Drama - annotated exemplars level 3 AS91516 (A)

Demonstrate understanding of the work of a drama or theatre theorist or practitioner (3.5A)

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This annotated exemplar is intended for teacher use only. The student work shown does not always represent a complete sample of what is required. Selected extracts are used, focused on the grade boundaries, in order to assist assessors to make judgements at the national standard.

Low Excellence

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Student response

Student 1 (PDF, 405KB)

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For Excellence a student needs to demonstrate perceptive understanding of the work of a drama or theatre theorist or practitioner.

This involves justifying, with insight, the application in relation to the intention of the work of a practitioner or theorist.

This student has applied the ideas of Edward Gordon Craig to design a set for the Arthur Miller play and they are justified. The white block props (00:22) (1) that have multiple uses during the play, and the raising of the house platform to separate the house from the backyard and the street without the use of walls (01:03), support Craig’s notion of the set being suggestive of time and place (anti-realism).

The student’s architectural design choice for the cyclorama is perceptive and communicates the overwhelming nature of the city in Willy’s life (01:54) (2), directly applying Craig’s design elements of ‘changes in scale’ and ‘the actor dwarfed in his environment’.

The student continues to demonstrate perceptive understanding of Craig’s notion to create mood and atmosphere through synthesis of technical elements, for example in the use of lighting from the back through windows (02:44) and the symbolic statement representing Linda (02:57) (3).

For a more secure Excellence, the student could detail points in their design that need to be more symbolic and less literal. For example, there is still a very literal interpretation of spaces or rooms in the play, even though there are no walls there are clear delineations.

High Merit

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Student response

Student 2 (PDF, 210KB)

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For Merit, the student needs to demonstrate informed understanding of the work of a drama or theatre theorist or practitioner. This involves justifying the application in relation to the intention of the work of a practitioner or theorist.

This student has demonstrated evidence of application of Edward Gordon Craig’s ideas of symbolism to their set design, and there is clear justification in the written work.

Hydraulic platforms (1) that can be moved independently to represent beds, stairs, a bar, kitchen table and also to confine Willy and Biff in a small and unstable place, applies Craig’s design elements to have ‘moveable units of stage’ and to have ‘theatre as a technological machine’. Mirrors in the aisles as transitions between Willy’s past and present (01:49) (2) support Craig’s abstract modernistic approach to staging and integrate symbolic statements into the design elements.

The choice to end the piece with a single spotlight on the flowers for the funeral centre stage is justified as this represents the last we will see of Willy alone (3). Ideas for the symbolic use of costumes are clearly linked to Craig and justified, showing informed choices (4).

To reach Excellence, the student could unpack his ideas in more detail to reflect the intent and relationship to Craig’s thinking with insight. While the work, to the informed eye, indicates intelligent design and moves towards perceptiveness there needs to be certainty in the justification.

Low Merit

Commentary
Student response

Student 3 (PDF, 158KB)

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For Merit, the student needs to demonstrate informed understanding of the work of a drama or theatre theorist or practitioner.

This involves justifying the application in relation to the intention of the work of a practitioner or theorist.

This student has demonstrated an informed understanding of the work of Edward Gordon Craig and several decisions are justified.

In the written work it is noted that ‘the house’ rigid structure and its unstableness is a Craig influenced idea, as the building embodies Willy Loman (2) and he indicates the link to Craig’s theory.

The student’s assertion later, that ‘Craig influenced imposing buildings’ (3), is linked to Craig’s design for Hamlet (00:38). Similarly, the discussion of the prop is generalised and its versatility is considered without clearly linking to Craig’s thinking or purpose.

Some of the ideas approach perceptiveness: the discussion of the neon effect of lighting on the edges of the building in the saucy scenes, and the shadows projecting throughout the scenes of nostalgia are a clear indication of this (4).

For a more secure Merit, the student could clearly link how their ideas were influenced by Craig, and why Craig would have used it. For example, to clearly justify that Craig was interested in symbolism as a way of extending the narrative beyond the actors so that the whole picture of the scene told the story.

The discussion of the prop (1) needs to be linked to Craig’s thinking or purpose. 

High Achieved

Commentary
Student response

Student 4 (PDF, 325KB)

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For Achieved, the student needs to demonstrate understanding of the work of a drama or theatre theorist or practitioner.

This involves applying the knowledge, and ideas or processes of a practitioner or theorist to communicate the intention of their work.

This student has used Craig’s ideas in their design and shows understanding of the purposeful application of these ideas.

The student’s design choice, ‘The bareness of the set leaves it to the actors to create the mood instead of a ‘photographically’ realistic set’ (1) (00:25), clearly applies Craig’s ideas.

At (01:03-02:53) the student clearly describes lighting choices to synthesise with the set design, and discusses what she hopes to be the effect.

Specific links to The Vikings of Helgeland (1903), indicated in the written and presentation (02:58) (2), discuss the effect of the window frame. Similarly at the end of the presentation (03:40), the discussion of the walls and the dreamscape links Craig’s intentions to her design elements.

To reach Merit, the student could apply their choices and effects to the intentions underlying Craig’s style of design to show evidence of the justification needed for an informed understanding. For example, justifying why Craig wanted to avoid photorealism and how it would affect the audience.

Low Achieved

Commentary
Student response

Student 5 (PDF, 63KB)

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For Achieved, the student needs to demonstrate understanding of the work of a drama or theatre theorist or practitioner.

This involves applying the knowledge, and ideas or processes of a practitioner or theorist to communicate the intention of their work.

This student has demonstrated some understanding of the work of Edward Gordon Craig in his design for Arthur Miller’s play, and is able to communicate the intention of these ideas.

The focus is predominantly on Miller and the play and there is some application to Craig’s ideas of theatre design. The set is full, with large structures centre stage. (1). He asserts that the ‘staircase to nowhere theme’ (00:45) is a central theme in terms of the metaphorical purpose of the play (02:40). He also refers to lighting choices (01:06).

For a more secure Achieved, the student could apply their ideas with more clarity to the work and intentions of Edward Gordon Craig, including all aspects of the design process as Craig would have included costumes and lighting in his overall design. 

High Not Achieved

Commentary
Student response

Student 6 (PDF, 268KB)

For Achieved, the student needs to demonstrate understanding of the work of a drama or theatre theorist or practitioner.

This involves applying the knowledge, and ideas or processes of a practitioner or theorist to communicate the intention of their work.

This student has attempted to introduce Edward Gordon Craig’s ideas in terms of superficial features of his design elements to their discussion of set and lighting plan. They articulate an intention for minimal props and stairs in the set in relation to the play (1).

The idea of a central alleyway between the two tall buildings demonstrates some awareness of Craig’s idea to ‘dwarf the actors’, and in this case to frame Willy as small and not important in terms of the city around him (2).

To reach Achieved, the student could link her ideas to Craig's, making more of the towering buildings in the passageway to show her understanding of the symbolic and anti-realism aspects of both Craig and Miller. She could create blocks to show her meaning for the house furniture, moving them around within the space to show what they represented.

Lighting could be developed to show the changes of colour and why these relate to both Craig's theories and the playwright's intention for the set.  

 
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