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The stimulus we were given for our drama piece was a painting by Paula Rego called

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Introduction

INTRODUCTION In this essay I will be discussing the work that I have done in the first module of performance studies. The aim of this module was to develop technical skills in dance, drama and music and using the performance process of improvising, rehearsing and performing and then applying these skills to four performance pieces. We carried out several skills workshops to help develop confidence in all 3 thematic areas to a more even consistency as some members of our group had never done dance, music and some hadn't taken expressive arts GCSE. In this module I developed skills in all three areas, some completely new skills (for example in dance) and those skills, which I already knew but developed them to a higher standard of performance. I also learnt the processes of constructing a performance piece in performance studies and skills that are applicable in all three thematic areas. I will elaborate on how I have developed these skills during this module in this essay. THE DRAMA PIECE The stimulus we were given for our drama piece was a painting by Paula Rego called "The Family" which contained a lot of ideas for interpretation, especially work on proxemics, which we had previously studied in our skills workshops. "The Family" shows an ambiguous relationship between men, women and children and the variation in the 'traditional' status of a father, mother and daughter figures. It is important to bear in mind during stages of improvisation that character and plot development are not always the most essential part of a drama piece. More advanced performance skills should be taken into account, such as tension, proxemics and physicality and the subtext created as a result of the effective use of these techniques, which our drama piece evolved around. We decided that the most direct way of communication was to produce a distinct sexual subtext between two characters, and in our case this was the father and the daughter. ...read more.

Middle

When we performed our piece, we unfortunately had lost some of the initial energy we had accumulated playing in rehearsal. It may have been the different performance area as the dynamics in our rehearsal and performance area were very different but the timbre and texture that we originally had was lacking and the piece, to me seemed rather limp. I also found that there was a change of tempo from the outset and we lost energy from that also. The part building we specifically used to impact on the audience didn't seem as distinct, neither the canon nor unison we used. I also felt that our question and answer at the end didn't seem very effective and I think it may have been because of the small performance area as drums can be quite deafening in a small space, so the audience may have been more uncomfortable with the noise in such a restricted area. Despite this, we enjoyed playing our percussive instruments so much, and devising the piece collectively that myself and others are planning to form a percussive group with other students. THE DANCE PIECE The stimulus for our dance piece was a picture by Salvador Dali called "Sleep". It's a fairly abstract painting with a head shape held up by two prongs at the top and behind of it, and the face appears to be in some kind of conflict; we felt this was possibly insomnia or a nightmare/dream. We decided during our initial brainstorm that the 'face' from the Dali picture should be our opening motif (a motif based on the Preston-Dunlop {1963} definition), which we decided should be repeated throughout the dance to allow the audience to recognise the various sections of the dance. Based on this, we decided next on that the music we would dance to would have to be fairly dynamic and abstract, with a clear beat which wasn't two fast to allow us to vary in our pace of movement throughout the dance. ...read more.

Conclusion

I felt that because of this, we slightly restricted our creativity and the motivation behind the majority of scenes was perhaps unclear. I think that our music in this piece was very successful. We devised a plain chant using modern methods, applying melody and harmony, in which we also varied the texture. By using a simple chord sequence and a drone on the piano, the audience knew that this was based in the church. I think that our dance was successful to an extent but I feel that if we had more time, I would've liked to develop it further. I did like the fact we performed our dance to a structured rhythm sequence to show the evolving of the evil dominating the pure and good. But as I said before, there seemed to be no real motivation behind our piece. I did feel thought that although we had no dialogue, it was unnecessary to do so and I think that the studying of Boal and Pinter really helped with this. I think that, as a group we realised that plot and character development weren't important at that stage. By not having any characters but just acting the gestus of our role, we portrayed the mannerisms, which as a result created tension because of the content of the scene. I do feel that because we didn't have characters such, the other skills we had refined were lacking. This is the one piece that I actually would like to do again as I don't feel we devised and performed this to the best of our abilities. I think I would've liked to keep the music and dance pieces but adjusted the drama to include the kind of energy we had had in the drama piece where the piece was 'loaded' with subtext. This I feel was not dramatic and didn't convey the ideas to the audience that we wanted to. I don't believe this piece was as successful as it could have been. Katy Lucas 12D AS Performance Studies - The language of Performing Arts ...read more.

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