch.

The breakdown of relationships/communications in families due to technology.

  • respond to the following in their logbooks:
    • What elements of satire are present in the opening sequence of The Simpsons? Provide an example.
    • What social commentary is being made through the opening sequence of The Simpsons? Why is this relevant?

Celebrity caricature

Students will:

  • read the information provided and write a definition of ‘Caricature’
  • access YouTube and as a class, watch Donald Trump interviews himself in the mirror. Discuss and reflect on the performance in student logbooks. Suggested discussion topics are:
    • exaggerated movement and voice
    • celebrity status
    • use of slogans.
  • select and watch another celebrity interview on YouTube for their choice. In their logbooks makes notes about:
    • their movement (gestures, idiosyncrasies, etc.)
    • their voice (pitch, tone, tempo, accent)
    • their language (what words do they use frequently).
  • playbuild and perform a short satirical skit characterizing their chosen celebrity interview. Students will then evaluate how they caricatured their characters by discussing the skills/techniques used in their performance, in their logbooks.

Role reversal

Ask students to think about common stereotypes that exist regarding male and female gender roles.

Students will:

  • identify roles that are commonly associated with males and roles that are commonly associated with females
  • playbuild a group performance that uses role-reversal to create humour and make a social commentary on the issue of gender roles and stereotypes. Perform for the class.
  • write a long response answer to a question about the topic in their logbooks. For example:
    • comedy is all about the context. Discuss this with reference to your study of satire.

Encourage students to use workshop and performance examples as evidence in written responses.

Differentiation

Extension

Students could:

  • improvise an extended scene in character through a game such as hot seat.
  • playbuild a performance based on a two page written stimulus provided by the teacher converting it into the form of a satire.

Life skills

Life skills outcomes

A student:

LS. 1.1 explores characters, roles, situations and actions through drama activities

LS. 1.3 participates in drama experiences in which role-taking is used to enhance their understanding of ideas and feelings

LS. 3.2 identifies and responds to the elements of drama or theatre in performances

LS 3.3 recognises that drama and theatre performances can communicate meaning and ideas.

Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Students could:

  • identify what makes them laugh about the situations presented to them in the clip of The Simpsons
  • instead of referring to a celebrity, get students to think about how a particular friend or family member behaves. Discuss the stances and voices of these characters and play them with exaggeration
  • create tableaux (performed frozen images) of stereotyped gender situations and then adjust the gender of key characters
  • discuss verbally or in dot-point how other students created comedy in their performances.

Evaluate

Feedback is formative during the lessons.

Reference list and resources

Duration: 2 weeks

Driving question

How does a performer, director, designer or dramaturg navigate the various facets of a script?

Overview

Students are introduced to the key conventions of a script and explore how they can be used by actors, directors and dramaturgs to create an engaging theatrical work.

Stage 4 outcomes

Stage 5 outcomes

A student:

A student:

4.1.3 devises and enacts drama using scripted and unscripted material

5.1.3 devises, interprets and enacts drama using scripted and unscripted material or text

4.3.1 identifies and describes elements of drama, dramatic forms, performance styles, techniques and conventions in drama

5.3.1 responds to, reflects on and evaluates elements of drama, dramatic forms, performance styles, dramatic techniques and theatrical conventions

4.3.3 describes the contribution of individuals and groups in drama using relevant drama terminology.

5.3.3 analyses and evaluates the contribution of individuals and groups to processes and performances in drama using relevant drama concepts and terminology.

Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Content

Through workshop exercises, students gain an understanding of the importance of clear and consistent formatting and understand how to format scripted drama. Students document and critically reflect on their experiences reflecting on how this information supports their learning in drama.

Cross-curriculum content and key competencies

Information and communication technology

Literacy

Embedded elements of drama

  • Role and character
  • Time and place
  • Language

Assessment

All activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all assessment for learning activities.

Teaching and learning activities

The following learning experiences are structured to provide students with a practical and theoretical understanding of how to structure a script.

Brainstorm

In the centre of the room place a large sheet of butcher’s paper, markers and an assortment of scripts.

Students will:

  1. read and review the scripts
  2. brainstorm and write down anything they note about the script form and structure. This may include:
    1. titles of scripts
    2. layout
    3. page numbers
    4. dialogue.
  3. discuss students’ notes on the butcher’s paper.

Use the butcher’s paper as a starting point for student learning. As students’ progress through the tasks they can add to this sheet of butcher’s paper which will be placed on a wall or accessible space in the classroom.

Before the action

At the beginning of a script, key information is provided to performers, directors, designers and dramaturgs. As a class review a selection of scripts and determine if the following information is presented:

  • title page
  • dramatis personae
  • scene list
  • time.

