Study Guide

Amphibian

About this guide

This education resource has been developed for Windmill Theatre Co’s production of Amphibian, within the framework of the Australian Curriculum in the following learning areas: English (years 8 and 9), Health and Physical Education (years 8 and 9) and The Arts: Drama (years 5 to 9). The activities and lesson plans in this guide are aimed at the achievement standards and content descriptions within each learning area as well as the general capabilities.

The general capabilities are embedded within specific learning activities and can be identified with the following icons:

Synopsis

Chloe and Hassan are under suspicion for stealing money while feeding the class axolotl. Sent outside to work out who’s responsible, the unlikely pair find they have something in common. Each of them has been forced by their parents to leave their respective homes and face life as the new kid at school. As their personal histories are revealed, Chloe hears the incredible first-hand account of an Afghan boy who’s travelled alone, thousands of kilometres across land and sea, for a better life. Is the discovery of Hassan’s back story enough to save him from Chloe’s desire to protect her position in her new-found friendship group? Amphibian is an epic story of displacement, loss, and adapting to different worlds.

Writer's statement Duncan Graham

Normally it’s hard to say exactly what a show is about, or where the idea comes from. It’s like asking: why did you dream about this or that when you were asleep? You don’t have total control, so it’s impossible to answer. But you know somehow it’s related to what you think and feel at the deepest level.

Our creative minds operate a little bit like dreams. It’s not always reasonable, or political. You follow instincts and intuitions and see where they take you. This is what happened up to a certain point with Amphibian, but there’s another part to the story about this story.

Initially, I was interested in hide and seek as a concept for the show. And there is a bit of that left over. Literally there’s a game of it played; and metaphorically speaking too: the two characters play a game of hide and seek with their emotions, personalities and histories. But before all of that, Director, Sasha and I went out to a primary school and gave some 9-11 year old kids a questionnaire. We asked: What’s your worst nightmare? What matters most to you? What’s your favourite song? (an extremely hard one to answer I find). A whole range of things.

What came back was that most people were afraid of losing their family, or being eaten by sharks. The kids were also very aware of what was going on in the world, and they knew a lot more about the political reality of our time than we had thought they might. We also found they had a keen eye for justice and truth. We stumbled across a thought: isn’t what’s happening to child-refugees all over the world exactly the worst nightmare of children living comfortably in our societies?

Sasha and I then went out into the community and spoke to people who had come to Australia as refugees from Afghanistan. We came across Muzafar Ali and his family, and Elyas Alavi. They are both fine artists and people. In Amphibian, you see reflected parts of their personal journeys.

Their stories are so epic, they are beyond imagination. I could not make it up. They are like your worst nightmare. It’s hard to place these tales of survival, compassion and cruelty into a register of reality. Yet tell these stories we must, with their oversight and permission, and parts of it in their language too (Farsi). Thank you for allowing us to do so. It’s an honour to collaborate.

Did you know The recorded voices speaking Farsi in Amphibian are members of Adelaide's Afghani community.

They recorded the voiceovers at Windmill Studios especially for the play.

Director's statement Sasha Zahra

The first seeds of Amphibian were planted when Windmill’s Artistic Director Rosemary Myers invited writer Duncan Graham and me to undertake an initial development to explore the potential of creating a new touring work. With endless possibilities, we began thinking about the work we wanted to create together. As we looked inwardly and outwardly, locally and globally and questioned widely, we began landing on common thoughts, worries and hopes. Looking more specifically at children’s experiences within all these situations, we became aware of the massive numbers of unaccompanied minors in existence across the world, making extraordinary journeys across thousands of miles in search of safety.

With this as our starting point Duncan and I began our shared journey. We undertook research, interviews with school students, multiple developments, community consultation (most notably with Muzafar Ali and Elyas Alavi – two refugees from Afghanistan now settled in Australia) and almost two years on, Amphibian the play was born.

It has been both a challenge and an immense pleasure bringing Amphibian to life.

As the story unfolds, through the eyes of two young people, it travels back and forward in time, to different countries and locations, traversing memory of imagined and dream worlds.

The process has been a collaborative one that everyone in the creative team has contributed to, particularly our cast – Antony Makhlouf and Maiah Stewardson – whose infectious energy, keen instinct and passion for the work was apparent from day one.

As I write this I am reminded of Tim Etchells’ view of cultural practice and his challenge to make performances that matter, that attempt to change things:

“Investment forces us to know that performative actions have real consequences beyond the performance arena. That when we do these unreal things in theatre spaces the real world will change. To me that’s the greatest ambition and the truth of cultural practice…”

With this final thought, it is our hope that sharing Amphibian will stimulate ideas, conversations and action towards a more compassionate future.

According to UNICEF, in 2017 more than 30,000 unaccompanied minor refugees made the dangerous journey from the Middle East to Europe.

Specific estimates on the number of unaccompanied minor refugees who have reached Australia in the same time period are difficult to ascertain for many reasons, including the difficulty of reaching Australia by sea.

Cast and creatives

Duncan Graham

Writer

Duncan is a multi award winning writer and director for theatre, TV and film. His plays have been produced by companies including Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, State Theatre Company of South Australia, Melbourne Festival, Belvoir, Malthouse Theatre and Windmill Theatre Co.

Sasha Zahra

Director

Sasha has worked in numerous areas across the performing arts industry in Australia and overseas in the past 20 years with roles including director, creative producer, programmer, festival producer and theatre maker.

Antony Makhlouf

Performer

Antony Makhlouf is a multidisciplinary creative working as a visual artist, television presenter and actor. He is best known for his role on Get Arty teaching art techniques airing on Channel 7 in Australia and on Discovery Kids in New Zealand and South East Asia.

Maiah Stewardson

Performer

At 20 years old, Maiah resides between Adelaide and Melbourne, working broadly across professional and personal creative projects. Her professional screen debut was in Windmill’s widely acclaimed feature Girl Asleep from director Rosemary Myers.

Meg Wilson

Designer

Meg Wilson is an Adelaide-based interdisciplinary artist who works predominantly with large-scale and often site-specific installation and performance. She aims to provoke imposed perplexity, uneasiness and a sense of drama in the everyday.

Mark Pennington

Lighting Designer

Mark is one of Australia’s leading lighting designers and has worked extensively around Australia with many of the countries leading companies.

Ian Moorhead

Composer

Ian is an artist specialising in music composition and sound design for theatre, dance, film and radio. He has performed around Australia and internationally, including New York, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Wellington, Calgary and Vancouver.

Muzafar Ali

Cultural Consultant

Muzafar Ali is a former refugee from Afghanistan currently living in Adelaide. Muzafar’s incredible journey to Australia is documented in Windmill’s newly produced interactive platform, Muzafar’s Story: Across Land and Sea, which is accessible via the link below.

Elyas Alavi

Cultural Consultant

Elyas Alavi is an award winning visual artist and poet based in Adelaide, South Australia. He primarily works in the forms of painting, installation, video art and performance art.

Did you know Duncan and Sasha began making Amphibian in late 2016 and the work slowly evolved to what you see on stage over several developments, including some with actors, across 2017 and 2018.

The development of new Australian theatre works can sometimes take many years of research and refinement before a show is ready for the stage.

Characters

Chloe

Chloe is 15 and has recently moved to Adelaide from Sydney because of her father’s work. She is incredibly angry about the move and is deeply unhappy in Adelaide.  

Hassan

Hassan is 15 and a refugee from Afghanistan. He lives with his uncle in Adelaide and has no idea what has happened to the family he has left behind.  

Delara

Delara is Hassan’s loyal and brave childhood friend with knobbly knees. Her efforts to protect Hassan prove in vain. 

 

Janet

Janet is a Case Officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Indonesia. She sticks to the rules and shows little empathy for Hassan’s plight to reach Australia. 

Mrs Damascus

Mrs Damascus is Chloe and Hassan’s no-nonsense teacher who wants the truth, and her wallet back.  

Katy Perry

Katy Perry, the American songstress, encourages her fans and the world to unite via the internet against world atrocities.

Shagofa

Shagofa is Hassan’s selfless and courageous mother who puts her son first regardless of the consequences she may face. 

Old Woman/Brazilian Tree Hopper

Old Woman/Brazilian Tree Hopper serves as Hassan’s saviour and philosophical dream creature.  

The Man from the Taliban

The Man from the Taliban is revengeful, brutal and at the centre of Hassan’s family’s disintegration and destruction.  

Themes

Displacement

Both Hassan and Chloe experience displacement when they are forced to leave their homes by forces beyond their control. This disruption, which for both characters is a profound experience, demands that each of them adjust to their new environments and survive as best they can.

Loss

Due to displacement Hassan and Chloe both experience a sense of loss. This includes losing their homes, parts of their identity, and for Hassan, even losing precious loved ones. Both characters feel the impact of leaving their past behind and facing a new life ahead.

Adapting to different worlds

The play explores the characters’ abilities to adapt and change as they attempt to secure a place in new environments. Chloe’s struggle to adapt to her new life is revealed through her friendship choices and pursuit of popularity. Hassan has been forced to come to terms with catastrophic change and has had no choice but to adapt and survive. As their worlds collide, the characters realise they have more in common than they first thought.

Truth

A constant theme throughout the play is truth. Chloe’s actions are driven by the possible consequences she will face if she is accused of stealing. She is more than happy to blame Hassan regardless of his possible innocence. Hassan must repeatedly speak his truth to authorities as he makes his journey to Australia. Circumstances beyond his control stand in the way of having his truth heard and believed.

Choice

Both characters reveal a past where they have not always had the freedom to make their own choices. While there is no clear-cut ending to the play, the choices the two characters will inevitably make, when they step back into the classroom at the end of the play, have the potential to reinforce the current status quo or provide them with a different path moving forward.

Relationships

Relationships are a recurring theme throughout Amphibian and as the play is performed by only two actors, these most often appear in pairs. The relationship between Hassan and Chloe is especially significant as it undergoes dramatic change throughout the course of the play. Some relationships are spoken about and never seen, whereas other relationships unfold and develop in view of the audience. They range from new relationships (new school), friendship (both good and bad), family relationships (especially the loss of) to destructive relationships (the Taliban and authorities). 

Empathy

At the beginning of the play, Chloe is wholly focused on her own unhappiness. She hates being in Adelaide and is terrified of the consequences she will face if her parents find out she’s been accused of stealing. However, as the play progresses and Hassan’s story unfolds, Chloe experiences something of a metamorphosis, developing empathy for Hassan and a willingness to see some things from a new perspective. 

Set and costume design

Meg Wilson’s design is intended to provide at least three distinct locations which can also be read all as one location, therefore reducing the need to move walls or furniture to change the setting.

Colours and materials have been selected that are common between the settings in the play, for example: the bricks and pebbles could be found in a school in Adelaide or somewhere in Afghanistan; the bricks are also a common feature in an interview room. The set is abstract rather than realistic, taking influence from hexagonal tile formations and the feeling of an aquarium. This allows the actors, the lighting and sound design as well as our imaginations, to fully realise the settings and transformations between them. Because the actors are required to switch very quickly between other characters and locations, school uniforms are the base costumes for Amphibian. To change character (or location/age for Hassan), the actors simply take off or put on a jacket or something similar to represent the change.

