Drama in the making: using image as stimulus
The new OCR GCSE Drama specification has two controlled assessment units: A581 Page to Stage and A582 Drama in the Making. Page to Stage is based on realising a section of text, basically a piece of repertoire. Drama in the Making is based on a stimulus, issue or theme.
The scheme of work that follows is for Drama in the Making. This is the part of the new OCR specification that differs most from the old course. That course had a unit based on a stimulus, but there was often a tendency to concentrate on the performance aspects.
The new specification deliberately tries to make the two units very distinctive and make different demands of the students. The Drama in the Making unit has as its key focus not the finished product, but the search for something worth performing. This is akin to one of Dorothy Heathcote’s mantras: ‘What’s worth doing a play on?’ A question posed by teachers when planning schemes of work, becomes the rationale for this unit.
The whole area of devising is one where students can struggle, and it is an area which can be left to ‘osmosis’; we drama teachers can hope our students cotton on by doing lots of performing. Yet, without specific inputs, what students create can often be shallow ‘skits’, which lack quality in terms of content and context: the over familiar scenarios set with some variation of plastic chairs round a table. At A level, devising of own work is a key element in most Theatre and Performing Arts specifications.
The distinctive elements this unit requires candidates to embrace and be assessed on are:
- Additional subject vocabulary and knowledge
- Working in the mindset of devisers, directors and designers as well as performers
- Creating three outcomes, none of which is taken to a refined and rehearsed conclusion
- Reflecting on, and evaluating the potential of, the three items