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The Elements of Drama

Exploring the languages and contexts of dramatic elements. Great for year 8 and 9's

Skye Tranter

on 23 February 2016

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Transcript of The Elements of Drama

The elements of...
The Human Context
How do they work?
Discuss the Monty Python sketch...
How did you see the characters taking on different roles?
How did the characters relate to each other?
Were the actors showing chivalry to each other?
Dramatic tension
How did the situations that the characters were placed in, influence how they acted or reacted?
Where did you see the tension?
Look at the two still images
below, which one shows some tension?
This cat is still and relaxed
This cat is still but tensed up ready to strike its' prey.
What is Chivalry?
Understanding the language of DRAMA
Discuss / brainstorm what people think it means?
Why do we use language in Drama that is different from language in other subjects such as Maths, Science or HPE?
Chivalry in Drama
means not clinging to your own idea, your own status, or even your own life (as a character). Chivalry is daring to give up control. Players should allow themselves to be changed by other players. Be happy to be forced to change, and change.
Status: The character's self esteem
Focus and time
Clear intent
What is it?
We looked earlier at two Monty Python Sketches.
The characters in the sketches, had a focus (or intent)
Example: The character in the Argument sketch wanted to have an argument and the character in the parrot sketch wanted to complain about the parrot he'd bought.
There are 4 main areas of focus
in Drama.
Focus on:
The scene
The audience
The Character
The Actor
Let's look at a short sketch now.
* Think about if there is a clear intent
or focus in this sketch.
Timing comes under two catagories...
1. Length of the performance
2. The moment when all the actions take place.
If any of the timing is out, then it can sometimes
affect all the following parts of the performance.
Space and Contrast
These differences in places are called...
What context are we talking about space?
(Look at the Monty Python Sketch, "Buying an Argument" - File too big to fit on Prezi
Look at Monty Python Sketch
"The parrot" -too big for prezi
The space on the stage around the actors and what is done with it.
Space focuses on the meaning
of the size and shape of distances between:
Actor and actor
Actor and objects (sets and props)
Actor and the audience
Contrast - What is it?
Who remembers from the notes?
The use of difference to create dramatic meaning.
Contrast is an effective means (way) to emphasise (highlight), heighted (draw attention to) or intensify (make stand out.)
Things that can be contrasted in theatre can be colours, sizes, shapes and sounds.
Practical: What things could we contrast?
Is this text sizing a contrast?
Language is SO important in drama.
Would it be drama if you got up and read
your science report out? Drama has its' own
language or genre.
Genre? Discuss
In DRAMA we use language in several ways:
The language used must suit the audience and purpose.

Etc, In Japanese theatre, you would have a Japanese audience, so you would need to speak in Japanese.

Do you think this would be the same with the body language used in performance?
The atmosphere created. Mood concentrates on the dramatic action and moves the audience in emotionally appropriate directions. It's all about trying to make the audience "feel" what you intended for them to feel.
How big a part does music play in the mood?
There are many different ways to move in Drama. Different ways of moving from...
There are also many ways of being still...as discussed earlier...
The use of object, gestures or person to represent meaning beyond the literal.
Every culture has developed an elaborate series of signals where objects are endowed with meaning. It is possible to signal complex ideas through commonly recognised symbols.
Discuss the meanings of symbols in body language and signs.
* Write down in your notebooks...
1. Something you found interesting
2. Something you didn't understand
3. Something you want to find out more about
Discuss these as a class.
We hope you enjoyed this presentation
This prezi was created by
Skye Wieland for educational purposes.
As actors, we take on "roles" that show another character and how that character reacts and relates (relationship) to other characters in a given "situation".
Did the characters in this short film have a clear intent?

What about the author of the film and his intent towards the audience?
Noun Group - Nominalisation
Situations, roles and relationships
(The stuff involving people!)
Relationships are central
to ALL dramatic action.
* Relationships between people
* Relationship between people and ideas
* Relationship between people and the environment
Activity One
1.) Get into groups of three and decide who is
A, B

2.) Each group member is to take one of the roles listed below,
each choosing a different role.

"Do you remember the last wonderful tour?"
"I don't know why my daughter
is so cheeky. We seem to fight all the time."
"I don't want my child born

3.) Take them one at a time as follows:
takes on the chosen role.
starts with the sentence given
above, and holds a conversation with
, who should just
be themselves (they can agree or disgree). Sustain the role-play
for a whole minute, then cut it.

Change now to
in his or her role, who will have a
conversation with
as themselves.

Change now to
in his or her role, who will have a
conversation with
as themselves.
For drama to work effectively
you really need to seriously accept
the role you are playing.
...is driven by...
TENSION is the force which drives our drama. It is often the
hardest element to grasp, because you cannot see it or touch it,
you can only "feel" it; yet it is the most important element!
It MUST be created
and can easily be lost.
Choose two volunteers: A's task is to menace, then stab, B (in drama, not reality!)

With everybody else around the edge of the room, A and B stand in the middle, quite close together. A, perhaps angry, wants to do the stabbing as fast as possible. B initially backs away, then submits. Try it quickly. You will find that it was very exciting , but not very tense.

Choose another two volunteers. With A and everyone else at one end of the room and B at the other, try it again.
This time A is more sadistic, moving very slowly and quite silently, holding the knife daintily. You will probably notice that this time there was much more tension, and that the tension was in the approach, not the act.

Now group everybody in a menacing horseshoe around B and do it again, equally slowly, with the only sound being everyone clicking their fingers in unison. More tension still?

Can you find a way of prolonging the tension in the stabbing - perhaps by B pleading, or A improving a motive for the act as the knife is slowly inserted, all the while holding eye-contact?
Tension of the task
Before the problem which is the root of any dramatic situation can be resolved, the characters must do and say many things perhaps change, for better or worse. Those are their tasks. To make the dramatic action tense, we must...
1.) Make the task hard!
2.) Make the task important!
3.) Make the task fun!
1.) Two students are to work together. (A and B)

2.) B is to think of an object - a pencil case, a coffee
cup, which A is to sketch. A does not know what the
object is and will be blindfolded. B gives A instructions
about how to draw the object, but cannot help
beyond that.

3.) A: Try your hardest. As you draw, can you guess
what the object is? Finally, take off the blindfold and
compare the sketch to the real thing.
A dramatic situation creating similar tension would be a deaf child with a mental disability who has witnessed a crime and has to be coaxed to draw which he/she saw. Can you devise a dramatic situation which would create a similar kind of tension? What situation could possibly include a person struggling to make sense of strange information?
- Misunderstanding

- Intimacy


- Dilemma

- Conflict
Activity Three
1.) Form pairs of A and B.

2.) Sitting opposite each other, A is to take B's hands and explore them through touch, to get to know the hands by the way they feel. Both A and B should have their eyes shut.

3.) B now takes A's hands and does the same.

4.) When A and B know their partners hands well, form groups of 6 in a circle. (3 pairs) With all 6 blindfolded, explore all of the hands to find your partner. Be silent during this time. When you are sure you have found your partner, take your blindfolds off.
From Game to Drama
What situation can you think of which involves two people, one holding the other's hands, sharing a private moment? What could the problem be?
Movement is dictated by situation, roles and relationships.
Full transcript