Therefore, Meg’s costume design is necessarily simple, and easily translates between the schoolyard and other locations in the play.

Composition and sound design

Ian Moorhead’s rich sound design transports the performers and audience into the various places along Hassan’s journey: From the streets of Kunduz in Afghanistan with the echoes of the call to prayer; to an interview room in Indonesia with the constant circling of a ceiling fan; to a stadium concert in Los Angeles with cheering fans; to a sinking boat off the coast of Malaysia; to a hallucinogenic dreamscape featuring digital glitches and recordings of treehoppers; to the silence of Hassan and Chloe’s school in Adelaide. The sound in Amphibian carries the audience between locations giving weight, adding pathos, invoking memory and imbuing a sense of danger to certain moments in the work.   

As a composer Ian is responsible for writing the musical elements of the work and as a sound designer he is responsible for presenting all of the remaining recorded sound elements. Ian has worked to integrate these two worlds by finding the musicality in non-musical things.

Listen to the background music for Hassan’s journey below. Listen for the sounds of the different locations, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and consider how Ian has used sound to heighten the drama of this sequence in the play.

 

Across Land and Sea: Muzafar's True Story

Muzafar Ali is a former refugee from Afghanistan currently living in Adelaide. Muzafar’s incredible journey to Australia is documented in Windmill’s newly produced interactive platform, Muzafar's Story: Across Land and Sea, which is accessible via the link below.

Explore now

Performance literacy

Students viewing live theatre can experience feelings of joy, sadness, anger, wonder and empathy. It can engage their imaginations and invite them to make meaning of their world and their place within it. They can consider new possibilities as they immerse themselves in familiar and not so familiar stories.

Watching theatre also helps students understand the language of the theatre. It is part of the holistic approach to developing student literacy. They learn to ‘read’ the work interpreting the gesture and movement of a performer; deconstructing the designers’ deliberate manipulation of colour, symbol and sound; and reflecting on the director’s and playwright’s intended meaning.

While viewing the show, students’ responses can be immediate as they laugh, cry, question and applaud. After the performance, it is also extremely valuable to provide opportunities for discussion, encouraging students to analyse and comprehend how these responses were evoked by the creatives through the manipulation of production elements and expressive skills.

Having a strong knowledge and understanding of theatre terminology will assist students with this process. Therefore, before coming to see Amphibian with your students, explore the different roles involved in making a performance happen, from writing, directing and performing, to lighting, projection, set and costume design and construction.

Theatre Etiquette

Visiting the theatre is very exciting. There are some guidelines that students can follow regarding appropriate behaviour in the theatre and during the performance that will allow their visit to be even more memorable.  Prior to visiting the theatre prepare students for what they will experience as an audience member using the following questions:

Where can you sit?

  • An usher (front of house – FOH) will help you find your seat so you need to follow their directions.

How do you know when the performance begins?

  • The lights will dim and/or you might hear a voice-over or sound. That’s your cue that it has begun and it is time to settle and be quiet.

How is going to the theatre different to going to the movies or watching television in your loungeroom?

  • Something unique to theatre is that it is ‘live’ and the actors are real. You can hear and see the actors, and they can hear and see you.

What is the relationship between the audience and the performers?

  • As the actors can see and hear you, your responses to the performance show your appreciation to the actors. So, show your enjoyment!

Final points to remember:

  • turn off your mobile phone (even the vibration of a phone or lit screen is distracting);
  • avoid eating in the theatre and rustling paper;
  • cover coughs and sneezes;
  • don’t film or photograph the performance due to intellectual ownership.

Curriculum links and activities

Year 8 Health and Physical Education

Prepare

Year 8 Health and Physical Education Achievement Standard Addressed 

The Year 8 curriculum expands students’ knowledge, understanding and skills to help them achieve successful outcomes in classroom, leisure, social, movement and online situations. Students learn how to take positive action to enhance their own and others’ health, safety and well-being. They do this as they examine the nature of their relationships and other factors that influence people’s beliefs, attitudes, opportunities, decisions, behaviours and actions. Students demonstrate a range of help-seeking strategies that support them to access and evaluate health and physical activity information and services. 

The curriculum for Year 8 supports students to refine a range of specialised knowledge, understanding and skills in relation to their health, safety, well-being, and movement competence and confidence. Students develop specialised movement skills and understanding in a range of physical activity settings. They analyse how body control and coordination influence movement composition and learn to transfer movement skills and concepts to a variety of physical activities. Students explore the role that games and sports, outdoor recreation, lifelong physical activities, and rhythmic and expressive movement activities play in shaping cultures and identities. They reflect on and refine personal and social skills as they participate in a range of physical activities. 

Year 8 Health and Physical Education Content Descriptors Addressed 

Investigate the impact of transition and change on identities (ACPPS070) 

Investigate and select strategies to promote health, safety and well-being (ACPPS073)

Investigate the benefits of relationships and examine their impact on their own and others’ health and well-being (ACPPS074)

Analyse factors that influence emotions, and develop strategies to demonstrate empathy and sensitivity (ACPPS075)

Investigate the benefits to individuals and communities of valuing diversity and promoting inclusivity (ACPPS079)



Before the Play

ACTIVITY

This unit includes activities and assessment linked to the Health and Physical Education Australian Curriculum across Year 8. Teachers can choose to use individual activities to complement existing plays or complete the entire unit of work with their students. 

The learning activities can provide a structure to view and explore Amphibian with your students. They will provide opportunity for students to explore the play resources independently as well as generate class discussion and sharing of interpretations of the play. 

Tune-in

Individually, students research and define: 

  • Refugee
  • Migrant
  • Relationship
  • Truth
  • Displacement
  • Asylum Seeker
  • Empathy
  • Loss
  • Change
  • Choice

In pairs, students access the resource below (Puzzle Maker) and develop a Criss Cross and Find-a-word using the above terms. Students also need to select and define 5 other terms that relate to the topics listed above and include them in their Criss Cross and Find-a-word. Follow the instructions within the website and print out each student’s work. Students are to share their Criss Cross and Find-a-word with their peers. Allow other students to complete the activities. Once the work is completed and the students have finished the activities of their peers, open the floor for discussion about the terms and how they are evident in Australian society.  

Develop 3 strategies or ideas that you could implement to assist refugee/migrant or asylum seekers to integrate into your community. 

Puzzle Maker

Explore and Apply

Using the Across Land and Sea: Muzafar’s True Story interactive platform, introduce students to the story of Afghan refugee, Muzafar Ali.  

As a class, students read the themes evident in Amphibian (see themes section of this resource) and identify which themes are also present in Muzafar’s story. Students develop a Mind Map through a class discussion that explores the connection between the themes of the play Amphibian and Muzafar Ali’s plight. Some suggested questions could include: 

  • List some emotions you feel after learning of Muzafar Ali’s story – evidence of empathy 
  • What emotions are evident when you think about the adversity Muzafar Ali overcame to survive and thrive 
  • List some of the key relationships in Muzafar’s story 
  • List some of your key relationships in your life 

In pairs, students discuss and write down times in their life when they have demonstrated empathy, truth, adapted to change and have relied on relationships to see them succeed.  Once complete, students discuss their examples with the class and discuss the similarities and differences between their journey and Muzafar’s journey. 

Create

Once the Explore and Apply activity has been completed, students are to develop their own life journey presentation. The presentation needs to reflect some of the themes expressed in the story of Muzafar Ali and the themes section in this resource. The presentation needs to fit the following conditions: 

  • Presentation needs to be developed in PowerPoint 
  • Maximum of 10 slides 
  • Select a song to overlap the presentation e.g. ROAR – Katy Perry 
  • Milestones in life, such as: schooling milestones, key relationships, major life experiences such as birthdays, sporting/cultural experiences, moments of having to adapting to change, times of loss such as death
  • Include images will help to support the presentation 
  • Detailed explanation of each milestone discussed in chronological order on each slide 
  • Last slide is saved for a comparison and evaluation between their own journey and the journey of Muzafar Ali. Key points to cover include: 
    • How does your story compare to Muzafar Ali’s story? 
    • Is it fair to say that you have empathy for Muzafar Ali’s journey? 
    • How would you react/cope with having to live in the shoes of Muzafar Ali throughout his journey? 
    • How would you treat people who have had stories similar to Muzafar Ali?
Critique

Students undertake the 3,2,1 activity. Students answer individually: What are 3 things I learned, 2 things I found interesting and 1 question I have. These are based on their recall from Muzafar’s story and the themes and character section from this resource.  

Students share their 3, 2, 1, with a partner for 2 minutes. Then share their 3, 2, 1 in groups of 4 and finally as a class. Students are to have a discussion with their family that night about their 3, 2, 1 activity and what else they discussed as a class and feedback to the class in the next lesson.

Learning Outcomes

Investigate the impact of transition and change on identities (ACPPS070)

Investigate and select strategies to promote health, safety and well-being (ACPPS073)

Investigate the benefits of relationships and examine their impact on their own and others’ health and well-being (ACPPS074)

Analyse factors that influence emotions, and develop strategies to demonstrate empathy and sensitivity (ACPPS075)

Investigate the benefits to individuals and communities of valuing diversity and promoting inclusivity (ACPPS079)

 



After the Play

ACTIVITY

Tune-in

Before reviewing any of the resources, have the students individually brainstorm the key lessons, ideas, themes and issues raised in the play, Amphibian 

  1. Students are to develop at least 10 terms or phrases. 
  2. After a given time, allow the students to contribute to a Mind Map on the board by writing their strongest ideas up themselves.  
  3. Develop discussions based around the ideas presented.  
  4. Have the students review the themes section within this resource.  
  5. Students then align the themes with the ideas identified in the mind map.  
  6. Students create a table to collate this information with the themes as the headings and ideas in related columns.
  7. Students discuss which themes are more evident in Amphibian and which themes they connected with during the play.
Explore and Apply

Students conduct a practical application of the characters in the play in order to illustrate the confidence and self-image elements. Students recall the characters in Amphibian (also see character section of this resource) and identify the general attitude of Hassan, Chloe and Eleni. In groups of 3, students are to derive 3 characteristics that would identify how each of these characters would carry themselves if walking down the street. Each character should have altered physical mannerisms, for example: Walking with confidence – head up, chest out, swinging arms, strong stance, walks with purpose, smiling. Walking without confidence – head down, low shoulders, drags feet, sad face, walks slowly, no eye contact. Walks with over confidence – similar to walking with confidence, but over the top. 

