Stage 6 Drama – Group Performance – Byron Bay High School – Group interview

[MUSIC PLAYING] ANOUSHKA: Hi my name’s Anoushka.

KAIA: I’m Kaia.

FINN: And I’m Finn.

KAIA: And our [INAUDIBLE] advised group performance was Story of a Hat.

ANOUSHKA: So I think one of the main experiences from year 11 that influenced our group project in year 12 was our production at the end of the year.

KAIA: Working together in a group, we hadn’t really done that. We’d done personal IPs, but for the first time really we had to rely on each other and really work together to get a finished production that we could show to an audience.

FINN: We learned lots of things from how to convey meaning through dramatic techniques and how to work with each other as an ensemble and improvisation. And how that creates ideas. Studying various types of theater also laid a very important foundation for our group in particular, in respect to the fact that we used different styles of theater like melodrama, theater of cruelty, absurdist theater, and physical theater. We practiced that a lot in year 11.

KAIA: In year 12 when we did our GP it was imperative that we had that experience. Because without it, I don’t think that we would have gotten where we’ve gotten.

ANOUSHKA: So our ensembles for the GP were chosen mostly by student– what the students wanted.

KAIA: So from our production that we had done in year 11, there was definitely connections that were formed between students. For most of us– for me personally actually– I didn’t know a lot of kids in the production. And we did get to know them because it was such hard work. And then going into year 12 we had that predetermined relationship that it was just kind of natural for us to form a group. And that’s kind of just what happened and we were lucky enough to stick that out.

FINN: And in our drama classes only two boys. So that was a bit of an argument of like who had the boys on their team or who didn’t have the boys on their team. But it actually came together really well because everyone in our class was really good friends, and it was quite easy to sort out.

ANOUSHKA: I feel really lucky because in the end our group kind of got everyone we wanted in it which was very lucky.

FINN: We got what we wanted, but the other groups played around with theirs. But essentially we’re all very happy with everything.

KAIA: So our piece is an insider’s piece and there’s lots of hidden meaning within each scene.

ANOUSHKA: I think while we were making the piece we wanted– we were stuck on the idea of having this big meaning that was like big message at the end.

FINN: Because that’s what we thought made good theater. That everything had to have a meaning for it to be intellectual or insightful.

ANOUSHKA: At the end of the creation of it we realized that it’s OK for theater to just be a story and not always have a political or really deep meaning at the end.

FINN: And so we started just building upon a story and then started weaving in meaning to it. So we looked at the 16 basic human desires on the internet, I found an article. And we started weaving in love into one of our stories, curiosity into another. To be included, to be a part of something. And I think the last one was fear, and we just basically took those basic human desires or premises and weaved them into our story. But saying all that, our story was about having fun. And it was just a telling of something that we made up from nothing, purely just to entertain.

KAIA: The concept and ideas changed like a million times from the beginning to the end of year 12.

ANOUSHKA: And I think it was good that we weren’t afraid to change it. We did push the idea until it couldn’t progress anymore. And if we really did feel like it wasn’t going anywhere, we weren’t scared to kind of just chuck it away and start new. Which was really good. And then as soon as we started new everything just flourished and just flowed out, which was really good.

KAIA: Yeah so, our piece it rhymes. And at first we didn’t do that, and then when we decided that we were going to have interlocking rhythm in our piece, so much changed. we had our script pretty much set and then from then on we had to go back and keep the meaning and keep the idea of it but change all the words. Which was so hard but in the end it was the best that it could have been.

FINN: We were doing that all the way up to the day before trials. And then after we got that feedback from trials we kept doing it until [INAUDIBLE]. And we had it probably finished a week before the [INAUDIBLE]. Perfected and everything done.

KAIA: GP log books were incredibly helpful because I felt like if there was any absence in a class– like if one student wasn’t there, there was always someone that had written something in their log book that was going to help them to pick up what the other students may have talked about in the previous lesson.

ANOUSHKA: My GP log book I found was really helpful for developing ideas and keeping track of everything that we did the time before. It was kind of annoying at the time, but now that I think about it, it was so handy to be able to look back– like each lesson look back and say, oh yeah, so this is what we talked about.

