Last minute cramming

A mega copy-and-paste of some great feedback and conversations I’ve been part of this evening.
If you are reading this the night before (or morning of!) HOPE IT HELPS!

Drama 2007 HSC Exam Paper


Ruby Moon:

Characterisation is SINISTER, which helps create the Gothic tone.

Characters are also portrayed as HYPOCRITICAL (e.g. using dialogue, cyclic and otherwise), which is a social criticism of suburbia I think. e.g Dulcie says that “Every good home has a Bible” – but what ‘Christian’ values are on display in this story?  They are horrible, selfish, uncaring neighbours!  Also, they often criticise Veronica, but are also seduced by her (we see this in Ray), which also characterises them as hypocritical.

I love/hate the line in Veronica’s scene, to Ray: “You keep your wife medicated, don’t you?”

It’s so sinister – so ‘Stepford Wives’, but with a creepy twist!


Characterisation = the everywoman, yes (so, the significance of having no name or fixed identity means that she represents the collective struggles of Aboriginal people)

BUT ALSO what the character stands for and represents CHANGES episode to episode.  In ‘Murri gets a dress’, she is cheeky, lively, and the tone is humourous.  In other episodes the character is far more sombre.  Consider scenes like sobbing, where sound (not words, but sobbing) is used to build emotion, and words are projected onto the character’s body explicitly displaying the range of emotions involved.  How does this help us to paint a picture of the Aboriginal experience?


You need to be clear in signposting/signalling to the marker VERY EARLY ON (ideally in the introduction) WHICH techniques or approaches you are going to focus on.  You should focus in on two or three of the following, for example:

  • The participatory nature of the style – involving the audience as artists/performers
  • Rejection of restrictive, and elitist, conventions – by abandoning the stage and in particular by performing in open air
  • Rejection of restrictive, and elitist, conventions AND the social goal of environmental sustainability through the use of cheap and recycled materials.  (We did plenty in Dreams and Nightmares to refer to there.)
  • The use of size and spectacle to engage the audience
  • Returning art and ritual to everyday life, and adding a less formal, more celebratory tone to significant rituals and ceremonies such as weddings and funerals.

Take time to set this up early, and weave your identification of these things into answering tomorrow’s SPECIFIC question.


It is important with both Aust plays that you can discuss what makes them ‘Australian’.  This can be the use of Australian imagery and cultural/social/historical references, or it be the way in which they portray issues of concern to Australian audiences.

If you are short on examples, I think that one very important technique to cite for SSOG is the use of Aboriginal language at the start of the play in ‘Purification’, and later, in ‘Black Skin Girl’.  What is significant about this?  Is there a social aim here (to make many in the audience feel a sense of alienation?  What would this achieve?)  How about an artistic one (to portray Aboriginal language, heritage and culture as strong and artistically relevant/valuable in contemporary Australian theatre?).

Or, for Ruby Moon, what typical Australian themes is it picking up on?  The scary side of the suburbs – absolutely. (It does this using conventions of gothicism, absurdism and fairytale)

But we can go further – is it critical of typically suburban, middle class values and lifestyles?  Check out the image at the end of Scene Two (page 15) where they use the mannequin to form a creepy family portrait.  Fakers!  What about the references to Ruby being less than innocent (e.g. Dulcie on pg 12). What family values!? They didn’t even know their own kid!  Or, in Dulcie’s scene there are also references to Every good home having a Bible, and the teaching of Christian Blessings to the parrot.  Hypocrites!  Love thy neighbour – pfft!

And…how does Matt Cameron use uniquely Australian imagery to help evoke, for an Australian audience, a feeling of being trapped and oppressed?  Look at the extract from the book that Ray reads (page 5, in the Prologue).  Also references to Flame Trees (iconic Australian imagery).

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE? ADD IT AS A COMMENT.  (But it’s pretty late ay? Go to sleep!!)



Can you taste the finish line?

Greetings to all, and especially to IP students whose projects are due tomorrow morning – remember, see you all BEFORE 9 AM!

Emailing with Demi got me thinking about the celebration we really should be planning for the end of our Prac exams.  A class party?  A dinner out?  OR…

A night out together at the Sydney Theatre Compnay, watching (…drumroll…) Accidental Death of an Anarchist!

I’m assuming there are tickets left, and the dates I am going to suggest are: Thu 24 Sept – 7pm OR Tues 29 Sept – 7pm. Concession (you) tickets are $20.  We could go out for dinner before or afterwards 🙂

Thoughts? Date availability?  I reckon 29th would be best, cause it’s our last week of school.  So more of an end-of-Drama celebration than an end of Prac celebration!

CAPA – O what a night!

Wow.  Freakin wow!

Can you even believe we have come this far?

We just finished the HSC Showcase!