  1. Students need to link this understanding with the characters from the play. 
  2. As a class, clear the classroom to enable space for movement. Students to mimic the characters and walk around the room acting out each character. 
  3. Students are asked the following questions: 
    1. How did you feel to portray each character (often the students will feel the same way as the character they are acting out – see if this is the case) 
    2. Have you seen students in your school exhibit these characteristics? What should you do if you see students at your school display poor confidence while walking around the school?
  4. Have 1 student leave the room. Ask the remaining students to walk around the room as Eleni and select 2 other students to walk as Hassan just after his mother has left him at the bus stop. The student that was removed from the room re-enters and identifies which students are portraying Hassan having been left by his mother at the bus stop. This illustrates how easy it is to identify students with a low level of confidence. Repeat this process by altering the student who leaves and the characters that are performed
  5. Finally, have the entire class walk around as Chloe. Have 1 student act as Eleni and another as Hassan. Then once the Eleni’s character finds Hassan, she starts to bully/pick on Hassan. (teacher could freeze the action of all the other students so students can just focus on one role play at a time to ensure things stay appropriate) First instance, the Chloe characters say nothing, which enables Eleni to successfully bully Hassan. Second instance, Chloe’s role is to stand up for Hassan. The Chloe characters help each other to stop the bullying and assure Hassan that he has friends and has support. Repeat with other students in different roles. Discuss the following: 
    • How did the Hassan character feel when he didn’t have peers to support him? 
    • How did the Hassan character feel when he had peers to support him? 
    • How did Eleni feel when she was not supported and told to leave him alone? 
    • What are the benefits of relationships? 
    • How did the Chloe characters feel when they worked together to stop the bullying from occurring? 
  6. Students should reflect now on their own life and playground experiences and set goals to reduce bullying in their school. As a class develop strategies they could use to help others in their school to reduce bullying and build confidence. 
Create

After completing the Explore and Apply activity, students are to create their own ending to the play, Amphibian. Students review the themes and character sections of this resource for character reference. In groups of 3 or 4 students are to develop how the play could have ended. Students develop 2 alternate endings. There must be reference to 2 of the themes outlined in this resource.

Students are to perform the endings in front of the class and then discuss with their peers the endings they developed and how each one represented a particular theme. There needs to be reference to how the play and selected theme connected with them.

Critique

Students are to review the characters from the play Amphibian (review the character section in this resource). Students recall the characters in the play and select the 4 main characters. Students are to undertake the ‘Corners’ activity. Each corner of the room is allocated a main character from the play, for example Chloe, Hassan, Hassan’s mother and Eleni. Students are asked to go to the corner they feel they connected with the most. Once they have moved to the corner of the character they connect with, they are to discuss and take notes as to why they selected that character. Refer to specific parts of the play that supports their points. Each corner is to select a spokesperson to outline their notes to the group.  

Students are to review the themes from the play Amphibian (review the themes section in this resource). Students recall the themes in the play and select (as a class) 4 themes. Students are to undertake the ‘Corners’ activity. Each corner of the room is allocated a theme from the play, for example Change, Loss, Empathy, Truth. Students are asked to go to the corner they feel they connected with the most. Once they have moved to the corner, they are to discuss and take notes as to why they selected that theme. Refer to explicit parts of the play that supports their points. Each corner is to select a spokesperson to outline their notes to the group. 

Once all corners have spoken about the themes and characters the class reflect on the overall impact the play has had. They discuss how the play has changed and/or impacted their perception towards their own life and the life or others. Discussions need to align with the themes and personality types of the characters within the play. 

Learning Outcomes 

Investigate the impact of transition and change on identities (ACPPS070)

Investigate and select strategies to promote health, safety and well-being (ACPPS073)

Investigate the benefits of relationships and examine their impact on their own and others’ health and well-being (ACPPS074)

Analyse factors that influence emotions, and develop strategies to demonstrate empathy and sensitivity (ACPPS075)

Investigate the benefits to individuals and communities of valuing diversity and promoting inclusivity (ACPPS079)



Year 9 Health and Physical Education

Prepare

Year 9 Health and Physical Education Achievement Standard Addressed 

By the end of Year 10, students critically analyse contextual factors that influence identities, relationships, decisions and behaviours. They analyse the impact attitudes and beliefs about diversity have on community connection and well-being. They evaluate the outcomes of emotional responses to different situations. Students access, synthesise and apply health information from credible sources to propose and justify responses to health situations. Students propose and evaluate interventions to improve fitness and physical activity levels in their communities. They examine the role physical activity has played historically in defining cultures and cultural identities. 

Students demonstrate leadership, fair play and cooperation across a range of movement and health contexts. They apply decision-making and problem-solving skills when taking action to enhance their own and others’ health, safety and well-being. They apply and transfer movement concepts and strategies to new and challenging movement situations. They apply criteria to make judgements about and refine their own and others’ specialised movement skills and movement performances. They work collaboratively to design and apply solutions to movement challenges. 

Year 9 Health and Physical Education Content Descriptors Addressed 

Evaluate factors that shape identities and critically analyse how individuals impact the identities of others (ACPPS089)

Investigate how empathy and ethical decision making contribute to respectful relationships (ACPPS093)

Plan, implement and critique strategies to enhance health, safety and well-being of their communities (ACPPS096)

Critique behaviours and contextual factors that influence health and well-being of diverse communities (ACPPS098) 



Before the Play

ACTIVITY

This unit includes activities and assessment linked to the Health and Physical Education Australian Curriculum across Year 9. Teachers can choose to use individual activities to complement existing plays or complete the entire unit of work with their students. 

The learning activities can provide a structure to view and explore Amphibian with your students. They will provide opportunity for students to explore the play resources independently as well as generate class discussion and sharing of interpretations of the play. 

Tune-in

Brainstorm the concept of ‘relationships.’ Students develop a Mind Map to illustrate their prior knowledge.  

Pose leading questions such as:  

  • What makes a good friend?  
  • What qualities do you admire about your closest peers?  
  • How do you know your peers are true friends?  
  • What are the different types of relationships that exist in your everyday life?  
  • Are there different levels of influence in each of these types of relationships? 

Students read the themes from Amphibian (see the themes section of this resource), especially ‘relationships’. Students also read the article ’13 Essential Traits of Good Friends’ (see resource link). Using a ‘seesaw activity’, students with a partner take turns giving answers to the following questions. Answers should connect between the relationships theme, the article ’13 Essential Traits of Good Friends’ and their own personal experience.  

  • Look at each of the traits discussed in the article and discuss the importance of each trait on establishing and maintaining a positive and success relationship.  
  • Do your friendships mimic the traits of a positive relationship?  
  • What traits evident in the article are evident in your peer group/friendship? 
  • Which traits do you hold as your top 3? Why? Are these evident in your peers? 
  • Have you experienced a destructive relationship?  
  • What were the qualities betrayed that were listed in the article of a positive relationship? 
  • What are the qualities of a destructive relationship?  
  • Do your peers influence the person you are?  If so, how?

13 Essential Traits of Good Friends

Explore and Apply

Using Across Land and Sea: Muzafar’s True Story interactive platform, introduce students to the story of Afghan refugee, Muzafar Ali.  

As a class, students revisit the themes evident in Amphibian (see themes section of this resource) and identify which themes are also present in Muzafar’s story. In small groups, discuss: 

  • After reviewing the theme ‘empathy’ and exploring the resource link below, what kind of well-being issues could arise from Muzafar’s experience? 
  • After reviewing the theme ‘adapting to change,’ how do you think you would have survived in Muzafar’s experience? What kind of change would occur in you?  
  • After reviewing the theme ‘truth,’ outline your stance on the importance of truth in your relationships? Why is truth so important to sustaining a positive relationship? 
  • After reviewing the theme ‘relationships,’ what were the key relationships for Muzafar? What type of relationships were they? How did they help him? 
  • Outline keys stats and facts about refugees and asylum seekers coming to Australia. 

Refugee Council

Create

As a class, students review the themes evident in Amphibian (see themes section of this resource) and create a profile of 3 relationships in their own life. The profiles will include one family member, one peer and a role model. Some of the themes will be evident in each of the profiles completed. Complete the following for each profile: 

  1. Name and photo of individual. 
  2. Length of time the relationship has lasted. 
  3. List of key experiences you have shared. 
  4. What lessons/key messages have you learnt from this relationship? (Hassan’s Mother “Remember, always be kind!”) 
  5. Qualities that you admire about that person? At least 8. (refer to article “13 traits for a good relationship”) 
  6. What emotions would you experience if this relationship was removed from your life? (death – similar feeling to Hassan, who assumes the worse has occurred to his family) 
  7. What coping strategies could be implemented to overcome the loss? (support networks, new relationships – similar to Hassan and Chloe who have to develop new relationships and find support in each of their new environments) 
Critique

Using Across Land and Sea: Muzafar’s True Story interactive platform, show students the story of Afghan refugee, Muzafar Ali. Complete the following: 

  1. Students are to research and take notes on the current Australian Refugee laws, stories and motivations behind why people like Muzafar Ali are seeking asylum.  
  2. Students are to collect data via a survey on their school community’s knowledge on the topic of refugees in Australia. Some key topics to be critiqued are: 
    • What is a refugee? 
    • Why do people become refugees?
    • What’s the difference between a refugee and asylum seeker?  
    • How are refugees processed and how long does it take?
    • Where do most of our refugee’s come from?
    • How would you feel if you need to seek refuge in another country?
  3. Develop a brochure to present your findings. Include some definitions, factual information of refugees in Australia and images of successfully integrated refugees into Australian society. 

Learning Outcomes

Evaluate factors that shape identities and critically analyse how individuals impact the identities of others (ACPPS089)

Investigate how empathy and ethical decision making contribute to respectful relationships (ACPPS093)

Plan, implement and critique strategies to enhance health, safety and well-being of their communities (ACPPS096)

Critique behaviours and contextual factors that influence health and well-being of diverse communities (ACPPS098)



After the Play

ACTIVITY

Explore and Apply

Students review the characters in Amphibian (see character section of this resource). Complete the following: 

  • Students draw a mud map on a large piece of paper or butchers paper, of all the characters in the play and the connections and influences between them. The heavier or thicker the line that connects the characters, the heavier the influence/impact between them.  
  • For each of the lines drawn on the mud map, outline what the influence is and the direction of the influence via arrows. This will enable students to see what the influence is between all characters and who is the dominant character in each relationship.  
  • Make a table which outlines the following types of relationships: 
    • New relationships 
    • Destructive relationships 
    • Positive relationships 
  • Students are to self-reflect and develop their own mud map of their own life. Follow the same process and discuss with a partner your end product. What changes would you make to ensure you have more positive relationships that encourage and motivate you to achieve your potential?  Are you happy with your map of influence? Are there changes that need to occur? 
Create

After completion of the Explore and Apply activity, students are to create a playlist of 5 songs each for Hassan, Chloe and Eleni. Write these in a table format with song title and artist for each character. Complete the following questions once the playlists are complete: 

  • Identify, using the lyrics, what connects these songs to this character? 

By recalling the characters in the play Amphibian and their behaviours, actions and language of these characters, what parts of the play link to the songs you have chosen? 

  • Review your top 5 favourite songs. 
  • What do the lyrics in your favourite songs tell you about yourself? 
  • In reflection, do these songs and their lyrics influence you in your behaviour and language?  
  • Are they songs that enhance your confidence, self-image and body image? Why, Why not? 
Tune-in

Students read about the themes from the play (see the themes section of this resource).  As a class, students complete the activity,  “5 Whys” (use link below to see an example) in relation to the questions below. The “5 Whys” is a technique to explore cause and effect of an underlying problem in a relationship. Firstly students define the problem and develop an understanding as a class. Students then write a statement about the problem and ask “Why?” recording their answers to the right of the statement. Students continue to ask “Why?” 4 more times allowing for multiple lines of inquiry.