Teacher in role – contentless scenes

  1. Provide students with a copy of the Contentless scenes handout (PDF 3.09MB).
  2. Explain to students that you are a director with a specific idea for the scene on the handout and that you will be auditioning the actors for a role in your up and coming Hollywood movie. Their job is to stage the scene for the director using the script provided.
  3. Provide students with some time to stage and rehearse the scene. It is important not to answer any questions regarding, time, place and character and encourage students to interpret the scene as they see appropriate.
  4. After an appropriate amount of rehearsal time ask students to present their performances to the class.
  5. After the performances, explain that none of the students met the director’s vision.
  6. Facilitate a discussion and logbook reflection of the importance of clarity in scriptwriting. A question to guide their reflection could be:
  • What information would have helped you achieve the director’s vision?

Anatomy of a script

  1. Review slides 5-10 of the supporting Page to stage powerpoint (PPTX 6.21MB) highlighting how the conventions of a script provide a clear picture from the playwright and provide us with more information to create the ‘world of our production’.
  2. Highlight the Drama-specific terminology to foster literacy and build students’ vocabulary. If these are new terms it may be beneficial for students to develop a glossary of key terms in their logbooks.

Scriptwriting

Now students are aware of the key conventions of scripted drama ask them to log onto a scriptwriting software such as www.celtx.com .

Students will:

  • create a new project by adjusting the contentless scene  to include all of the conventions of a script covered within the workshop OR by adopting the role of a playwright and create a new scene. Within their scene they must include the following conventions of a script:
    • title page
    • dramatis personae
    • scene list
    • time
    • scene description
    • stage directions
    • dialogue
    • end scene designations.

Reflection

Students will:

  • contribute any new information they have learnt to the mind-map created at the beginning of the sequence
  • respond to the reflective question: what are the conventions of a script and why are they important?
  • encourage students to use their workshop experiences to support their findings.

Differentiation

Extension

Students could:

  • create a new script on Celtx.com.
  • write a scene or play based on a stimulus idea or script provided by the teacher.

Life skills

Life skills outcomes

A student:

LS 1.2 explores a variety of playbuilding activities

Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Students could:

  • read and perform a given script
  • write a short scene about a daily ritual
  • highlight the different parts of a script.

Evaluate

Feedback is formative during the lessons.

Reference list and resources

Duration: 5-6 weeks

Driving questions

How do we create monologues based on characters in existing works? How are themes and issues communicated within a play? How can we communicate themes and issues within our work that reflect the socio-cultural context of contemporary Australia?

Overview

Students adopt the role of a playwright by writing a 4-6 minute monologue based on a character from Jasper Jones by Kate Mulvany. Then consider how themes and issues are communicated through actions, situations, characters and dialogue and investigate the socio-cultural context of their work.

Stage 4 outcomes

Stage 5 outcomes

A student:

A student:

4.1.1 identifies and explores the elements of drama to develop belief and clarity in character, role, situation and action

5.1.1 manipulates the elements of drama to create belief, clarity and tension in character, role, situation and action

4.2.3 explores and uses aspects of dramatic forms, performance styles, theatrical conventions and technologies to create dramatic meaning

5.2.3 employs a variety of dramatic forms, performance styles, dramatic techniques, theatrical conventions and technologies to create dramatic meaning.

4.3.2 recognises the function of drama and theatre in reflecting social and cultural aspects of human experience

5.3.2 analyses the contemporary and historical contexts of drama

Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Content

Through workshop exercises, students gain an understanding of how to effectively structure a monologue to create a theatrical journey that will engage audiences. They will review and analyse existing monologues, discuss Freytag’s pyramid as a guide for writing character arcs, and explore how themes and issues are communicated in theatrical works. They will discuss ways of creating role/character and establishing time, place and situation.

Cross-curriculum content and key competencies

Information and communication technology

Literacy

Aboriginal & Indigenous

Civics & Citizenship

Difference & Diversity

Embedded elements of drama

  • Role and character
  • Structure
  • Moment
  • Time and place
  • Audience Engagement
  • Dramatic Meaning

Assessment

All activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all assessment for learning activities.

Teaching and learning activities

The following learning experiences will guide students to structuring a monologue based on a character from the play Jasper Jones by Kate Mulvany.

Brainstorm

Review slide 2 of the Writing monologues PowerPoint (PPTX 2.88MB) and then go to the OffStage YouTube channel and as a class watch sample Monologues.

Students will:

  • brainstorm what was entertaining about each monologue
  • discuss as a class their findings and add to their brainstorm.

Throughout this task, it is beneficial to highlight to students the importance of having 3-dimensional, engaging characters and a theatrical journey.

Prediction bingo

Provide students with a copy of Jasper Jones by Kate Mulvany.