Showcase photos on Facebook

And you all made me so proud last night – you really showcased your strengths, as performers, and as teammates.

I remember when we started this class two years ago, saying to you that I wanted to bond as a group and work like a real ‘company’ of sorts.  Now, here we are, and I honestly could not have asked for more.

I know the performances next week are going to be great.  Last night was a turning point for us…the finish line is in sight now and it’s time to rise to the challenge!  Last night was just a warm up – now it’s time to be rock stars!!


  • Everyone should be coming into school to collect their log books tomorrow, so you can work on them over the weekend.
  • Script, Costume and Video Drama IPs also MUST be into school on Monday 31st August by 9am at the latest.
  • Two groups are coming in on Monday, and all IP Performance should come for rehearsals on Monday too.
  • ALL OF YOU have to be at school ALL DAY on TUESDAY (for rehearsals) and WEDNESDAY (for the…EXAM!)

Finally, when I see you, please give me a mobile phone number that I can contact you on over the weekend and next week.  Or, email it to me.  Don’t forget, this is my first time at this too, and I want to make sure I get everything right!

CAPA Showcase

The Creative and Performing Arts HSC Major Work Showcase

will be held on

Wednesday 26th August, at school.

Attendance is mandatory.  All HSC Drama, Music and Visual Arts Major Works are displayed and assessed on the night.

Group and Individual Performances will be done on the night.  All other Individual Projects will also be on display.  Log books must be submitted, but will not be marked.  Everyone must hand in a draft rationale for their individual project.

The show starts at 6pm, but we all have to be at school from 3pm at the latest.


Approaching the Essay for ‘Participatory Theatre’

Writing up some quotes earlier tonight, I was struck by a really great framework for approaching your essays for Site-specific, Street and Event Theatre.

In his “blueprint for action” Fire on the Water, John Fox praises participatory and celebratory forms of theatre, such as event theatre, site-specific theatre, and street theatre, as they aim to enrich people’s lives by:

giving theatre back to the people at large and inviting them to practice it as a form of ritual, communication, expression, celebration, entertainment and comment. (p. 4)

I suggest that you come up with examples for each of these SIX practices: ritual, communication, expression, celebration, entertainment and comment.

Then, depending on the question on the day, you can choose anywhere from three to all six of these aspects to write about.

For example, with the essay question you were given in class last week (‘Festivity and fun are more important than social and political goals in site-specific, street and event theatre.’ Discuss this statement in relation to the work of the performance makers you have studied, and your own experience.)  I might have four BODY PARAGRAPHS based on the following practices/aims:

Paragrpah 1: expression and entertainment (discuss how important fun and festivity is to people’s lives.  Describe and discuss example/s)

Paragraph 2: ritual and celebration (discuss festive and fun practices that go beyond entertainment, and also carry an important social and symbolic meaning in people’s lives)

Paragraph 3: communication (begin to show how, if participatory and celebratory theatre forms can communicate to the audience more closely through audience involvement, and breaking down the status/power relationship between ‘actor’ and ‘audience’, they can communicate a more powerful and lasting message)

Paragraph 4: comment (argue that the artistic and social goals of community based theatre are inherantly political, as it is founded on principles of participation, equity, community, emotional and spiritual growth over material wealth, and environmental sustainability)


Essay Homework: Due Friday 14th August

This afternoon in our study group we looked at the past HSC questions for the Drama (theory) exam and discussed how we would approach each of them.  You too can look up all of the past HSC exams (and the examiners reports) yourself on the Board of Studies website.

This is the question that we decided to answer by the end of the study lesson:

‘Festivity and fun are more important than social and political goals in site-specific, street and event theatre.’

Discuss this statement in relation to the work of the performance makers you have studied, and your own experience.

Full essay answers to this question are DUE ON FRIDAY in class.  If you aren’t at school on Friday (firstly, why? Jyoti I’m looking at you!), please hand this in early, or email it to me.

dPod off to a great start!

It was great to see both groups draw a big crowd for their street theatre on Friday.  The boys got the bigger crowd, and got them chanting along and cheering at some key points, but the girls got their audience more directly involved, by inviting them to choose the direction of the performance.  The girls took bigger risks…and both groups needed to put more thought into how they were going to ‘end’ the performance!

Being in the audience I heard a number of responses.  Some people were really into the operformances, trying to follow the storyline.  Some were pushing to the front to get involved.  Others were too busy talking to friends, or could not hear because of the wind, so weren’t sure what was happening!  But overall what they all had in common was that they were excited that something out of the ordinary was happening.  They were entertained…confused, at times, but definitely entertained!

Add a comment and tell us what you thought of the dPod performances?  Be sure to balance your warm and cool feedback.  We will get a chance to do this again next term.  What could be improved for next time?