  • Why does Chloe not trust Hassan? Is she justified in her lack of trust?  
  • How does technology and social media effect Hassan and his journey? 
  • How does Hassan deal with loss and displacement? 

Complete using the ‘5 Whys:’ 

The ‘5 Whys’ is a technique to explore cause and effect relationships underlying a particular problem. 

  1. Define the problem and develop an understanding with the class 
  2. Write a statement about the problem and ask why? 
  3. Record the answers to the rights of the statement. 
  4. Ask why 4 more times. This allows for multiple lines of inquiry. 
  5. Example with statement and 2 whys

In groups of 4, students then develop 2 other key questions from the play and compile their thoughts using the activity “5 Whys” for each of the questions. Share findings with the class.

Critique

Students are to read from the themes section of this resource and review “displacement.” Review the lyrics of the song ROAR by Katy Perry. Students listen to the song in pairs and attempt to write down what they think the lyrics are. Then discuss the following:

  • How does the lyrics of the song ROAR by Katy Perry illustrate the story of Hassan and Chloe and their journey to Adelaide?
  • Identify lines in the lyrics that connect with their struggle. Link the lines in the lyrics to themes outlines in this resource.
  • Identify 2 other songs that illustrate their journey. Breakdown the lyrics in the same process as ROAR.

Learning Outcomes

  • Evaluate factors that shape identities and critically analyse how individuals impact the identities of others (ACPPS089)
  • Investigate how empathy and ethical decision making contribute to respectful relationships (ACPPS093)
  • Plan, implement and critique strategies to enhance health, safety and well-being of their communities (ACPPS096)
  • Critique behaviours and contextual factors that influence health and well-being of diverse communities (ACPPS098)


Year 8 English

Prepare

Year 8 English Achievement Standard Addressed

Receptive modes (listening, reading and viewing)

By the end of Year 8, students understand how the selection of text structures is influenced by the selection of language mode and how this varies for different purposes and audiences. Students explain how language features, images and vocabulary are used to represent different ideas and issues in texts. Students interpret texts, questioning the reliability of sources of ideas and information. They select evidence from the text to show how events, situations and people can be represented from different viewpoints. They listen for and identify different emphases in texts, using that understanding to elaborate on discussions.

Productive modes (speaking, writing and creating)

Students understand how the selection of language features can be used for particular purposes and effects. They explain the effectiveness of language choices they make to influence the audience. Through combining ideas, images and language features from other texts, students show how ideas can be expressed in new ways. Students create texts for different purposes, selecting language to influence audience response. They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, using language patterns for effect. When creating and editing texts to create specific effects, they take into account intended purposes and the needs and interests of audiences. They demonstrate understanding of grammar, select vocabulary for effect and use accurate spelling and punctuation.

Year 7 and 8 English content descriptions addressed – LANGUAGE, LITERATURE and LITERACY

Understand how rhetorical devices are used to persuade and how different layers of meaning are developed through the use of metaphor, irony and parody (ACELA1542)

Understand how cohesion in texts is improved by strengthening the internal structure of paragraphs through the use of examples, quotations and substantiation of claims (ACELA1766)

Understand how coherence is created in complex texts through devices like lexical cohesion, ellipsis, grammatical theme and text connectives (ACELA1809)

Understand the use of punctuation conventions, including colons, semicolons, dashes and brackets in formal and informal texts (ACELA1544)

Recognise that vocabulary choices contribute to the specificity, abstraction and style of texts (ACELA1547)

Understand how to apply learned knowledge consistently in order to spell accurately and to learn new words including nominalisations (ACELA1549)

Explore the ways that ideas and viewpoints in literary texts drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts may reflect or challenge the values of individuals and groups (ACELT1626)

Share, reflect on, clarify and evaluate opinions and arguments about aspects of literary texts (ACELT1627)

Understand and explain how combinations of words and images in texts are used to represent particular groups in society, and how texts position readers in relation to those groups (ACELT1628)

Recognise and explain differing viewpoints about the world, cultures, individual people and concerns represented in texts (ACELT1807)

Create literary texts that draw upon text structures and language features of other texts for particular purposes and effects (ACELT1632)

Experiment with particular language features drawn from different types of texts, including combinations of language and visual choices to create new texts (ACELT1768)

Interpret the stated and implied meanings in spoken texts, and use evidence to support or challenge different perspectives (ACELY1730)

Apply increasing knowledge of vocabulary, text structures and language features to understand the content of texts (ACELY1733)

Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that raise issues, report events and advance opinions, using deliberate language and textual choices, and including digital elements as appropriate (ACELY1736)

Experiment with text structures and language features to refine and clarify ideas to improve the effectiveness of students’ own texts (ACELY1810)



Before the Play

ACTIVITY

This unit includes activities and assessment linked to English, Australian Curriculum for Year 8. Teachers can choose to use individual activities to complement existing English units or complete the entire unit of work with their students.

The learning activities can provide a structure to view and explore Amphibian with your students. They will provide opportunity for students to explore the play resources independently as well as generate class discussion and sharing of interpretations of the play.

Tune-in

Individually or in pairs, students look up and define the following words.  Students should aim to correctly use the word in a sentence.

  • Amphibian
  • Axolotl
  • Salamander
  • Chameleon
  • Metamorphose
  • Change
  • Taliban
  • Fundamental State
  • Infidel
  • Preconceived
  • Prejudice
  • Ignorance
  • Empathy
  • Sympathy
  • Adrift
  • Afloat
  • Awash
  • Astray
  • Agog

Students to discuss with their elbow buddy or table group: What connections they think the words have to each other? Considering their responses, students answer what do they think Amphibian will be about?

Explore and Apply

Using a Graphic organiser such as a Venn Diagram, students compare the words “empathy” and “sympathy” exploring their similarities and differences. Ask students to site examples when they might feel empathetic or sympathetic towards someone.

Create

Hand out five square shaped pieces of paper to the students. On each of the pieces of paper, students draw a visual picture of the words: adrift; afloat, awash, astray and agog. (Alternatively, students could use an online creating system to create this visual representation). Ask the students:

  • What do these words look like?
  • What might someone who is “adrift” (or afloat, awash etc.) be doing?
  • Consider metaphorically what these words may represent.

Ask students to keep this work as they will develop it further in the After Viewing the Play Create activity of this resource.

Critique

Students read the themes in Amphibian (see themes section of this resource). Divide students into groups and give each group theme to investigate further. Ask students to consider:

  • How is the theme relevant in contemporary society?
  • What examples of the theme are evident at school? In the world?
  • What experiences of this theme have you personally experienced?

Students to record their ideas in a mind map on butcher’s paper that can be placed around the room. Alternatively, Padlet may be used to submit responses to be projected in the classroom in real time.

Each group shares their responses with the class. The class reflects upon and discusses the presentations and add any comments from the class discussion to their Mind Map.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Recognise that vocabulary choices contribute to the specificity, abstraction and style of texts (ACELA1547)

Understand how to apply learned knowledge consistently in order to spell accurately and to learn new words including nominalisations (ACELA1549)

Apply increasing knowledge of vocabulary, text structures and language features to understand the content of texts (ACELY1733)



After the Play

ACTIVITY

Tune-in

Students review the themes evident in Amphibian (see the themes section of this resource). Explore the idea of gaps within a text. The gaps (or unanswered questions) in the text by the end of the play are mostly filled in by Hassan as he tells his story to Chloe. Discuss what themes are present during Hassan’s flashback in the retelling of his story? What gaps are still present within the text?

One gap within the text is Chloe and Eleni’s conversation in the morning, as this is not a scene that is present within the performance. The audience (and Hassan) make assumptions and inferences about what occurs in this conversation. The impact of this conversation could have huge ramifications on discovering who stole the wallet.  Students discuss what might have been said between the two girls that morning. Students use Padlet to submit their responses to be projected in the classroom in real time. Ask students to connect a theme or themes to this gap in the text.

Using correct dialogue punctuation and story-writing skills, students individually write the conversation and story they believe occurred between Chloe and Eleni. Students use their imagination to make judgments about how this conversation could impact the ‘truth’ behind the stolen wallet.

Ask students to then pair up with their elbow buddy and imagine that Mrs Damascus has called in Chloe and Hassan one by one. Students write the conversation between Mrs Damascus and either Hassan or Chloe – each student in the pair must take a different character relationship. That is: one student writes the conversation and story between Hassan and Mrs Damascus and the other student writes the conversation between Chloe and Mrs Damascus. Encourage students to consider what is said and thought by the characters and how Mrs Damascus might respond. Also have students refer to information shared between Chloe and Hassan outside the classroom and consider the themes of ‘truth’, ‘choice’, ‘relationship’ and ‘empathy’.

Students to compare stories with their elbow buddy and discuss. Share with the class.

Now imagine that Chloe is retelling the story to her Mum after school. Ask students to write from Chloe’s perspective:

  • What does she say?
  • What was important to her?
  • How might she word the retelling to her mum?
  • Does Chloe share her ‘empathy’ for Hassan with her mum?
  • Does she tell her the ‘truth’? Consider how this might affect her ‘relationship’ with her mum.

Students might also consider the mother’s preconceived ideas and prejudices of Hassan.

This activity could form a larger part of an assessable task by completing an Imaginative Response to Literature using an Online Journal (Sample Task 1) or alternatively a Response to Literature Task. (Sample Task 2).

Example of similar task

Explore and Apply

Students view and interact with Across Land and Sea: Muzafar’s True Story interactive platform which introduces students to the story of Afghan refugee, Muzafar Ali. Reviewing their definitions and Venn Diagram comparison of ‘sympathy’ and ’empathy’ from the Before the Play section of this resource, students share with the class who they empathised with and felt sympathy for in Muzafar’s story.

Ask students to discuss with their elbow partner:

  • What are some circumstances in which you feel sympathy for someone?
  • What are some circumstances in which you feel empathy someone?
  • Do you think that Chloe feels sympathy or empathy for Hassan?
  • Is there a possibility that she could feel both? How so?

Students write 3 reasons each why Chloe has sympathy for and feels empathy with Hassan. Encourage students to provide some examples from the play and include their knowledge of the characters (see the character description section of this resource). Students discuss their findings.

In-line debate: Students will be debating with class members about Chloe’s Sympathy vs Empathy. They should decide which feeling they think she feels more strongly and write a short argument for the debate. Remember to include persuasive techniques and devices.

Split the class into two sides: sympathy and empathy. Students should move to the side they most strongly agree. One student presents their argument to the class. The teacher decides if the student has provided specific justification to their argument. If so, the student receives a point for their team. The other side then has a team member to present their argument and so on. At the end of the debate, the team with the most points wins.

After listening to all the arguments, students write a written reflection to the following questions:

  • How could you have improved your own argument?
  • Could you have you explained your justification more clearly and succinctly? How?
  • Could you have included more persuasive devices? Provide examples.
  • Could you improve your vocabulary? Where specifically?

This activity could form a larger part of an assessable task by completing an oral presentation in response to a social concept (Sample Task 7).

Example of similar tasks

Create

Adrift, afloat, awash, astray, agog.

