Elizabethan Theatre as a context for assessment 91216

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Use complex performance skills associated with a drama or theatre form or period:

  • students will use complex performance skills in pursuit to show features of Elizabethan theatre
  • students need to show a clear demonstration of applying features to an appropriate text that is likely to be of the period or specifically written
  • evidence is not being performed for a contemporary audience, but as a vehicle to show understanding and skill in a specific context. In performance, skills are used so that the physical and historical features of Elizabethan theatre are authentically presented.

When students play the role naturalistically and effectively, this misinterprets the intention of the standard. The focus is the student’s use of clear, intended features to show control of the Elizabethan theatre form. To guide students to use the Elizabethan stage authentically, it is recommended that the performance space is set up to mimic ‘The Globe Theatre’. For example: exits and entrances, pillars, thrust staging and audience seating on three sides are set up as authentically as possible.

During rehearsal, students need to explore and embody knowledge of the following performance features:

  • the handling of the intent and meaning of the language, as well as the rhythm, iambic pentameter, musicality, pace of the verse and correct pronunciation
  • the relationship between the actor and the audience, and the awareness of addressing/playing to the audience on three sides (thrust staging), asides and the tiers (gallery, groundlings pit)
  • the presentational mode of acting and the use of gesture (clear and stylised)
  • the status of the different characters - this may involve considering the Elizabethan worldview when establishing role, e.g. parental status/authority of Lady Capulet, and the nurse as the servant class comic in Romeo and Juliet
  • the size and use of the stage and/or space, e.g. The Globe Theatre, purposeful use of the pillars, inner room and thrust staging, exits and entrances. This may involve an activity where students are given a template of the Globe stage, and as part of their preparation they record an effective blocking plan
  • the significance of conventions in the scene, such as the use of trapdoors, eavesdropping, sword play, disguise or playing across gender
  • when authentic costume is not available they could record ways in which their available costume differs from the Elizabethan period.
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