On Wednesday 18th November the GCSE and A-Level component 1 practical drama examinations took place. It has been a challenging few months for the year 11 and year 13 drama students who originally prepared their pieces before lockdown and online school. Upon returning to school in September, it was evident that due to the wearing of masks and social distancing, their original pieces would have to be considerably adapted and altered to adhere to the new rules. The resilience, innovation and determination of those involved resulted in two powerful, thought-provoking and outstanding performances that not only highlighted the talent and abilities of those involved but also showed how important live theatre and performance is for both students and for those who attend. Performers thrive off live audiences and although this is not currently possible, it did not hinder students from giving dedicated, focused and sophisticated portrayals on the day.
A huge well done and congratulations to all students involved; they should be extremely proud of their achievements.
Alex, Charlie, Aisha, Lucia and Julie’s devised GCSE piece, “Survival” aimed to give an insight into how lives can be and were affected by the global lockdown and pandemic the world faced this year. They portrayed four different stories through the characters of Terry, Fiona, Sally, Nicki and Stevie who are linked by the issues they faced during lockdown which they battle through as characters in a video game. Their piece explored the scenarios, choices and decisions that might have been faced and made during lockdown through various topical issues such as addiction, mental health and public judgement as well as how each character tried to survive. As their stories’ unfolded through the use of role-play, soundscapes, movement sequences and mime, the audience considers the decisions made and the consequences of the characters’ actions. Is it ‘Game Over’ for them, or will they ‘KO’ the virus and return to normality?
Evie, Ellie, Roisin and Leah devised “ A New (Ab)Normal”, using movement as the main form of communication so that the narrative could be portrayed in a language that is open to interpretation, with no limitations. They portrayed four people, trapped by their own fears, struggling to cope with individual afflictions in their institutionalised world. A reflection of the challenging times we live in today; their worlds are confined to enclosed compartments. Isolated from everyone, they are consumed by their fears - fear of another’s touch, fear of the outside world, fear of being looked at and the fear of harming others. Will they ever be able to overcome these anxieties and live freely in the world? By using the concept of a play within a play, as drama students, they also wanted to comment on the devastating effects that Covid-19 has had on the arts, as theatres remain closed across the world with stages unoccupied, curtains drawn and lights dark.