These words are spoken by the Old Woman in Hassan’s philosophical dream. They are not just said randomly but metaphorically as they represent Hassan’s journey. Students review the meaning of the words from the Tune-in activity before they viewed the play and discuss how the words represent Hassan’s journey at that point of the play.

Alliteration is the repetition of a consonant sound throughout a phrase, sentence or line. Although these words are alliterative, they are also metaphoric in representing Hassan’s journey. Discuss with students the significance of these words within the play. What theme in the play connects most strongly with the words?

Students are to write their own alliteration poem that links with one of the themes particularly, ‘displacement’, ‘loss’ and ‘truth’. Students may be provided with a letter they are to use, or alternatively students may choose their own letter. Invite students to find as many words as possible that start with the letter and also connect with the chosen theme.

Students write another alliteration poem using the word Metamorphose, Change, Amphibian or Axolotl.

Alliteration poems

Critique

Review the Mind Maps that students created on the themes in the Before Viewing the Play section in these activities. Students reform their groups, answer the following questions adding their findings to their original butcher’s paper or Padlet.

  • Where is the theme evident in the play?
  • How is the theme reflected in the characters?
  • How does the theme develop or change from the beginning of the play until the end?

Using this information, students write an analytical essay deconstructing the themes in the play. Discuss with students the definition of the cognitive verb, ‘analysis’. Revise with students, analytical paragraph writing structure such as PEAL, TEEPEE etc.  Also review vocabulary and signpost words used in analytical writing. Students may practice writing sentence starters, topic sentences and linking sentences to further guide their writing.

Students may respond to the following questions in an analytical paragraph:

  • What themes have been explored within the play and how do they change and develop?
  • Analyse whether the characters in the play feel sympathy or empathy towards each other?
  • How do the characters demonstrate their own change or metamorphosis in the play?
  • Analyse why the play is titled Amphibian? Refer to the themes of displacement, adapting to different worlds and loss.

Padlet

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Understand how rhetorical devices are used to persuade and how different layers of meaning are developed through the use of metaphor, irony and parody (ACELA1542)

Understand how cohesion in texts is improved by strengthening the internal structure of paragraphs through the use of examples, quotations and substantiation of claims (ACELA1766)

Understand how coherence is created in complex texts through devices like lexical cohesion, ellipsis, grammatical theme and text connectives (ACELA1809)

Understand the use of punctuation conventions, including colons, semicolons, dashes and brackets in formal and informal texts (ACELA1544)

Recognise that vocabulary choices contribute to the specificity, abstraction and style of texts (ACELA1547)

Explore the ways that ideas and viewpoints in literary texts drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts may reflect or challenge the values of individuals and groups (ACELT1626)

Share, reflect on, clarify and evaluate opinions and arguments about aspects of literary texts (ACELT1627)

Understand and explain how combinations of words and images in texts are used to represent particular groups in society, and how texts position readers in relation to those groups (ACELT1628)

Recognise and explain differing viewpoints about the world, cultures, individual people and concerns represented in texts (ACELT1807)

Create literary texts that draw upon text structures and language features of other texts for particular purposes and effects (ACELT1632)

Experiment with particular language features drawn from different types of texts, including combinations of language and visual choices to create new texts (ACELT1768)

Interpret the stated and implied meanings in spoken texts, and use evidence to support or challenge different perspectives (ACELY1730)

Apply increasing knowledge of vocabulary, text structures and language features to understand the content of texts (ACELY1733)

Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that raise issues, report events and advance opinions, using deliberate language and textual choices, and including digital elements as appropriate (ACELY1736)

Experiment with text structures and language features to refine and clarify ideas to improve the effectiveness of students’ own texts (ACELY1810)



Year 9 English

Prepare

Year 9 English Achievement Standard Addressed

Receptive modes (listening, reading and viewing)

By the end of Year 9, students analyse the ways that text structures can be manipulated for effect. They analyse and explain how images, vocabulary choices and language features distinguish the work of individual authors.

They evaluate and integrate ideas and information from texts to form their own interpretations. They select evidence from texts to analyse and explain how language choices and conventions are used to influence an audience. They listen for ways texts position an audience.

Productive modes (speaking, writing and creating)

Students understand how to use a variety of language features to create different levels of meaning. They understand how interpretations can vary by comparing their responses to texts to the responses of others. In creating texts, students demonstrate how manipulating language features and images can create innovative texts.

Students create texts that respond to issues, interpreting and integrating ideas from other texts. They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, comparing and evaluating responses to ideas and issues. They edit for effect, selecting vocabulary and grammar that contribute to the precision and persuasiveness of texts and using accurate spelling and punctuation.

Year 9 and 10 English content descriptions addressed – LANGUAGE, LITERATURE and LITERACY

Analyse and explain the use of symbols, icons and myth in still and moving images and how these augment meaning (ACELA1560)

Identify how vocabulary choices contribute to specificity, abstraction and stylistic effectiveness (ACELA1561)

Interpret and compare how representations of people and culture in literary texts are drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts (ACELT1633)

Present an argument about a literary text based on initial impressions and subsequent analysis of the whole text (ACELT1771)

Explore and reflect on personal understanding of the world and significant human experience gained from interpreting various representations of life matters in texts (ACELT1635)

Investigate and experiment with the use and effect of extended metaphor, metonymy, allegory, icons, myths and symbolism in texts, for example poetry, short films, graphic novels, and plays on similar themes (ACELT1637)

Use interaction skills to present and discuss an idea and to influence and engage an audience by selecting persuasive language, varying voice tone, pitch, and pace, and using elements such as music and sound effects (ACELY1811)

Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations, selecting and sequencing appropriate content and multimodal elements for aesthetic and playful purposes (ACELY1741)

Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that present a point of view and advance or illustrate arguments, including texts that integrate visual, print and/or audio features (ACELY1746)



Before the Play

ACTIVITY

This unit includes activities and assessment linked to English, Australian Curriculum for Year 9. Teachers can choose to use individual activities to complement existing English units or complete the entire unit of work with their students.

The learning activities can provide a structure to view and explore Amphibian with your students. They will provide opportunity for students to explore the study resources for Amphibian independently as well as generate class discussion and sharing of interpretations of the play.

Tune-in

Individually or in pairs, students look up and define the following words.  Students should aim to correctly use the word in a sentence:

  • Amphibian
  • Axolotl
  • Salamander
  • Chameleon
  • Metamorphose
  • Change
  • Taliban
  • Fundamental State
  • Infidel
  • Preconceived
  • Prejudice
  • Ignorance
  • Empathy
  • Sympathy
  • Adrift
  • Afloat
  • Awash
  • Astray
  • Agog

Students discuss with their elbow buddy or table group: What connections do they think the words have to each other?

Considering their responses, students answer: What do they think the play, Amphibian will be about?

Explore and Apply

Students write a written response to the following questions. Have you ever been in a situation where you:

  • were falsely accused for something you didn’t do?
  • were unfairly judged for stealing?
  • weren’t believed about something?

Students then write a written response to the following question:

  • Have you been in a situation where you didn’t believe someone else or hadn’t trusted that someone else was being truthful?
Create

Students to play the game ‘Two Truths One Lie’. In this game students individually write down two truths and one lie about themselves, making sure that no one else can see what they have written. Once they have written down these points, students should consider how to present the story and context around these three points to the class. Tell the students, that in a moment, they will present their two truths and one lie to the group. Students will have to provide the context around their three points and the class may ask questions to work out the lie. Therefore students should consider carefully how they will present their ideas and the stories around them.

Each student will then present their two truths and one lie to the class. (Encourage students to mix it up so students don’t always present the lie last). The class may ask questions of the student presenting or ask for further information. Once the student presenting has finished, the class is to vote for what they think the lie is. After the vote, the student can reveal the answer.

After playing the game, students should reflect about what made someone’s points more believable than another? In their reflection, students should consider:

  • Sincerity and believability of student presenter.
  • Use of persuasive devices in story.
  • Persuasiveness and confidence of student presenter’s delivery (including verbal and non-verbal skills).
Critique

As a class, students read the play’s synopsis (see the synopsis section of this resource) and individually research the term, ‘amphibian’. Students read the themes of the play specifically, ‘displacement’ ‘adapting to different worlds’ and ‘choice’ (see the themes section of this resource). Drawing on their knowledge from Tune-in and Explore and Apply activities above, brainstorm the connection of these themes to the concepts of Metamorphosis and Change. Students will use Padlet to submit their responses to be projected in the classroom in real time.

Students then write an individual response that explains the relevance of Metamorphosis and Change within the play and why these words might be key symbols within the play. In their justification encourage students to incorporate points from the class’ brainstorming and their research about amphibians.

Padlet

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Analyse and explain the use of symbols, icons and myth in still and moving images and how these augment meaning (ACELA1560)

Identify how vocabulary choices contribute to specificity, abstraction and stylistic effectiveness (ACELA1561)

Interpret and compare how representations of people and culture in literary texts are drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts (ACELT1633)

Present an argument about a literary text based on initial impressions and subsequent analysis of the whole text (ACELT1771)

Use interaction skills to present and discuss an idea and to influence and engage an audience by selecting persuasive language, varying voice tone, pitch, and pace, and using elements such as music and sound effects (ACELY1811)

Explore and reflect on personal understanding of the world and significant human experience gained from interpreting various representations of life matters in texts (ACELT1635)

Investigate and experiment with the use and effect of extended metaphor, metonymy, allegory, icons, myths and symbolism in texts, for example poetry, short films, graphic novels, and plays on similar themes (ACELT1637)



After the Play

ACTIVITY

Tune-in

Students review the themes evident in Amphibian (see the themes section of this resource). Explore the idea of gaps within a text. The gaps (or unanswered questions) in the text by the end of the play are mostly filled in by Hassan as he tells his story to Chloe. Discuss what themes are present during Hassan’s flashback in the retelling of his story? What gaps are still present within the text?

One gap within the text is Chloe and Eleni’s conversation in the morning, as this is not a scene that is present within the performance. The audience (and Hassan) make assumptions and inferences about what occurs in this conversation. The impact of this conversation could have huge ramifications on discovering who stole the wallet.  Students discuss what might have been said between the two girls that morning. Students use Padlet to submit their responses to be projected in the classroom in real time. Ask students to connect a theme or themes to this gap in the text.

Using correct dialogue punctuation and story-writing skills, students individually write the conversation and story they believe occurred between Chloe and Eleni. Students use their imagination to make judgments about how this conversation could impact the ‘truth’ behind the stolen wallet.

Ask students to then pair up with their elbow buddy and imagine that Mrs Damascus has called in Chloe and Hassan one by one. Students write the conversation between Mrs Damascus and either Hassan or Chloe – each student in the pair must take a different character relationship. That is: one student writes the conversation and story between Hassan and Mrs Damascus and the other student writes the conversation between Chloe and Mrs Damascus. Encourage students to consider what is said and thought by the characters and how Mrs Damascus might respond. Also have students refer to information shared between Chloe and Hassan outside the classroom and consider the themes of ‘truth’, ‘choice’, ‘relationship’ and ‘empathy’.

Students to compare stories with their elbow buddy and discuss. Share with the class.

