Your year is going to be packed to the brim with exciting achievement standards. Whether you have done NCEA Level 1 Drama or if it’s your first-time doing drama, there will be something that sticks out for you with the diverse range of standards included in your year. This year you will do everything from creating your own pieces of theatre right through to performing in a scripted piece. You will even have a go at directing. These practical skills will include perfecting your knowledge of drama techniques, elements, conventions and technologies. These will come to be terms you can label and apply in your sleep as these will be utilised throughout the whole year. The exams will also have you demonstrating these terms and applying specific pieces of theatre you have watched or have acted in. In this blog, we will be talking about the internals, what to expect and how to best achieve the standards themselves.

If you are wanting some insight into how drama can help you in your career check this blog out. Maybe you are more nervous about the exams, they have a squizz here. All the same, if you are wanting to brush up or learn key drama terms, you can see the revision here. For a yearly overview, you can get clued up here.

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It’s all about honing and developing those techniques.. (AS91213)

You will be picking a script to study, unpack and bring to life in this assessment. How will you be achieving this? Well, you will be selecting specific drama techniques like voice, body, movement and space and apply them to the performance. You will be working with 2-4 other drama students. To pull off the performance your delivery will need to be sustained, truthful and convincing. You might want to warm up in character so you can practice being sustained. Go a bit method if you like but keep it within a safe boundary. Method acting is, of course, drawing on your own experience and bringing in real-life elements to achieve the performance.

Classwork will be varied and engaging from directing through to drama forms.

Students should endeavour to use drama techniques to enhance the performance of the scripted context and communicate the interpretation with impact. Regarding your written work, this will need to be delivered in the form of an annotated script. If you haven’t done level 1 drama, an annotated script is simply a script with a whole bunch of relevant notes written over it, unpacking all your crucial decision making and thought processes. So, you will include all your voice, body, movement and space details. Why are you choosing to change your vocal pace at that certain point in the script? Or perhaps how are you justifying the body limp for your character? Is this showing their slow decay emotionally as well as physical? The notes are endless, and you can deep dive into the meaning of your justifications. Remember that all these notes should link back to the role, situation and the relationships in the scene and play. Make sure you also include some stage directions as well but make sure they are relevant.

It's time for creation! You will be devising a piece of drama yourself! (AS91214)

This devised piece will be centred around a topic or theme that derives from social injustice. You will be studying an array of these during the year and so will pick one of them that fits. Of course, surrounding this will be your ability to utilise drama elements and conventions. You will be working in groups but will indeed be assessed separately. Right from the very start you will make a clear statement of intention as to what you hope to achieve with the performance. Technologies won’t be a big focus, as you will only need very basic props and lighting- it definitely is not the central focus here. To get a good mark you will need to coherently and effectively achieve the intention of your purpose that you create. Throughout the class time your teacher will bring some social injustices to light. This will be done through improvisational techniques as well as inspired discussions.

Devising will have you flexing your creative muscles

Tap into some drama genres with 91216

You will be unpacking a specific type of theatre. For this, let’s use Elizabethan theatre as an example. You will pick a play extract from this era to perform. In order to do this, you will come to learn all the conventions to do with this theatre type. Written work-wise, you will need to state a quick intention as to the performance and state the features that you used. If you don’t know the first thing about Elizabethan theatre, do not worry- during the year you will unpack this subject with your teacher. Soon you will find out about the history, practises, form and historical context surrounding the theatre form. During class, you will also explore various texts from this era to familiarize yourself with the theatre form. You will also learn about the types of staging used in this era, the relationship between the actor and the audience as well as the complex way that language was used in this theatre form.

Drama forms are many and they will open doors to technique understanding
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91217 is all about examining playwrights

What makes a playwright unique? What is their point of difference? How did their upbringing influence their style? How did their location imprint on their style? All these questions will be unpacked in this achievement standard. To summarise, this will include the social and historical background of the playwright. You will also dissect the differences and similarities that are present within the works of the playwright.  Also, the purpose and structure of the texts will be examined. So how will you present this? You will be building a portfolio which will consist of brainstorms, reflections, general notes and of course annotations of the various works.

 AS91218 will have you doing a sustained performance

This will be a scripted production and unlike the other assessments, you will be interpreting the text and bringing it to life and not devising it. What will be involved with this? You will need to prepare for the performance which will involve doing conventions like 'Roll on Wall' and 'Hot Seat'. It will be expected of you to really know and understand your character. You will then need to sustain the performance in front of a live audience. Sometimes it works out that you can use your school production for this assessment, otherwise it's up to you to pick the play and set up a respectable performance setting.

 Flex those creativity muscles with AS91220

First, the building blocks of drama: intention. You will need to communicate a dramatic intention to bring to life.  Involved within this, you will need to research, draft and formulate your script. Your script will be all about flow and you will need to demonstrate a sense of unity throughout the piece.  The awesome thing is you will have complete free reign when picking your style or genre. So you could go all out and pick something as quirky as Theatre of the Absurd. Or as larger than life as Epic Theatre. You’ll also get to put on your casting hat and select the best actors who will match your crafted characters.

 Get direct with AS91221

AS91221 will be all about directing your fellow actors. Instead of the previous few devising piece assessments where you come up with ideas yourself, this time around you will be unravelling someone else’s words, through your own vision. This will mean that it's all about how you translate their vision to the audience.  It will be your job to come up with a concept that fits the themes of the selected play. To demonstrate effective directing techniques your style will need to be controlled and have an overall sense of purpose. This will mean that you will need to have a great grasp of the text and really have studied it , to master the translation from paper right through to realised performance.

Needing some extra help with everything? Don’t sweat!

No worries, log on to Superprof and have a look for your next tutor to help. Superprof has a range of tutors all available from a wide range of subjects to help you along with your NCEA Level 2 Drama journey. The first lesson is free so there really is a huge incentive to get out there and see if tutoring is right for you. Tutors can help with clarification of course material, provide support and give extra resources as well if you are stuck. Check out Superprof today!

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