FINN: We used the GP log book to brainstorm ideas, to write out the storyline, to find stimulus. And all these things are really important for the progression and the outcome of the GP.

ANOUSHKA: Also for the script writing it was really helpful because it allowed us heaps of drafts and kind of like perfect it. We tweaked the script in the log book a couple of times. So yeah, I think that really helped.

KAIA: So a massive challenge for us was in year 11 we’d gotten our relationships forming and then into year 12 we were able to form our GP out of those groups– out of that group relationship. And we were so lucky that we were able to have the people that we wanted. But yeah, very early into the creation of our GP one of our people left. So we had five, and then we had four.

So we went from having this odd number and ideas for shapes and stage presence and where we were going to be placed here and wherever. Yeah, we lost a person, so we lost all those ideas and had to pretty much restart from the beginning. Which in hindsight ended up working really well for us because our concept that we ended up going with– with the protagonist and the three guardians– it really worked super well having the staging for that.

ANOUSHKA: Abundance of ideas– conflicting ideas, there was just so many of them. And so we couldn’t really hook onto one, it took us so long to settle. I think the main problem why that wasn’t working is because we were stuck on the idea of finding the idea and then creating a nucleus and then improvising around it. Rather than just improvising around a really simple thing like a word, like most of the other groups did, and then going from that.

FINN: Keeping the goal in mind was important because we just used to have fun just making up whatever because we were pretty lost. And it was really good time and it did develop into stuff that we incorporated in our piece, but to always stay on track and keep the goal in mind was important. And that’s how we probably finished on time and had an end product. Some important structures that helped in developing slash making out GP were the deadlines that we were given in class.

We would have to perform in front of our peers at least once a week throughout the process. And this also came with the benefit of peer review. Our peers who we trust and we’re friends with were able to add anything they thought about what could be improved with our piece. And at the start we didn’t have much, we still had to get up on stage and try to do something. But our peers were able to give us some ideas of where we could take our piece. And it really helped in staying positive and reaching that end goal.

KAIA: So class structure definitely helped for us. We had all our lessons, we had a long lesson and a short lesson, and after our short lesson we actually all had a free period together. Everyone in my group– yeah, so we basically were lucky enough to have so many structured lessons of drama time that we were just able to work on our piece, which was a bonus because we had basically an extra drama class that not everyone else was lucky enough to have.

ANOUSHKA: Even though we’d talk about going off on our own sides and doing stimulus research and all that, it didn’t really go that far when we did that. But it was when we came together in the same room and were able to improvise and write things down together, I think that’s when things were actually created. And a long time also, like the long rehearsals in the holidays when we’d rehearse for five hours or four hours, that’s when we got so much done.

FINN: Reflecting on the experience, I learned a lot about how to work with people. In a drama ensemble you’re working really intimately with a group of people. And that’s a really different kind of experience. It really taught me to be conscious of people and their ideas.

ANOUSHKA: I also learnt a lot about drama. It changed my idea that it didn’t always have to be real serious or really deep or anything like– something really beautiful about just entertainment.

KAIA: Don’t get too caught up in an idea. If it’s not working, it’s probably for the best. And I know you might feel like this is the one thing that is going to get you to on stage or to wherever you want to go. If it’s not working out with your group sometimes you just need to let it go. And who knows, it might come back around and work for the best.

ANOUSHKA: You want to start early because you can’t have too much time– just the more time you have the better. And also just look around you. What got us started was looking around, being influenced and inspired by other productions that we went and saw. Go see other theater.

FINN: Having fun really made the process streamline. It really made the process worthwhile.

KAIA: Have fun. Have so much fun. I look back on this year and it was one of the best school years of my life. And people talk about it being the most stressful and it definitely was, but I felt like drama was just that one time I could go [EXHALE] and just relax and just have fun with it. Because it is fun and it’s very physical and you think about things that you don’t get asked to think about in different classes. And I just– yeah, it was great. So many friends. All it felt like was just a class where I got to create and have fun with my friends, which is the best thing I could have hoped for.

End of transcript

Content updated 22/9/2020

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