Now imagine that Chloe is retelling the story to her Mum after school. Ask students to write from Chloe’s perspective:

  • What does she say?
  • What was important to her?
  • How might she word the retelling to her mum?
  • Does Chloe share her ‘empathy’ for Hassan with her mum?
  • Does she tell her the ‘truth’? Consider how this might affect her ‘relationship’ with her mum.

Students might also consider the mother’s preconceived ideas and prejudices of Hassan.

This activity could form a larger part of an assessable task by completing an Imaginative Response to Literature: Short Story Transformation. (Sample Task 6). Example of a similar task

Padlet

Explore and Apply

Students discuss with their elbow partner the question: ‘Who was the culprit who stole Mrs Damascus’ money?’

Within table groups, identify reasons (for or against) why Hassan, Chloe or another character may have stolen the wallet. When providing reasons, ask students to give specific examples from the play, lines of dialogue, or the backstory of each character (see the character descriptions, synopsis and themes sections in this resource) to support their ideas. Also encourage students to focus on the ‘truth’; that is what causes them to believe one character over another.

Students share responses with the class. The teacher writes the responses and ideas on the board or an online recording device such as Padlet.

As a class, choose the eight most likely reasons and using an elimination Graphic Organiser, students will eventually decide which is the most likely cause and reason for stealing the wallet. Students will be numbered off to argue a point for one of the eight reasons for stealing the wallet. Students to develop a persuasive paragraph to argue their case to the class. Use a persuasive paragraph structure such as the Hamburger, PRES or OREO to help guide the writing of student paragraphs. Encourage the use of persuasive devices such as triplets, alliteration, modal verbs and imagery.

Students rehearse speaking their paragraphs and then present them to the class. Each Student Number 1 will Vs Student Number 2. (Student Number 3 vs 4, 5 vs 6, 7 vs 8). Ask students to decide via a class vote, who has proven the truth of each character more convincingly through their reasoning. The winner of the vote moves on to the next stage. Continue the elimination process until a winner is found.

Students are to consider that when deciding who won the persuasive debate, they made a decision about a student’s argument that was more believable and truthful than anothers. Students write a written reflection considering:

  • Potentially the student may have just been a better speaker and made some strong points that made them more trustworthy.
  • Or maybe they might have had some preconceived ideas about a particular student who delivered the argument.

Considering the characters, Chloe and Hassan, students consider what makes one character more ‘trustworthy’ than the other:

  • Does Chloe have some preconceived ideas and prejudices against Hassan?
  • Does this change throughout the play? Why?
  • Did your opinion about who was telling the truth change over the course of the play?
  • Do you think Mrs Damascus would consider her own prejudices in making her decision?

Padlet

Critique

Literary Symbols vs Visual Symbols.

Explain to students that symbols are objects, characters, figures, colours or words used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. They usually evoke a range of additional meaning beyond its literal significance. They appear small in the grand scheme of the play but provide great insight and can add impact to the play and its themes. In plays and stories, symbols are both visual (an object, action or image in the play) and literary (written in the text itself, spoken – metaphorically referred to by the characters).

Students identify with their elbow partner some well-known symbols present in their day to day lives and discuss their meaning. The teacher might want to suggest some symbols as the basis for the discussion e.g. The Cross, Skull and Cross Bone, White Flag, Money etc. (This could become an extended activity with the students creating flip cards: on one side they write and draw a symbol, and on the other side of the card they write the meaning of the symbol. Once cards have been created, share with others in the class as they try to guess what the symbols represent).

Students to create a mind map of the symbols evident in the play. Categorise them using different coloured highlighters as either visual (seen in the play) or literary (spoken by the characters).

Discuss answers as a class. Students to add any symbols to their Mind Map that they have not yet thought about.

Students to extend their mind map by thinking about what the symbols might mean in the context of the play (see examples below):

  • What do they mean for Hassan?
  • What do they represent for either character?
  • For the audience?

Examples of symbols from the play include:

Amphibian (literary) – The title of the play is Amphibian. Draw on their previous research about Amphibians. How is this a symbol for the play? For Hassan?

Axolotl (literary) – The class pet is an Axolotl who witnesses the crime. Why is the Axolotl different to other Amphibians? Who might the Axolotl represent in the play or society? (students will need to engage in further research)

Metamorphosis (literary) – How might this be a symbol in the play? What Metamorphosing has happened for Hassan? For Chloe?

Agog (literary) – The Old Woman tells Hassan that he is Agog. Review their previous definition of the word. How is this true for Hassan at that point in time? How is it true for him at school?

Holey undies (visual) – Hassan shows Chloe his holey undies. Why does he continue to wear this worn-out piece of clothing? Why does he feel the need to show Chloe?

The book, Real Life Monsters, Creatures of the Jungle (visual) – This is a book that Hassan takes with him. What might he like about this book? Why is he taking it with him?

The book of poetry (visual) – “Go and seek a more receptive realm. A country more loving in its laws” (literary) – During a dinner conversation with his mother, Hassan is handed this book and translates the quote. Why is this significant? How does this impact his life? How does it impact the mother’s choices?

Airports (visual/literary) – Hassan makes references to the “white light, glass, polished floors” of the airports. Why is this significant for him? How is it showing the disruption and displacement within Hassan’s life? Is he adapting to change at this point?

Old woman (visual) – Treehopper headdress. In a dream, Hassan has a very intriguing encounter with an Old woman with a Brazilian Treehopper headdress. What is significant for Hassan about her carrying this headdress? How does it link to the idea of the amphibian or metamorphosing?

“We all have to stray to be true to ourselves” (literary) – The Old Woman states this quote in Hassan’s dream. What does it mean and represent? How is this true for Hassan? How is this reflected in his current situation with Chloe?

“Kind” (literary) – Kindness is a huge part of Hassan’s values. Why is it so significant to him to be kind? How has he shown the kindness to others?

Phone (visual) – Hassan has carried his phone with him since he left Afghanistan and it has been the object that has helped him claim asylum. Why is it so significant to him? Why is a mobile phone a significant symbol for Eleni? How is this different to how Hassan views his phone?

Mrs Damascus (literary/visual) – What is the significance of her name in the play’s context? (students will need to potentially engage in further research)

Review the themes found in the play (see the themes section of this resource). In a Round Robin activity, write each theme on a large piece of butcher’s paper. Alternatively, students can complete this activity using Padlet to submit their responses to be projected in the classroom in real time.

Consider how these themes are reflected in the play:

  • Where is the theme evident in the play?
  • How might the theme be reflected in each of the characters?
  • How does the theme develop or change from the beginning of the play until the end?

Students consider what symbols connect with these themes. Add their findings to the butcher’s paper. Students write an analytical essay deconstructing the Themes and Symbols in the play. Discuss with students the definition of the cognitive verb, ‘analysis’. Review with students, analytical paragraph writing structure such as PEAL, TEEPEE etc.

Students respond to the following questions in an analytical paragraph:

  • How have symbols been incorporated to create meaning in the play?
  • What themes have been explored within the play and how do they change and develop?
  • How do symbols and themes work together to create meaning in the play Amphibian?

This activity could form a larger part of an assessable task by completing an Imaginative Response to Literature: Short Story Transformation. (Sample Task 3). Example of a similar task

Padlet

Create

Refugees in Australia face prejudice and discrimination mostly due to preconceived opinions or ignorance towards them. How is this true in the relationship between Chloe and Hassan? How is this reflected in the play’s symbols? To further develop their response, students draw on their research and investigation into the symbols, especially axolotls and amphibians completed in the Critique section above.

Students to review their word bank and review the definitions for: preconceived; prejudice; discrimination; and ignorance.

Discuss in table groups how the play has assisted their understanding of the challenges that a refugee faces when fleeing their own country. Students may record these answers using an online resource such as Padlet.

Using the Across Land and Sea: Muzafar’s True Story interactive platform, introduce students to the story of Afghan refugee, Muzafar Ali. Students share with the class any new information they learnt from the story about the plight of refugees.

Students are to write a persuasive essay that encourages people to let go of their own prejudices and preconceived ideas about refugees. Students are to use the definition of the words, examples from the play and Muzafar’s story as reasoning and evidence to support their points and ideas.

Padlet

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Analyse and explain the use of symbols, icons and myth in still and moving images and how these augment meaning (ACELA1560)

Identify how vocabulary choices contribute to specificity, abstraction and stylistic effectiveness (ACELA1561)

Interpret and compare how representations of people and culture in literary texts are drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts (ACELT1633)

Present an argument about a literary text based on initial impressions and subsequent analysis of the whole text (ACELT1771)

Explore and reflect on personal understanding of the world and significant human experience gained from interpreting various representations of life matters in texts (ACELT1635)

Investigate and experiment with the use and effect of extended metaphor, metonymy, allegory, icons, myths and symbolism in texts, for example poetry, short films, graphic novels, and plays on similar themes (ACELT1637)

Use interaction skills to present and discuss an idea and to influence and engage an audience by selecting persuasive language, varying voice tone, pitch, and pace, and using elements such as music and sound effects (ACELY1811)

Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations, selecting and sequencing appropriate content and multimodal elements for aesthetic and playful purposes (ACELY1741)

Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that present a point of view and advance or illustrate arguments, including texts that integrate visual, print and/or audio features (ACELY1746)



Year 5 and 6 Drama

Prepare

Year 5 and 6 Achievement Standard Addressed

Receptive modes (listening, reading and viewing)

By the end of Year 6, students explain how dramatic action and meaning is communicated in drama they make, perform and view. They explain how drama from different cultures, times and places influences their own drama making.

Students work collaboratively as they use the elements of drama to shape character, voice and movement in improvisation, playbuilding and performances of devised and scripted drama for audiences.

Year 5 and 6 Drama content descriptions addressed

Explore dramatic action, empathy and space in improvisations, playbuilding and scripted drama to develop characters and situations (ACADRM035)

Develop skills and techniques of voice and movement to create character, mood and atmosphere and focus dramatic action (ACADRM036)

Rehearse and perform devised and scripted drama that develops narrative, drives dramatic tension, and uses dramatic symbol, performance styles and design elements to share community and cultural stories and engage an audience (ACADRM037)

Explain how the elements of drama and production elements communicate meaning by comparing drama from different social, cultural and historical contexts, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander drama (ACADRR038) 



Before the Play

ACTIVITY

This unit includes activities and assessment linked to The Arts: Drama, Australian Curriculum across Years 5 and 6. Teachers can choose to use individual activities to complement existing drama units or complete the entire unit of work with their students.

The learning activities can provide a structure to view and explore Amphibian with your students. They will provide opportunity for students to explore the play resources independently as well as generate class discussion and sharing of interpretations of the play.

Tune-in

In pairs, invite students using their prior knowledge, to define the following terms aiming to identify the similarities and differences between the terms. Students will use Padlet to submit their responses to be projected in the classroom in real time.

  • Migrant
  • Refugee
  • Asylum seeker
  • Internally displaced person

As a class, students discuss any difficulty they may have had in defining the terms. Ask students to now research the definitions (see Suggested Resource Links) comparing their original definitions.

Padlet

Refugee Council: definitions

Unrefugees: refugee or migrant, which is right?