Students will:

  • scan or skim through the text and write down predictions (words or statements) on the Prediction Bingo handout (PDF 3.09MB). Clues might be more obvious such as “there will be a character called Jasper Jones” or more complex such as “it will themes and issues such as racism”
  • discuss what led them to these predictions (e.g. visual images, quotes from the text, the title, etc)
  • begin reading as a class, as the text is read, highlight each of their predictions as they come true.

Reflecting on the text

Students will:

  • review and summarise the information on slide 6-8
  • discuss the relevance of the theme ‘sorry’ for both 1960s rural Australia and contemporary Australia
  • complete the themes and issues table on slide 9.

Finding the right character

Students will:

  • Identify two characters they connected with or were intrigued by while reading the play Jasper Jones.
  • use their logbooks to respond to the following questions:
    • what is the character’s name? Age? Distinguishing features?
    • how does this character’s journey provide an engaging character and story for the audience?
    • how does this character’s journey highlight YOUR skills as an actor? Does it provide emotional variety?
  • discuss which character would be better for them to play and justify their reason.

Freytag’s Pyramid

Guide students through the information on the Structuring Stories handout (PDF3.11MB). Then, divide students into pairs/groups and allocate each group a scene from the text.

Students will:

  • identify or create a character arc using Freytag’s pyramid as a guiding structure.
  • discuss why Freytag’s pyramid is useful when structuring stories and how it might be applied when they are devising their work.

Establishing time, place and situation

Students will:

These questions will force students to address and define the contextual information for their monologue, which will assist them in the writing process.

Scriptwriting

Students will:

  • review and summarise the key information provided on slides 14 and 15 of the Writing monologues PowerPoint (PPTX 2.88MB)
  • begin writing monologues based on the experiences of the selected character from Jasper Jones
  • encourage students to share their work with their peers.

Reflection

Students will:

  • respond to the reflective questions:
    • There are many relevant themes and issues within the play Jasper Jones. How were these communicated in your monologue?
    • Jasper Jones comments on racism in 1960s rural Australia. Describe why these themes are relevant today and the action we can take to embrace diversity.
  • encourage students to use their workshop experiences to support their findings.

Differentiation

Extension

Students could:

  • students perform their monologues
  • students writing a monologue for the same event from the perspective of a different character (for example, writing the moment Charlie see’s Laura’s body from the perspective of Jasper).

Life skills

Life skills outcomes

A student:

LS. 1.3 participates in drama experiences in which role-taking is used to enhance their understanding of ideas and feelings

LS. 3.1 experiences a variety of drama or theatre performances.

Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Students could:

  • creates a 100 word monologue
  • writes a diary letter from the perspective of a character
  • watch the film version of Jasper Jones.
Evaluate

Feedback is formative during the lessons.

Reference list and resources

Duration: 1 week

Driving question

How are melodramas structured to ensure they are easy to understand?

Overview

Students are introduced and to this socio-cultural context of Melodrama, key terms and the structure of traditional melodramas. Through practical and theoretical tasks students write and devise a traditional melodrama within this sequence and begin to understand the role and function of asides.

Stage 4 outcomes

Stage 5 outcomes

A student:

A student:

4.1.2 improvises and playbuilds through group-devised processes

5.1.2 contributes, selects, develops and structures ideas in improvisation and playbuilding

4.1.3 devises and enacts drama using scripted and unscripted material

5.1.3 devises, interprets and enacts drama using scripted and unscripted material or text

4.3.3 describes the contribution of individuals and groups in drama using relevant drama terminology

5.3.3 analyses and evaluates the contribution of individuals and groups to processes and performances in drama using relevant drama concepts and terminology

Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Content

Melodrama developed as a theatrical form in the 19th century in France and quickly became the dominant theatre form in Western culture for the next century. Its primary purpose was to entertain and enabled form escapism for the middle and lower class people who were experiencing long working hours and poor conditions. They used simple plot-lines, exaggerated characters, music and spectacular effects to heighten emotional impact on the audience. As time has progressed, contemporary melodramas are evident in daytime television series such as the Bold and the Beautiful, Neighbours and Home and Away.

Cross-curriculum content and key competencies

Information and communications technology

Literacy

Gender

Civics and Citizenship

Embedded elements of drama

  • Structure
  • Role & Character
  • Time
  • Place
  • Situation
  • Audience Engagement

Assessment

All activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all assessment for learning activities.

Teaching and learning activities

The following learning experiences are structured to provide students with a practical and theoretical understanding of Political theatre.

Key term match-up

Scatter the Key terms in melodrama cards (PDF 3.13MB) on the floor throughout the classroom.

