We are doing the play to Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. When I found out we were doing this play I was very pleased as we had studied it briefly in English during year 8 and I had enjoyed it immensely and looked forward to learning many new dramatical skills. I then wonder3ed what dramatical skills I would learn or improve on. Initially I thought it would be a lot of analysis and then re-enactments of certain scenes. Then I thought we may have a look at different ways people could have handled things in scenes so a bit of improvisation. Below are some of the dramas kills we used and how they helped:
Drama Skills/Tasks/Scenes! Spontaneous and Planned Improvisation – We showed what we thought would have happened in scenes that weren’t in the play. Here I learnt how to have a different perspective on characters and to think deeply about their personality and characteristics. Spontaneous Improvisation as when we had very little time to prepare and barely had time to run through it and planned was when we had longer. This was my favourite activity as it involved the most ‘free’ type of acting where we made up what happened ourselves with a basis of what we may be thinking.
Staging – We did plays where are main concern was not acting but staging. Here I learnt that setting a stage is immensely difficult and requires a lot of work. The benefits of a good stage are it makes the whole play easier for the audience to understand and makes the acting more realistic if there is a good backdrop. This was the activity I found hardest as you had to think about everything from everything angle and think how compatible everything looked together.
Thought tracking – Here we deeply entered the characters mind finding out their thoughts about what was happening in the scene, this was really helpful as it added another dimension to our drama work as we really had to get inside the character. Mime – This was helpful when we were doing scenes, which involved a lot of facial expressions as it left us to fully concentrate on them instead of looking at our script, or remembering what we had to say, this was great for shorter scenes.
Script work – Here we read out parts of the play with a different person reading a different character. This was quite new to me in school, as we had only done it before when studying Romeo and Juliet, this was invaluable as it taught me a lot about the play, and we found out what happened. We also did scenes that involved us reading from the script, most of our scenes were like this. This was probably my least favourite activity as it was boring and you could not display full acting skills as you were constantly checking your script.
Tension/Lighting Work – This is where we acted out a very tense scene using lighting to increase and decrease tension. This was quite hard as it involved us to think about acting and if we wanted the light dim if we could read our scripts, and if tension is increased by having the light brighter or Dimmer. Status – This is where we ad to convey a feeling of lower and higher status between two people. I found this quite easy and fun as I had done it a lot last year in Drama.
The scenes I remember doing are: Rabid Dog scene: Here the drama skills we used were, script work, and staging. We prepared in groups of 6, to do a play where we would be focusing on a dog with rabies that was off screen, in the scene there was a porch, a garden, a road two houses and we had to work out where everything was. I found this quite difficult, as there was a lot to think about, and not very fun as it was very complicated and involved us reading off the script. Tension Scene: Here the Drama skills used were, Lighting, script work. We prepared in groups of about 7 a scene where a man (atticus) gets confronted by an angry mob where there is a lot of tension, which gets slowly diffused by the innocence of a small child.