Explore and Apply

Using Across Land and Sea: Muzafar’s True Story interactive platform, introduce students to the story of Afghan refugee, Muzafar Ali. Students share with the class any new information they learnt from the story about the plight of refugees.

As a class, students read the themes evident in Amphibian (see themes section of this resource) and identify which themes are also present in Muzafar’s story. Individually, students write a diary entry in role as a person featured in the Muzafar’s story focusing on one or two of the themes identified. Students share diary entries using Touch and Talk (students close their eyes and teacher taps a student on the shoulder who opens their eyes and reads aloud their diary entry and then closes their eyes until all students have shared their entry).

Critique

As a class, students read the play’s synopsis (see the synopsis section of this resource). Drawing on their knowledge from Tune-in, Explore and Apply and Create activities above, ask students to brainstorm why they think the play is called, Amphibian. Students will use Padlet to submit their responses to be projected in the classroom in real time.

Students then write an individual written response incorporating points from the class’ brainstorming and their current knowledge of the play, that explains their understanding of the relevance of the play’s title. Encourage students to research a definition for ‘amphibian’ and further investigate what is unique about an axolotl to draw conclusions about why it is a significant symbol in the play. Students share their responses in small groups.

Padlet

Create

Ask students to individually read the play’s character descriptions (see character section of this resource). Explain to students ‘relationships’ is a pivotal theme in Amphibian (see themes section of this resource) and most relationships in the play occur in pairs. Working with a partner and using the character descriptions, ask students to identify the possible pairing of relationships that occur in the play. Students will use Padlet to submit their responses to be projected in the classroom in real time.

Padlet

Explain to students another theme is ‘choices’ (see themes section of this resource) and was a reason for playwright, Duncan Graham to write the play. He states, “The inspiration (to write the play) came from conversations with Sasha Zahra, the director of the work. We wanted to create a piece that explored the idea of choice in young people.”

Working with their partner, ask students to choose one of the pairings of characters previously identified by the class and devise, rehearse and present a short scene that focuses on the theme of choice. Remind students to consider the following when shaping their work:

  • the meaning they intend to convey to the audience;
  • their use of voice, movement and sustained characterisation to engage the audience;
  • the symbolic use of simple props and costumes to convey character and place;
  • the manipulation of the Elements of Drama especially tension, time, situation, space and relationships to heighten dramatic meaning.

After each performance, ask students to identify what emotion was most strongly felt as they viewed the scene and explain how this was achieved by the actors through their manipulation of the Elements of Drama, design elements and expressive skills.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Explore dramatic action, empathy and space in improvisations, playbuilding and scripted drama to develop characters and situations (ACADRM035)

Develop skills and techniques of voice and movement to create character, mood and atmosphere and focus dramatic action (ACADRM036)

Rehearse and perform devised and scripted drama that develops narrative, drives dramatic tension, and uses dramatic symbol, performance styles and design elements to share community and cultural stories and engage an audience (ACADRM037)

Explain how the elements of drama and production elements communicate meaning by comparing drama from different social, cultural and historical contexts, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander drama (ACADRR038) 



After the Play

ACTIVITY

Tune-in

Students play the game, Streets and Lanes. Teacher sets students up in a grid formation with an arm’s length distance between each student. Teacher nominates one student to be the police and one student to be a robber. The police will be chasing the robber through the streets and lanes of the city symbolised by the students standing in the grid. As the robber is being chased teacher calls “streets” and all students in the grid face the front of the room and hold both their arms out stretched touching the fingertips of the student beside them in the grid. When the teacher calls, “lanes” the students in the grid all turn to their left and so the grid changes from running horizontally to vertically. The police and robber cannot run through the outstretched arms and therefore must be ready to change direction quickly. Teacher can also call ‘posts’ when the students in the grid all drop their arms allowing police and robber to run in many different directions. Students begin in ‘street’ formation and robber and police place themselves apart from each other in the grid. Game begins. If the robber is caught, 2 new students become the police and robber.

Critique

At the end of the game students are asked what Elements of Drama were evident in the game:

  • Characters/roles: police and robber
  • Place: city streets
  • Tension: the police chasing the robber
  • Movement: varying pace and direction to outsmart each other
  • Symbol: the students symbolising the city streets
Explore and Apply

Students identify and explain when in Amphibian there were relationships that felt like one character was having to escape or leave another character or situation. For example:

  • Hassan and Man from Taliban
  • Hassan and Chloe
  • Chloe trying to escape her new life in Adelaide
  • Chloe and Eleni
  • Hassan and his mother at the bus stop
  • Delara and Hassan running away from the Taliban
  • Hassan and Janet
  • Hassan and his father

Students explain how Streets and Lanes might be played using one of these combinations of characters. Students choose one of the character combinations and decide what could the streets and lanes now represent? Do they need to be renamed? Where is the place? What is the tension? Who are the characters? (they don’t have to be human – could be an idea or place). What new rules or tactics may need to be introduced to suit the situation chosen?

Two students are nominated to take on the characters and play the game. Again, if the character is caught two new students are enrolled. Students try other combinations of characters. To further add tension to the game students in role could switch who was chasing and who was escaping.

Students decide which combination was the most engaging. Set up three graffiti walls (three large pieces of butcher’s paper either pinned to a wall or place on the floor); one for each character in the chosen combination and one for students to document their emotional response to the game. On the character walls, each student silently writes down what emotions the character would have felt during the game. On the final wall, they are to write what emotions they felt watching the game being played around them, particularly if the original character escaping was switched and was now chasing the other character. Students read the graffiti walls in silence. Students discuss which comments and thoughts stood out to them from the graffiti walls and why.

Create

Two large pieces of butcher’s paper are placed in the centre of the space and students are assisted to draw an outline of a student on each piece. In the middle of one of the outline teacher writes ‘Hassan’ and on the other, ‘Delara’. Explain to students this activity will be based at the time when Hassan and Delara both live in Afghanistan.

Drawing on their knowledge from the play, students write in the inside of the outlines what the character thinks or feels. On the outside of the character, students write anything they know about the physical appearance of the character including clothing, posture, walking including heaviness or lightness in their step, their rhythm etc. Students discuss the responses and add new responses derived from the discussion.

Working with a partner, students find space to work and a chair or a drama block per pair. Student nominate which character they want to play: Hassan or Delara. In preparation for the role and to gain an understanding of their character’s physical and vocal qualities, they play Hot Seat with their partner. Using ideas from the previous activity, one student will be playing the role of audience and ask questions while the other student will go into their role:

  • Student playing audience sits in front of chair/block.
  • Student entering role stands off to the side; students enters the space as themselves; looks at themselves in an imaginary mirror facing out to their audience and adjusts their hair or clothes; sits on the block/chair; makes eye contact with their audience and leaves the space again off to the side.
  • Student off to the side takes up the physical qualities of their role; repeats the above sequence but now in role including the mirror; once they take a seat on the block or chair the student audience member asks questions of the character to assist the student in role gain more of an understanding of the role physically, vocally and their story. Students consider their use of facial expression, gesture and heaviness or lightness of movement. Student in role begins to find the voice of the character considering pace, pitch, volume and rhythm. Questions could include:
    • What is your name?
    • How old are you?
    • Who are your friends?
    • Where do you live?
    • What are you afraid of?
  • Once the student leaves the acting space, they drop role. Students reverse the activity with the student playing Hassan playing hot seat while the other student asks questions.

Students remain in pairs and will be developing the scene (only partially seen in the play) when Hassan and Delara are playing, venture too far out of town and Hassan is captured by the Taliban. As a class students discuss what could be included in the scene. For example:

  • Where might it be set?
  • What are the characters playing or talking about?
  • How did they end up venturing out further than they were allowed?
  • How might the scene begin and end?
  • What is the tension in the scene?

Students in pairs then devise and rehearse the scene ensuring they use the physical and vocal knowledge they gained from Hot Seat. Students perform their scenes to the class for feedback and use the feedback to refine their scenes.

In role as Delara or Hassan, students write a diary entry that is written the day Hassan is taken by the Taliban explaining how it happened and how the character is feeling. Students read their diary entries using Touch and Talk (all students close their eyes and teacher taps a student on the shoulder who opens their eyes, reads their diary entry aloud, closes their eyes and repeats the process until all students have read their entries).

In their pairs, students devise and rehearse a performance that begins with the scene they have previously created and ends with the two diary entries being read. The entries can be read separately, or students can speak excerpts at a time to create a ‘chorus’ effect. Students also consider how they vary their voice (projection, dynamics, pace, pause and pitch) and their use of movement (heaviness or lightness of movement, speed, stillness and levels) to create and communicate the shift in mood from the scene to reading the diary entries. Students are to also consider their use of space to reflect the shift in situation from best friends playing to being separated.

To help them shape students identify what techniques were used to transition the scenes in Amphibian. To further develop their understanding students read information from Ian Moorhead, the play’s Composer and Sound Designer and Set & Costume Designer, Meg Wilson (see design section of this resource). Students experiment with the techniques and select and incorporate some of the techniques into their own scene transitioning fluently from the scene to the diary entry. For example:

  • Space
  • Expressive skills (voice & movement) of character
  • Mood
  • Lighting, Sound & AV
  • Symbolic use of props & costumes
  • Simple Set design

To enhance their use of costumes, students read information about and view sketches by Amphibian’s set and costume designer, Meg Wilson (see design section of this resource).  Considering her use of design elements (colour, fabric, texture, shape and space) students design a costume for Hussan or Delara that they would wear in their scene. Students consider the following from Meg Wilson as they create the designs:

When creating designs for characters consider the colour palette of the set design and where the costumes should blend in or stand out from the background. The actors may need to move freely so design the costumes accordingly. Also, think about the texture of the fabric and what that might look like under theatre lighting. Completing research may also be required if the era or country is not familiar. For example, referring to photographs of children in Afghanistan if designing costumes for Hassan and Delara when they were younger. Consider designing costumes that locate them at school or at play in their regular clothes and how the design reflects their age.

Students perform their piece and students as audience discuss:

  • What they believe the actors intended the audience to experience and understand from the drama?
  • How was movement and voice used to portray a convincing character?
  • What techniques were used to transition the scene and how successfully were the transitions managed?

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Explore dramatic action, empathy and space in improvisations, playbuilding and scripted drama to develop characters and situations (ACADRM035)

Develop skills and techniques of voice and movement to create character, mood and atmosphere and focus dramatic action (ACADRM036)

Rehearse and perform devised and scripted drama that develops narrative, drives dramatic tension, and uses dramatic symbol, performance styles and design elements to share community and cultural stories and engage an audience (ACADRM037)

Explain how the elements of drama and production elements communicate meaning by comparing drama from different social, cultural and historical contexts, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander drama (ACADRR038) 



Year 7 and 8 Drama

Prepare

Year 7 and 8 Achievement Standard Addressed

Receptive modes (listening, reading and viewing)

By the end of Year 8, students identify and analyse how the elements of drama are used, combined and manipulated in different styles. They apply this knowledge in drama they make and perform. They evaluate how they and others from different cultures, times and places communicate meaning and intent through drama.

Students collaborate to devise, interpret and perform drama. They manipulate the elements of drama, narrative and structure to control and communicate meaning. They apply different performance styles and conventions to convey status, relationships and intentions. They use performance skills and design elements to shape and focus theatrical effect for an audience.

