Drama - annotated exemplars level 3 AS91520

Direct a drama performance (3.9)

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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, 452KB)

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For Excellence, the student needs to direct a drama performance effectively.

This involves capturing the essence of the scripted text in a compelling performance.

This student has directed The Pardner’s Tale by Gerald Murphy.

This student has demonstrated research of the historical and social context of the script (1), and themes and messages are linked to the performance of the play (2). The analysis is perceptive and results in clear thematic intent (3).

Evidence of character analysis and intricacies of the dramatic action also enhance the dramatic context (2). Ideas and design briefs for costume, props and set capture the essence of the melodramatic intention.

This student has demonstrated control with the directorial process: auditions are marketed and planned, and purposeful casting and guidance for the production team is evident (4). The directing style shows sensitivity and care (5).

Detailed rehearsal logs reflect clear coaching to portray character motivations and convincingly convey the interpretation (6). The resultant performance realises the directorial concept and is compelling.

For a more secure Excellence, the student could use all opportunities for the actors to play out to the audience. For example, the old woman’s direct address to the audience needs further consideration to support her role’s ‘story telling’ intention and to further capture the essence of the melodramatic plot.

High Merit

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Student response

Student 2 (PDF, 601KB)

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For Merit, the student needs to direct a drama performance skillfully.

This involves translating the scripted text into a cohesive and convincing performance.  It involves directing with competence, control, and a sense of purpose.

This student has directed The corruption of Patience Undercroft by Stuart Ardern.

The student’s directorial concept is linked to the playwright’s intention and she has analysed the play in terms of pace, stock melodramatic characters and technologies. Portfolio evidence verifies competence and control throughout the casting and rehearsal process as well as feedback to actors (1).

Rehearsal planning, guidance to the technical team and allowing space for questioning from the actors, demonstrate a strong sense of purpose for the directorial process (2).

The performance realises the melodramatic concept convincingly, and is often compelling.

To reach Excellence, the student could support dramatic action in performance with research and detailed and perceptive analysis. Clear thematic focus could support the directorial choices, and the student could have taken the historical and social context and messages and ideas of the play into consideration. For example, explanation as to the use of the courtesy for the ‘Queen Victoria’ line needs to be evident.

Low Merit

Commentary
Student response

Student 3 (PDF, 404KB)

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For Merit, the student needs to direct a drama performance skillfully.

This involves translating the scripted text into a cohesive and convincing performance. It involves directing with competence, control, and a sense of purpose.

The student has directed A Nice Cup Of Tea by Jos Biggs.

The student has demonstrated purpose in analysing the play, and the theme of the play is articulated with understanding of the social context (1).This has led to a directorial concept that supports the meaning of the play (1). Auditions, casting, rehearsal times and guidance for the technical team in terms of implementing set and sound effects are managed with control (2).

The relationship and situation between Harold and Marion has been considered with some detail (3) and in performance is at times convincing, especially when Marion adds humour by using props, gesture, voice and movement and at the same time conveys her frustration and despair with her pedantic husband    (08.32).

For a more secure Merit, the student could develop directorial decisions for blocking, pace and proxemics to add humour but also to realise the dysfunction of Harold’s controlling tendencies and the consequences of these on the relationship. 

Consideration of directorial intent on the of dialogue ‘take care of you’ as a motif could add effect to portray the nagging husband and realise the satirical nature of the play more convincingly.

High Achieved

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Student response

Student 4 (PDF, 499KB)

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For Achieved, the student needs to direct a drama performance.

This involves researching, analysing and translating a scripted text into a credible performance.

This student has directed an extract from The Katrina Project: Hell or High Water by Michael Marks and Mackenzie Westmoreland.

The student has researched the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans. Some ideas and issues from the play are identified in general terms (1).

The student plans to apply a Brechtian style of theatre to performance, and this idea is appropriate for the text. Projected image, neutral costume with props as signifiers and set design all contribute to a purposeful directorial concept (2).

The student has managed rehearsals and reflected upon them, guided the production team with specific lighting and sound cues and created a cast contract (3).

The opening of the performance (00:07-01:03) creates the intended mood using music alongside projected images, and the actor entering with a torch in blackness (01:06-01:17) convincingly sets the scene.

The student’s intention to ‘show more of the imagery physically’ (4) is credibly realised in performance.

To reach Merit, the student could draw more imagery from the research to translate on stage, and use ‘free’ actors to enact part of the narrations, using Brechtian devices to convincingly convey the sense of devastation, loss and the feelings of betrayal from the Government.

Consistency in the use of accents for roles other than the narrator would also support cohesion. For the ending, a projected image or an ensemble image as a final moment could support the convincing realisation of the concept.

Low Achieved

Commentary
Student response

Student 5 (PDF, 369KB)

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For Achieved, the student needs to direct a drama performance.

This involves researching, analysing and translating a scripted text into a credible performance.

This student has directed Much Ado About William Or Whatever by Nicholas Richards.

This student has formulated a director’s concept that is general and brief (1).  There is evidence of a casting process, breakdown of action for the play, costume ideas with justifications, details for the set and some evidence for fostering a positive working environment. Analysis of the play’s period is only shown through costume (2).

The performance is engaging, evokes an audience response and character motivations are credible. The choice to have the teenage daughter Suzanna dressed in a modern day costume is the sole evidence documented to show the translation of the concept onto the stage (3).

For a more secure Achieved, the student could create a more detailed concept that supports the theme of the whole play. The teenage daughter’s costume could be overstated to have a clear anachronistic effect, and the wife have a more appropriate Elizabethan costume (her pinafore apron represents a servant role) to match her husband’s status.

Reasons for setting Suzannah in a modern context could be further explained, and the motivations and blocking of her role require development to maintain the purpose of the play. 

High Not Achieved

Commentary
Student response

Student 6 (PDF, 368KB)

For Achieved, the student needs to direct a drama performance.

This involves researching, analysing and translating a scripted text into a credible performance.

This student has directed an extract from Macbeth by William Shakespeare.

This student has directed a performance that is performable.

The only information in terms of an intention is from notes with the set design sketch. ‘I want my set to look kind of like a castle bedroom, to make it quite private, like the audience was looking into their most private affairs, their most private conversations…the audience looking through some sort of window into the lives of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’ (1).

Portfolio evidence verifies an annotated script with acting techniques and motivations, blocking diagrams, character analyses and details of costume (2).

To reach Achieved, the student could analyse the text in more detail and as a result developed a concept to meet the thematic ideas of the extract. The student could have used this to justify choices of technical designs, character motivations and development and to ensure the intention is realised in performance. 

Better organisation of the process in terms of rehearsal planning and guiding the production team would be evidence for Achieved.

 
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