Students will:

  • review the words and definitions provided on the cards
  • work in small groups to match the appropriate terms and definitions
  • when matched correctly, place key terms and definitions next to each other on the classroom wall so they can be used throughout the unit of work
  • discuss any new terms or unfamiliar terms with students modelling fluency and pronunciation
  • copy definitions and terms into their books as a ‘glossary’ that can be used throughout the term.

Read & answer

Provide students with a copy of the Overview of melodrama handout (PDF 3.09MB) and load the Melodrama Overview quiz.

Students will:

  • read the information provided and paste it in their book
  • log onto their devices and complete the Melodrama Overview quiz
  • use the quiz ID number and load the quiz
  • complete the quiz
  • discuss the answers.

Group devising

In this task, students will apply their understanding of the structure of traditional melodramas and begin to stage their own.

Students will:

  • devise four separate scenes based on the melodrama structure in the Overview of melodrama handout (PDF 3.09MB)
  • present their scenes to the class
  • review their peers scenes by commenting on the structure, characters and their actions
  • return to devising, this time focusing on managing smooth and theatrical transitions to ensure the rhythm of the production is not interrupted. This time students may add music, movement, lighting and sound
  • after a significant amount of rehearsal time, form an audience
  • discuss appropriate audience behaviour as a class
  • present their performances
  • provide feedback to each other using the elements of drama as a toolbox for analysis
  • write a written review of their favourite performance in their logbook.

Research and reflect

Students will:

  • respond to the following reflection question in their logbook
    • Write a plot outline for a modern Australian melodrama.
    • Use the internet to research traditional Australian melodrama. How similar were the stock characters you created? Summarise the main differences between the traditional and your contemporary characters
    • Melodramas often deal with simple moral concepts such as good versus evil, with good often prevailing over evil. Is this an accurate reflection of Australia?.

Differentiation

Extension

Students could:

  • create their own Kahoot questions and answers
  • film their performances and convert them into a short film
  • debate whether the male and female gender roles that exist within melodrama are an accurate reflection of contemporary gender roles in Australia.

Life skills activity

Life skills outcomes

A student:

LS 1.3 participates in drama experiences in which role-taking is used to enhance their understanding of ideas and feelings.

LS 3.3 recognises that drama and theatre performances can communicate meaning and ideas.

Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Students could:

  • watch a Muppet Melodrama (00:03:09) discuss how the audience might respond to different situations. While watching it a second time, ask students to use cue cards to identify the appropriate responses.

Evaluate

Feedback is formative during the lessons.

Reference list and resources

Duration: 2 weeks

Overview

Students will explore and express a range of stock characters using vocal dynamics, exaggerated movement and gestures in the style of traditional Melodrama. They will focus on developing skills in developing and sustaining engaging characters through theoretical and experiential tasks.

Stage 4 outcomes

Stage 5 outcomes

A student:

A student:

4.1.1 identifies and explores the elements of drama to develop belief and clarity in character, role, situation and action

4.1.2 improvises and playbuilds through group-devised processes

5.1.1 manipulates the elements of drama to create belief, clarity and tension in character, role, situation and action

5.1.2 contributes, selects, develops and structures ideas in improvisation and playbuilding

4.1.3 devises and enacts drama using scripted and unscripted material

5.1.3 devises, interprets and enacts drama using scripted and unscripted material or text

4.2.3 explores and uses aspects of dramatic forms, performance styles, theatrical conventions and technologies to create dramatic meaning

5.2.3 employs a variety of dramatic forms, performance styles, dramatic techniques, theatrical conventions and technologies to create dramatic meaning

Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Content

Melodrama developed as a theatrical form in the 19th century in France and quickly became the dominant theatre form in Western culture for the next century. Its primary purpose was to entertain and enabled form escapism for the middle and lower class people who were experiencing long working hours and poor conditions. They used simple plot-lines, exaggerated characters, music and spectacular effects to heighten emotional impact on the audience. As time has progressed, contemporary melodramas have emerged through superhero films such as Batman, Superman and Catwoman. While the acting style is subtler and the narratives are seemingly more complicated, the stock character continues to be exaggerated and, at times, clichéd.

The stock characters with Melodrama are a reflection of clearly defined and socially constructed gender roles. Through participation in workshop experiences and reflection, students are encouraged to embody the physical traits of these characters and question whether the female to male gender roles has changed over time.

Cross-curriculum content and key competencies

Gender

Information and communications technology

Embedded elements of drama

  • Movement
  • Role & Character
  • Language
  • Sound
  • Audience Engagement

Assessment

All activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all assessment for learning activities.

Teaching and learning activities

The following learning experiences are structured to provide students with a practical and theoretical understanding of Political theatre.

Snap search

Students will:

  • use the internet to research and note in their logbooks, the physical attributes of each stock character in traditional melodrama
  • write a reflection in their logbook as to how this would effect the way this character would move on stage and when interacting with others.

