Status, emotional continuum, focus, subtext
This five-week scheme of work is one that I have used with Year 8, but it could be used in later years and underpins much of what is done at KS4 and beyond.
Status and its long term applications form the fundamental basis for much that will come later in the work on scripts. Emotional continuum has been tremendously useful in rehearsing Vinegar Tom and Shadow of a Gunman with the sixth form, and in preparing The Magdalen Whitewash with the TASTE group. Subtext forms a basis to work on Stanislavski and objectives, super objectives, and motives in the exam work. Focus (or ‘spotlighting’) can also be thought of as marking the moment. The students are encouraged to come up with ways to highlight a moment and make it stand out.
The scheme aims to cover the four main elements of in-depth acting and representation: status, emotions, subtext and focus. This underpins work in KS3 and above, for work on text as well as on devised work and improvisations, and for use in analysis of performances by others, and in giving the students some frame of reference for their assessments on work seen and produced. It also aims to use the whole body and insights and observations already possessed, and to take this knowledge into drama.
- To notice body language and to use it consciously and intelligently
- To portray different levels of status and be able to read these signifiers
- To read different signifiers of emotional states and intensities, and be able to portray these with control and care
- To direct the audience to notice what we want them to notice through various means (focus)
- To grasp and utilise the concept of subtext, both in text and in action
Number of lessons: 5