Stage 6 Drama – Director’s Folio – James Ruse Agricultural High School – Student interview

[MUSIC PLAYING] ANGELA WANG: My name is Angela Wang, and for the HSE drama, I completed a director’s folio in the individual projects section. What I found with the director’s folio was that my experiences throughout stages five and six helped inform how I would produce a director’s folio, but more specifically, within year 11, we were able to practice using our metalanguage to talk about theatre, and not only the techniques within theatre pieces, but also what it made us feel.

And so from there, we approached it with our emotions, and then through this exercise of writing and reflecting, we were able to sort of see how this piece informed us, or how this piece evoked these emotions within us. So I was able to bring that ability of transforming the emotion into concepts and techniques on stage in my folio through the skills of year 11.

Another piece of the year 11 syllabus that we explored was a play. And with that play, we were required to direct pieces from that play and bring it to life with our own vision. So with that, that gave me firsthand experiences in being a director and putting scenes on as a director, which further informs how I would approach a director’s folio, as I was able to understand things not only from an actor’s perspective, but also from a director, and, consequently, from an audience perspective as well, as we watched other people’s performances.

So initially, I wasn’t too sure about choosing director’s folio as my individual project. And the reason why I did choose it in the end was that the scope and the opportunities that the director folio gave for me really allowed me to challenge myself creatively. I looked at the other projects, and really were interested by what was required, such as the costume and set design, but I felt that the ideas that were coming out of me weren’t adequately encompassed by that sort of project, and I felt like I needed more outlets and mediums to express the ideas that I had.

So in the end, with the director’s folio, I was able to incorporate things such as costume, set design, actor exercises, and that really allowed my idea to really thrive, and I felt that that was the perfect medium or project for that idea.

So the dramatic meaning that I wanted to communicate was the powerlessness felt by the characters in the face of tragedy, and also how those characters, who choose to accept that fate and that fact, were able to then move on and really experience life to its fullest once they had realized mortality, and as well as the fact that they were powerless in the face of tragedy. And from that, when I initially read the play, I had a vision of a wave that constantly reappeared. And from that, I thought of a large, ominous fabric wave to encompass my set, and that will lead into a multisensory experience for the audience, in which that they would also feel powerless in the face of this large, gigantic wave.

I felt that with the play there was also a lesson that we could all learn from, and that was that we can’t control our fate, and that once we do accept that fact, we are able to then immerse ourselves into our lives and be in the moment and really enjoy what was given to us for a finite amount of time. My option and text choice did not change over time.

However, initially, I was prepared to change. I really didn’t feel like the director’s folio, at the start, was for me. So I gave myself adequate time to really push myself and challenge myself as much as I can, within a short amount of time, to see whether it was the right project for me. In the end it was, and I was very happy with my decision that I stayed.

I would just say to students to be very careful with the options you choose, to really dedicate yourself to researching and finding out what play or option fits you best, and also just to know that it’s OK to change, and also prepare for that option as well.

The logbook, for me, was a place for me to place my ideas down. I didn’t check whether the ideas were something that I’d work with beforehand. It was just any idea that came to mind would be jotted down onto paper. That allowed me to clear my headspace, and also then allowed me to synthesize ideas. And if I needed any ideas from before, I would then be able to drop back to whatever page it was.

Also with that, I used a lot of other resources with the logbook itself. For example, more specifically, I had OneNote, Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts for this folio specifically. And within the logbook, I was able to cross-reference what happened within each date, what ideas I had on each date.

And also, the reason why I had these different sort of mediums was that each idea had a form that fitted it the best. And so, from that, for example, if it was an image, or a panoramic shot, that would be best held in the virtual settings, so for example, OneNote or the Tumblr account. And if there was anything that I needed to jot down straight away, it would be most versatile for me to use the logbook. So those were ways in which I approached the different mediums, and with that, they all worked together to allow me to store my ideas, and worked for me to come back to any ideas that I may choose to work on later in the project.

One challenge for me was to write the vision for the director’s folio. I had a lot of ideas going on in my head, but when it came time to put something down on paper, I just wasn’t able to create a cohesive paragraph, or a paragraph that had clarity within it. And so from there, I asked Amy on help with synthesizing these ideas that were going on in my head. And from there, I basically threw out all these ideas to her, and she came back to me with a interpretation of these ideas in written form.

And so from there, I was able to see how I was able to further project these ideas later on in the folio in a clear and concise manner. And so from there, I was able to then also refine my voice, which helped synthesize ideas and streamline all these different ideas in the different components of the folio.

The structures that helped in making and developing my IP were twofold. So firstly, were the structures set by the teachers. We had several meetings that were on a regular basis, and they were meetings where I would come in with a question or a problem that I managed to come across in my creative process, and then I would tell them all about it. And in response, they would give me micro goals and suggestions on how I could move forward, which was a real confidence boost because I felt like I was making progress.

Secondly, the structure that I imposed for myself– I didn’t really have any set structures. It was more that I enjoyed the process a lot, so to me it didn’t feel like school work. I was able to take time away from the other different subjects I was studying for and really find myself enjoying doing the director’s folio.

Also, as well in my free time, I do like to search for inspiration. So go on Instagram, or Tumblr, and from that I was also not only having time out from my studies, but also helping progress my director’s folio further.

What I’ve learned is that students taking the director’s folio should not live in fear. They should own their creative ideas and have that creative confidence because only when you are able to put those ideas out into the world are you then able to move forward with your project and then further enhance your ideas as well.

Another point that I would like to address is to gain inspiration from your surroundings and to, essentially, take inspiration from your outside world and bring it into the drama room, and use those ideas within your pieces, and choose things that you feel emotionally connected to or are moved by so that you can also work with that emotion in your pieces, and then, also, reflect that emotion among your audiences.

Doing drama for HSE was creatively challenging. I was pushed out of my comfort zone a lot of times, but in the end, it was extremely rewarding, as I was able to be super proud of the work I had produced.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

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Content updated 22/9/2020