Walk like a….

This activity requires students to walk around the room and embody the various stock characters in Melodrama.

  1. Students will walk around the room from a neutral position.
  2. At different points, the teacher will announce a character-type and students respond physically and begin to walk as this character. Examples include
    1. Hero
    2. Villain
    3. Hero’s sidekick
    4. Villain’s sidekick
    5. Heroine and/or damsel in distress.
  3. Encourage students to experiment with:
    1. the speed of their walk
    2. the part of the body they lead with
    3. the weight (light/heavy) of their movement.
  1. After experimentation, students can discuss their findings as a class using the following questions:
    1. What did the character types all have in common?
    2. How did the hero move differently to the villain?
    3. What was the difference between a hero and a sidekick?
    4. As actor’s, why is important to ensure our characters are physically clear for the audience?
  2. To extend students skills, you might encourage them to research and experiment with Laban’s efforts when creating stock characters.

Watch & learn

Watch the YouTube clip Muppet Melodrama (00:03:09).

Students will:

  • identify the characters present in the clip
  • record and describe the movement, action, voice of each character
  • discuss the impact using these characters has on audience engagement.

Typical responses to this video might include:

  • heroes, villains, damsel in distress are evident.
  • exaggerated voice and movement
  • easily identifiable characters that the audience.

Fakebook profile

Provide students with a copy of the Stock characters in melodrama handout (PDF 3.31MB).

Students will:

  • read through the information and highlight key points
  • select one character and create a character profile for one stock character using either the resource provided or by using Classtools.com’s Fakebook profile creator.

To extend students’ skills, you may ask them to begin to physically embody their character and, as a class, hot seat (interview) the character.

Building character

Introduce students to the concept of stance and remind them that each person, stands and moves differently according to a range of factors, including age, gender, status, strength and emotion

Students will:

  • find a space in the room and adopt a neutral position
  • think of one character and slowly internalise this character by following their teacher’s prompting questions below
    • What is this character thinking about?
    • What is their breathing pattern like?
    • Where is their eye-level/focus?
    • Are there any parts of their body that feel different to the rest?
  • be guided to move and adjust their physical stance by following their teacher’s prompting questions below
    • How does this character stand when they are relaxed?
    • How does this character stand when they are afraid?
    • How does this character stand when they fearless?
    • How does this character stand when they are oppressed?
  • cycle through these stances and store them in their muscle memory
  • develop a specific character walk by following their teacher’s prompting questions below
    • How big are the steps your character takes?
    • How heavy/light are their steps?
    • What part of their body breaks the space first?
    • Where is their focus as they walk?
    • How do your limbs move as you walk?
  • experiment with how their character walk changing accordingly to reflect the emotions and situations guided by the questions below
    • How does your character walk change when happy?
    • How does your character walk change when panicked?
    • How does your character walk change when afraid?
    • How does your character walk change when defeated?
    • How does your character walk change when triumphant?
  • experiment with how their character interacts with other characters when walking around the space.

Reflection

Students will:

  • discuss if the gender norms used in melodrama reflect contemporary culture and the impacts it might have if the gender roles were reversed
  • write a creative writing piece that swaps the male and female gender roles using a simple narrative and employing stock characters often evident in melodrama
  • read their writing aloud and discuss how the change in the character’s gender influences the audience’s journey.

Differentiation

Extension

Students could:

  • identify and discuss how the stock characters of Commedia dell’arte are evident in the television series The Simpsons. What is the connection between Commedia Dell’arte and Melodrama?
  • research and use Laban’s effort analysis to assist in the creation and physicalisation of their stock characters
  • hot seat stock characters created using the Fakebook resource provided
  • develop short improvised scenes that utilise the stock characters of melodrama.

Life skills

Life skills outcomes

A student:

LS. 1.1 explores characters, roles, situations and actions through drama activities

LS 1.3 participates in drama experiences in which role-taking is used to enhance their understanding of ideas and feelings.

Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Students could:

  • create a list of heroes, villains and damsel’s in distress in popular media and entertainment and embody these characters
  • step into the ‘shoes’ of a stock character by using costumes and props.

Evaluate

Feedback is formative during the lessons.

Reference list and resources

Duration: 2 weeks

Overview

Within this sequence, students understand through practical exploration how to manipulate their voice and movement to create stock characters and perform asides. They then apply this knowledge to devise and perform a short monologue based on the character Syndrome from The Incredibles.

