Elements of Drama: Week 10 | Devising: Physically exploring ideas in a non-naturalistic way (Part 2)

We continued to devise more scenes this week, focusing on non naturalistic ways to present our theme. This week we decided that we should focus on the inner struggles of a male teacher, especially on the ambiguity of boundaries. What was rather unpredictable about today’s devising process was that one idea could be stretched further all of a sudden by just a phrase. For example, during the devising process, Anita uttered “You have too much things on your plate.” We took it as a metaphor and decide to “throw” an item after every point made. This scene was a long battle scene between two teachers debating about what counts as “caring” and “being professional”.

What fascinates me is the synergy my group members have with each other. Spinning off ideas from one another was extremely fun and I believe when I teach devising next time I would encourage students to be open. Devising also taught me that although sometimes my idea may not be accepted, it gets developed to a better idea. I think that during devising it is important to not be too hung up on your own ideas and think about the play as a whole instead.

Working with my group mates really helps me to rethink about what I felt was “right”, I find it enriching that my group mates help me to see the weakness of some ideas and all of us helped to make it a better idea. In drama devising, collaborative work is absolutely necessary, and pride should be put on the side. Which alerts me that Drama education teaches collaboration is ways that other subjects may not be able to teach. Overall, I am pretty happy with our progress so far and I think we are on the right track.

Here are some non naturalistic theatre devices that I have researched about, I felt that I have learnt much about them through my first devised drama attempt:

  • use of multiple time frames
  • stylised movement
  • use of fragmentary costume
  • actor playing multiple roles
  • use of projection to convey a message
  • use of narrator(s)
  • use of placards and signs
  • open white stage lights (no colour gels)
  • actors as props and/or set pieces
  • use of song or poetry to convey a message
  • visible stage lights and other equipment
  • sophisticated use of freeze frames
  • monotone use of voice
  • transformation of props
  • use of music
  • limited use of emotion
  • use of flashbacks and flashforwards
  • happy scenes performed sadly and vice-versa
  • fragmentary sets or use of material
  • limited physical involvement between characters
  • actors swapping roles in performance
  • actors speaking stage directions aloud
  • self-contained episodes (not scenes)
  • characters with backs to the audience
  • speaking directly to the audience in performance
  • narration that spoils upcoming dramatic tension
  • symbolism through movement and gesture
  • stylised use of voice
  • choral speaking
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