Drama Individual Project: How to approach a performance

By Taylor Angelo in HSC
6th of February 2018

I worked SUPER hard on my Drama performance and absolutely LOVE the work I created (I played death from “The book thief”) and I really hope you’ll feel the same way too! So firstly, some general tips:

1. Your drama logbook is your best friend

I told my Drama logbook everything, resulting in having to stick two exercise books together cause I filled up the first. Sure, you don’t have to write THAT much in yours. Honestly, by recording almost everything I could in it, not only was I able to reminisce on the journey I’d come on the morning of submission day. I had somewhere to refer back to what I’d done in the past, what ideas I’d had, what worked, what didn’t, what feedback I’d received, how the audience reacted (very important) and what theatrical elements I modified to convey my dramatic meaning. Being able to look back on these entries helps stimulate new ideas and progress towards creating a killer drama individual project. As you can see, I can not recommend it enough.

2. Work on it steadily throughout the year.

You don’t have to be that super organised kid that spends 3 hours on it a week or anything like that, but do try and be continuously working on it. Even if it’s just 5 minutes, a thought, a rehearsal, it all adds up. Try and make some progress on it several times a month but don’t be scared of leaving massive time gaps if life gets a little crazy. As you get closer to submission day that’s where the countless hours practicing in the performance space kick in (just don’t overdo it though, don’t want it to go stale!)

Here’s a general time line of how to actually create your performance;

1. Find a starting point 

Everyone has their own way of starting, but the most important thing is that you actually start. I remeber being so clueless as to how to begin, but you don’t have to be because here are some of the ways you can go about it:

A. Find a concept you want to portray
B. Develop or find  a character you’d like to play
C. Locate a text you’d like to use, adapt, edit or take inspiration from
D. Pick a performance style – will the piece be comedic? Dramatic? A little bit absurdist?

2. Adapt, edit and/or write your script

Refining the script to fit you will really help you portray your dramatic concept and character to the best of your ability

3. Develop your character

You know, all those questions you’ve got to answer, what does the character want? How old are they? What are they doing before and after the piece begins? Try and answer as many questions as you can, but don’t get too frustrated if you can’t (trust me, I played death, so questions such as age and family history were a massive struggle) Flesh out your character and make them come to life!

5.  Identify a concept and form a vision

Determine what meaning you want to convey to your audience and how you want them to react. Then start drafting a rationale.

6. Play with performance style

This is where you manipulate the elements of drama to convey your dramatic meaning and work out how to best portray the character. How do they talk? How do they walk? What theatrical style do you want to adopt?

7. Refine the performance and write the rationale

Just tweaking to go now! Polish up the work and the rationale so it’s at its best on performance day

8. Practice and Perform!

Try and practice whenever you can without letting the work go “stale”. Try and perform for as many audiences as you can and get feedback. Audience feedback is really valuable as drama is ultimately all about the audience experience. Show your teacher often! They will have speciffic and critical feedback that can really drive your piece forward and are one of the most valuable assets you have acsess to during the creation period! Finally you just gotta perform for the markers!  (possibly the hardest part, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it)


About the author:

Taylor Angelo is a star HSC student of the 2017 cohort. Taylor has been a frequent and valued contributor to ATAR, especially on the Geography threads. She’s also written a fantastic guide on acing the geography course!