Stage 4 outcomes

Stage 5 outcomes

A student:

A student:

4.1.3 devises and enacts drama using scripted and unscripted material

5.1.3 devises, interprets and enacts drama using scripted and unscripted material or text

4.2.1 uses performance skills to communicate dramatic meaning

5.2.1 applies acting and performance techniques expressively and collaboratively to communicate dramatic meaning

4.3.3 describes the contribution of individuals and groups in drama using relevant drama terminology

5.3.3 analyses and evaluates the contribution of individuals and groups to processes and performances in drama using relevant drama concepts and terminology

Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Content

Melodrama developed as a theatrical form in the 19th century in France and quickly became the dominant theatre form in Western culture for the next century. Its primary purpose was to entertain, and enabled a form escapism for the middle and lower class people who were experiencing long working hours and poor conditions. They used simple plot-lines, exaggerated characters, music and spectacular effects to heighten emotional impact on the audience. As time has progressed, contemporary melodramas have emerged through superhero films such as: Batman, Superman and Catwoman. While the acting style is subtler and the narratives are seemingly more complicated, the stock character continue to be exaggerated and, at times, clichéd.

Cross-curriculum content and key competencies

Information and communications technology

Embedded elements of drama

  • Role & Character
  • Audience Engagement
  • Tension
  • Sound
  • Language

Assessment

All activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all assessment for learning activities.

Teaching and learning activities

The following learning experiences are structured to provide students with a practical skills and knowledge in manipulating their voice as performers.

Playing with emphasis & exaggeration

Prior to this task it is beneficial to participate in a range of vocal warm ups, that focus on: preparing the students’ voice for performance, projection and articulation. To guide student learning in this task, please review slide two of the Melodrama Voice PowerPoint (PPTX 2.84MB).

Students will:

  • experiment with the delivery of common lines of dialogue in melodrama by using the phonetic spelling presented as outlined on slides 3-5 of the Melodrama Voice PowerPoint (PPTX 2.84MB)
  • consider how the change of emphasis changes the way the line is perceived by the audience.

Famous last words

Scatter Famous Last Words, death bed statements on the floor throughout the classroom.

Students will:

  • move through the classroom in neutral, finding focus
  • on a given cue from their teacher pick up the quote closest to them and present the line as melodramatically as possible to the nearest person to them, particularly focusing on how they are manipulating their voice
  • repeat this process multiple times until students have performed a range of lines of dialogue
  • discuss how they manipulated their voice, common answers might include: tempo, emphasis, tone, pitch, accent, duration.

Explain to students that, like movement in melodrama, the performer’s voice is also heightened and exaggerated.

Aside

Provide students with a copy of You caught monologuing handout (PDF 3.14MB).

Students will:

  • rehearse and perform the monologue adding an aside at an appropriate time in the performance
  • present the short monologue to the class for feedback.

Reflection

Students respond to the following reflection question in paragraph form in their logbooks ‘When delivering an aside how did you use body language and voice to create a feeling of secrecy? How did this change the character’s relationship with the audience?’ Encourage students to use examples from their own performances or performances they have seen to support their response.

Differentiation

Extension

Students could:

  • add gestures and movement to the lines of dialogues in tasks one and two
  • write and record a short radio play that requires them to manipulate and use their voice
  • record a video their monologue and analyse their performance using the elements of drama as a toolbox for analysis.

Life skills

Life skills outcomes

A student:

LS 1.3 participates in drama experiences in which role-taking is used to enhance their understanding of ideas and feelings.

LS 3.3 recognises that drama and theatre performances can communicate meaning and ideas.

Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Students could:

  • use voice changing applications to experiment with voice manipulation and determine the type of stock character that might have this voice
  • exaggerate single words to communicate a given emotion and then discuss how emotions are communicated
  • compare and contrast how the voice changes when telling a secret to every day and conversation.

Evaluate

Feedback is formative during the lessons.

Reference list and resources

Duration: 2-3 weeks

Driving question

In the context of Greek theatre, what is a chorus and what skills are needed to create a chorus?

Overview

Through practical movement-based tasks, students are encouraged to develop ensemble skills, timing and rhythm. Students read about the dramatic convention of the chorus and are given the opportunity to express their learning through written, oral and performance activities.

Stage 4 outcomes

Stage 5 outcomes

A student:

A student:

4.1.2 improvises and playbuilds through group-devised processes

5.1.2 contributes, selects, develops and structures ideas in improvisation and playbuilding

4.2.3 explores and uses aspects of dramatic forms, performance styles, theatrical conventions and technologies to create dramatic meaning

5.2.3 employs a variety of dramatic forms, performance styles, dramatic techniques, theatrical conventions and technologies to create dramatic meaning

4.3.1 identifies and describes elements of drama, dramatic forms, performance styles, techniques and conventions in drama

5.3.1 responds to, reflects on and evaluates elements of drama, dramatic forms, performance styles, dramatic techniques and theatrical conventions

Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Content

This lesson sequence provides an introduction and practical exploration of Chorus as a technique used in Greek Theatre. The chorus is used to provide information to the audience, often about events that could not take place on stage. They also fill the gaps in the story or progress the narrative. They have a direct relationship with the audience as well as the characters. They communicate the moral message of the plays. They would do this as one unit or with one member of the chorus ‘stepping out’.

Cross-curriculum content and key competencies

Literacy

Assessment

All activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all assessment for learning activities.

Teaching and learning activities

Reading

Students will:

  1. review Greek theatre Chorus handout (PDF 3.09MB)
  2. as a class, discuss where they might have seen a chorus before and discuss any unfamiliar words.

Key term match-up

Scatter Key terms and definition cards (PDF 3.09MB) on the floor throughout the classroom.

Students will:

  1. review the words and definitions provided on the cards
  2. work in small groups to match the appropriate terms and definitions
  3. when matched correctly as per the table below, place key terms and definitions next to each other on the classroom wall so they can be used throughout the unit of work

Term

Definition

Canon

When a group of performers present the same movement, gesture or phrase one after another.

Unison

To do something at the same time.

Stichomythia

Lines of dialogue being presented by alternating characters.

Locomotor movement

Movement that involves the body moving from one place to another.

Gestural movement

Movement of the hands, face or other body parts that communicate particular messages.

Chorus

A group of performers who sing, speak, dance and move in unison.

Exaggeration

Making something larger or greater than it is naturally.

Repetition

The repeating of a word, phrase, movement or gesture.

  • discuss any new or unfamiliar terms with students modelling fluency and pronunciation
  • students copy definitions and words into their books as a ‘glossary’ that can be used throughout the unit.

Moving as one

A core feature of the chorus in Greek Theatre is the ability to move as one distinct unit. The following movement-based tasks allow students to explore different ways they might use choral movement as a theatrical device.

Snake
  1. Stand in a single line of 4-8 people with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. Playing gentle instrumental music in this task is optional.
  2. Begin to walk around the room, focusing on moving in unison. They should focus on using the same leg, looking in the same direction and maintain the same distance with the person in front of them.
  3. Swap leaders and encourage them to begin ‘snaking’ around the room. Play with:
    1. tempo
    2. add stops
    3. starts
    4. twists
    5. and turns into their movement.
  4. Remove their hands from the person’s shoulders, following the person in front of them while maintaining the same distance, without touching, using the same leg, and looking in the same direction.
Parallel Lines
  1. Stand in two parallel lines. They place their outer arm on the shoulder of the person in front of them and their arm on the inside of the two lines on the shoulder of the next to them.
  2. Walk around the room, focusing on moving in unison. They should focus on using the same leg, looking in the same direction and maintaining the same distance with the person in front, behind and next to them.
  3. Swap leaders and encourage them to begin ‘snaking’ around the room. Encourage them to play with tempo and add stops, starts, twists and turns into their movement.
  4. Remove their hands from the person’s shoulders in front of them and begin to move around the room. Focusing on the same leg, looking in the same direction and maintain the same distance with the person in front, behind and next to them, continue to move around the room in unison.
Mirroring
  1. Divide students into pairs and ask them to find a space in the room.
  2. Ask each pair decide who is performer A and who is performer B.
  3. Pairs stand facing one another in a neutral position, making eye contact.
  4. As Player B begins moving, A is to mirror B’s actions exactly. Both players should maintain eye contact, and monitor each other’s movement using their peripheral vision.
  5. Encourage slow and sustained movements, to begin with, simple actions like brushing teeth or playing a sport in slow motion.
  6. After a short period, ask students to switch leaders.
  7. Eventually, pairs can be encouraged to switch back and forth between leaders on their own or to try and work together where neither person is leading.
Flocking

The object of the activity is for the group to look like they are moving as one. All movement should be improvised. This activity can be done with or without music.

  1. Stand in groups of four in a diamond formation. All students should be facing the same direction and have enough room to stretch out without touching each other.
  2. The individual at the front tip of the diamond will perform an action, lead everyone in the controlled movement. The remainder of the will group follow or mirror the leader.
  3. If and when the leader shifts direction from the front to the side of the room and is facing another wall, the control of the movement shifts to the person now at the front of the diamond.
  4. Encourage students to aim for fluid transitions between leaders
Canon

To warm students up and introduce them to the concept of a canon, ask students to participate in the following task. Before beginning, it is a good idea to reiterate the meaning of canon and gestural movement using the definitions that were placed on the classroom wall during task one.

  1. Stand in a circle.
  2. Start off with a gesture.
  3. Perform the gesture, followed by the other students copying it in a canon manner around the circle.
  4. Explain that the essential element of a canon is the use rhythm and timing.
  5. Pass the gesture around the circle again, this time focusing on timing and maintaining a steady rhythm.
  6. Continue exploring canon, add a gesture to the original movement each time it goes around the circle until you form a phrase of movements.
  7. Pairing up with the person next to them in the circle, find a quite space in the room. As an ensemble, they are to explore canon using the same phrase of movement and order of students as in the circle, however, this time they are using different spatial relationships and formations.
Speaking in chorus

As a class watch the Prologue from Beauty and the Beast.

Students will:

  1. in small groups of three to six, create a short performance to the prologue from Beauty and the Beast script with a focus on speaking in chorus, they are encouraged to experiment with the following techniques:
    1. choral moments
    2. solo moments
    3. pitch
    4. tempo
    5. canon
    6. repetition.
  2. ask students to add gestural movement, locomotive movement and music.
Newspaper activity
  1. Review by discussion the chorus techniques covered over the previous exercises.
  2. Provide students with a newspaper article OR ask them to bring one in before this lesson.
  3. Students will use the newspaper article as the stimulus to devise a performance that uses a chorus.
  4. Allocate students with some time (depending on the length of performance, this may take a few lessons) to devise and rehearse the performance.
  5. After a short period ask students to form an audience take a turn at presenting their performances to the class.
  6. As a class provide feedback and discuss the students’ use of the chorus.
Reflection

Students will:

  • respond to the reflective task in their logbooks. A question to guide their response could be:
    • describe how chorus was effectively used in your, or another groups’ performance.
  • encourage students to use the key definitions covered at the beginning of the sequence in their response
  • encourage students to use their workshop experiences to support their findings.

Differentiation

Extension

Students could:

  • expand the distance between each other when working on choral movement
  • go beyond focusing on voice and use music and movement in the Flocking activity to heighten mood and atmosphere

Life skills activity

Life skills outcomes

A student:

LS 2.1 a student explores dramatic forms and theatrical conventions

LS 3.2 a student identifies and respond to the elements of drama or theatre in performances

Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Students could:

  • participate in the movement based tasks that focus on building chorus and ensemble skills
  • students verbally discuss how they worked with their group to explore the stimulus provided.

Evaluate

Feedback is formative during the lessons.

Reference list and resources

Duration: 1 week

Driving questions

What is the purpose of theatre in Ancient Greece?  What are the conventions of ancient Greek theatre? How is theatre in ancient Greece similar and different to contemporary theatre?

Overview

Students develop skills in analysing the creditability of web sources and using the Internet to research a given topic. They use Socrative to compete against their peers in a space race showing their research skills, understanding of the history and socio-cultural context of ancient Greek theatre and the conventions of ancient Greek theatre.

Stage 4 Outcomes

Stage 5 Outcomes

A student:

A student:

4.3.1 identifies and describes elements of drama, dramatic forms, performance styles, techniques and conventions in drama

5.3.1 responds to, reflects on and evaluates elements of drama, dramatic forms, performance styles, dramatic techniques and theatrical conventions

4.3.2 recognises the function of drama and theatre in reflecting social and cultural aspects of human experience.

5.3.2 analyses the contemporary and historical contexts of drama.

Drama 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Content

Through interactive digital technology, students gain skills in searching for credible sources online, research skills and develop an understanding of the socio-cultural context of ancient Greek theatre.

Through research they explore how Greek theatre provided the foundation of contemporary theatre. Students study the development of Greek theatre from ritual ceremonies in celebration of the God Dionysus to ancient Greek theatre, including: masked performance, song and dance.

Cross-curriculum content and key competencies

Information and communication technology

Embedded elements of drama

  • Structure
  • Symbol
  • Dramatic Meaning

Assessment

All activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all assessment for learning activities.

Teaching and learning activities

The following learning experiences are structured to provide students with a practical and theoretical understanding of Greek Theatre.

Analysing web sources

Students will:

  1. review the Analysing web sources resource (PDF 3.09MB)
  2. discuss why assessing the creditability of an online source is important?
Space race

Students are divided into research teams between 2-4 students. They will use the internet to research the questions being presented using the skills/knowledge gained in the previous task to access reliable sources.

Students will then respond to questions on Socrative.

Teachers instruction
  1. Go to www.socrative.com.
  2. Create a teacher account with Socrative.com or log-in.Screenshot of socrative
  3. Search for the quiz with the number 31827109.
  4. In the quizzes section the ‘Greek Theatre History KASCA’ quiz should appear.Screenshot of socrative
  5. Select ‘Launch’, then ‘Space Race’.Screenshot of socrative
  6. Select the quiz you would like to use.Screenshot of socrative
  7. Decide whether you would like questions shuffled and click ‘Start’.