Year 7 and 8 Drama content descriptions addressed

Combine the elements of drama in devised and scripted drama to explore and develop issues, ideas and themes (ACADRM040)

Develop roles and characters consistent with situation, dramatic forms and performance styles to convey status, relationships and intentions (ACADRM041)

Plan, structure and rehearse drama, exploring ways to communicate and refine dramatic meaning for theatrical effect (ACADRM042)

Develop and refine expressive skills in voice and movement to communicate ideas and dramatic action in different performance styles and conventions, including contemporary Australian drama styles developed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dramatists (ACADRM043)

Perform devised and scripted drama maintaining commitment to role (ACADRM044)

Analyse how the elements of drama have been combined in devised and scripted drama to convey different forms, performance styles and dramatic meaning (ACADRR045)

Identify and connect specific features and purposes of drama from contemporary and past times to explore viewpoints and enrich their drama making, starting with drama in Australia and including drama of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (ACADRR046)



Before the Play

ACTIVITY

This unit includes activities and assessment linked to The Arts: Drama, Australian Curriculum across Years 7 and 8. Teachers can choose to use individual activities to complement existing drama units or complete the entire unit of work with their students.

The learning activities can provide a structure to view and explore Amphibian with your students. They will provide opportunity for students to explore the play resources independently as well as generate class discussion and sharing of interpretations of the play.

Tune-in

In pairs, invite students using their prior knowledge, to define the following terms aiming to identify the similarities and differences between the terms. Students will use Padlet to submit their responses to be projected in the classroom in real time.

  • Migrant
  • Refugee
  • Asylum seeker
  • Internally displaced person

As a class, students discuss any difficulty they may have had in defining the terms. Ask students to now research the definitions (see Suggested Resource Links) comparing their original definitions.

Padlet

Refugee Council: definitions

Refugee or migrant, which is right?

Explore and Apply

Using Across Land and Sea: Muzafar’s True Story interactive platform, introduce students to the story of Afghan refugee, Muzafar Ali. Students share with the class any new information they learnt from the story about the plight of refugees.

As a class, students read the themes evident in Amphibian (see themes section of this resource) and identify which themes are also present in Muzafar’s story. Individually, students write a diary entry in role as a person featured in the Muzafar’s story focusing on one or two of the themes identified. Students share diary entries using Touch and Talk (students close their eyes and teacher taps a student on the shoulder who opens their eyes and reads aloud their diary entry and then closes their eyes until all students have shared their entry).

Critique

As a class, students read the play’s synopsis (see the synopsis section of this resource). Drawing on their knowledge from Tune-in, Explore and Apply and Create activities above, ask students to brainstorm why they think the play is called, Amphibian. Students will use Padlet to submit their responses to be projected in the classroom in real time.

Students then write an individual written response incorporating points from the class’ brainstorming and their current knowledge of the play, that explains their understanding of the relevance of the play’s title. Encourage students to research a definition for ‘amphibian’ and further investigate what is unique about an axolotl to draw conclusions about why it is a significant symbol in the play. Students share their responses in small groups and then as a class.

Padlet

Create

Ask students to individually read the play’s character descriptions (see character section of this resource). Explain to students ‘relationships’ is a pivotal theme in Amphibian (see themes section of this resource) and most relationships in the play occur in pairs. Working with a partner and using the character descriptions, ask students to identify the possible pairing of relationships that occur in the play. Students will use Padlet to submit their responses to be projected in the classroom in real time.

Padlet

Explain to students another theme is ‘choices’ (see themes section of this resource) and was a reason for playwright, Duncan Graham to write the play. He states, “The inspiration (to write the play) came from conversations with Sasha Zahra, the director of the work. We wanted to create a piece that explored the idea of choice in young people.”

Working with their partner, ask students to choose one of the pairings of characters previously identified by the class and devise, rehearse and present a short scene that focuses on the theme of choice. Remind students to consider the following when shaping their work:

  • the meaning they intend to convey to the audience;
  • their use of voice, movement and sustained characterisation to engage the audience;
  • the symbolic use of simple props and costumes to convey character and place;
  • the manipulation of the Elements of Drama especially tension, time, situation, space and relationships to heighten dramatic meaning.

After each performance, ask students to identify what emotion was most strongly felt as they viewed the scene and explain how this was achieved by the actors through their manipulation of the Elements of Drama, design elements and expressive skills.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Combine the elements of drama in devised and scripted drama to explore and develop issues, ideas and themes (ACADRM040)

Develop roles and characters consistent with situation, dramatic forms and performance styles to convey status, relationships and intentions (ACADRM041)

Plan, structure and rehearse drama, exploring ways to communicate and refine dramatic meaning for theatrical effect (ACADRM042)

Develop and refine expressive skills in voice and movement to communicate ideas and dramatic action in different performance styles and conventions, including contemporary Australian drama styles developed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dramatists (ACADRM043)

Perform devised and scripted drama maintaining commitment to role (ACADRM044)

Analyse how the elements of drama have been combined in devised and scripted drama to convey different forms, performance styles and dramatic meaning (ACADRR045)



After the Play

ACTIVITY

Tune-in

In Amphibian there are many pairings of characters. Sometimes these characters are seen by the audience and sometimes the characters are only spoken about (e.g. Eleni). Students name as many pairings they can remember from the play:

  • Hassan and Janet
  • Eleni and Chloe
  • Mother/Father of Chloe
  • Taliban man and Hassan
  • Hassan and his mother
  • Delara and Hassan
  • Hassan and his uncle
  • Rhadika and Hassan

In each of the pairings students identify which characters have the higher and lower status and explain their reasons. Students revisit the play’s themes (see themes section of this resource) and identify which themes from the play best reflect the pairings.

Students discuss how can characters in a scene convey their status. For example:

  • use of voice (pace, pitch, pause, volume, tone, silence and contrast of these techniques) and movement (including gesture, facial expression, stillness, posture);
  • use of space (including proximity to other characters, audience and objects; personal space the character uses; levels).
Explore and Apply

Working with a partner, students choose one of the pairings and nominate which character they would like to develop and perform. In preparation for the role and gain an understanding of their character’s physical and vocal qualities they play Hot Seat with their partner:

  • One student will be playing the role of audience and ask questions while the other student will go into their role:
    • Students find space to work and set up a block in the space. Student playing audience sits in front of chair/block.
    • Student entering role stands off to the side; students enters the space as themselves; looks at themselves in an imaginary mirror facing out to their audience and adjusts their hair or clothes; sits on the block/chair; makes eye contact with their audience and leaves the space again off to the side.
    • Student off to the side takes up the physical qualities of their role; repeats the above sequence but now in role including the mirror; once they take a seat on the block or chair the student audience member asks questions of the character to assist the student in role gain more of an understanding of the role physically, vocally and their story. Student in role considers their use of facial expression, gesture and heaviness or lightness of movement and begins to find the voice of the character considering pace, pitch, volume and rhythm. Questions could include:
      • What is your name?
      • How old are you?
      • Who are your friends?
      • Where do you live?
      • What are you afraid of?
    • Once the student leaves the acting space, they drop role. Students playing audience now steps into role and repeats the process.

Drawing on their knowledge of their characters and the play, students decide on place, situation and tension for their scene considering the dramatic meaning they want to convey to their audience. One character must have high status and one have low status. Students rehearse the scene beginning with a freeze frame taking up a position that conveys their character’s status (each actor is to be sure they know the other actor’s position). Students improvise the scene using their expressive skills (voice and movement) and by the end of the scene the status will have swapped between the characters and as a result at the end of the scene will be in the other character’s original position. Students evaluate their own work analysing how effectively the transition occurred and refine their scene where necessary. Students share their work with the class.

The audience after each scene discusses and evaluates:

  • How effectively the status was changed between the characters through use of voice, movement and space.
  • What dramatic meaning was conveyed to the audience?
Create

Invite students to define the term, ‘non-linear’ story line and where was it was evident in the performance. Engage students in a discussion considering:

  • Why the playwright used this convention?
  • What impact did it have on you as an audience member?
  • How did the director and actors manage this non-linear story line transitioning fluidly from one scene to the next changing mood, character and situation? For example:
    • Elements of Drama: space & mood
    • Expressive skills (voice & movement) of character
  • What design elements were used to assist the transitions, for example set design and symbolic use of props and costumes? To further develop their understanding students read information from set and costume designer, Meg Wilson (see design section of this resource).
  • How was lighting/sound/AV manipulated to also assist the transitions? To further develop their understanding students read information from Ian Moorhead, the play’s composer and sound designer (see design section of this resource).

Working with their partner from the Explore and Apply activity, students join with another pair to work with that complement their scene e.g.: addresses similar themes. Students will now take on the role of actors, directors and designers:

  • Refine their scene using class feedback. Each pair performs their refined scenes for each other and identify the overall intended meaning of these two scenes (consider the themes of the play). Decide which scene would be best shown first to then transition to the next scene.
  • Students create a performance consisting of the two scenes and a transition, experimenting with some of the following to create their work:
    • the Elements of Drama:
      • time (pace and actual shift in time)
      • focus (especially audience focus i.e. audience focus – what do you want your audience to focus on at different times throughout the performance especially during the transition?)
      • tension
    • directorial techniques especially use of space including proximity to other characters, audience and objects; personal space the character uses; levels to convey character status and shift of status between characters
    • design elements and technologies including symbolic use of props & costumes and set design, lighting/sound/AV (if available)
  • During the rehearsal process, students show their work to another group for feedback or students can record their own work and watch it back to refine.
  • As students rehearse their work students analyse and evaluate the structural choices made documenting their process in records such as journals, blogs and video or audio recording (with consent of participants).

Students perform their work to the class. Students respond to each performance reflecting on how effectively the transition was used to change mood, character and atmosphere and maintain audience engagement.

Critique

Each student chooses a performance from the previous Create activity other than their own and write a short response to each question supporting ideas with specific examples:

  • What was the performance’s intended meaning? (consider the themes that may be present and that the scenes were originally based on character status and shift in status between characters)
  • How successfully did the directors use the space to convey this intended meaning?
  • Identify what techniques (i.e.; time, focus, symbolic use of props & costumes; set design; lighting and/or sound) were used to transition the two scenes?
    • Analyse and evaluate how two of these techniques were used to maintain fluidity and also allow for a shift in situation?
  • How successfully did the actors use the following to convey the intended meaning?
    • voice (pace, pitch, pause, volume, tone, silence and contrast of these techniques)
    • movement (including gesture, facial expression, stillness, posture)
    • sustained role

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Combine the elements of drama in devised and scripted drama to explore and develop issues, ideas and themes (ACADRM040)

Develop roles and characters consistent with situation, dramatic forms and performance styles to convey status, relationships and intentions (ACADRM041)

Plan, structure and rehearse drama, exploring ways to communicate and refine dramatic meaning for theatrical effect (ACADRM042)

Develop and refine expressive skills in voice and movement to communicate ideas and dramatic action in different performance styles and conventions, including contemporary Australian drama styles developed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dramatists (ACADRM043)

Perform devised and scripted drama maintaining commitment to role (ACADRM044)

Analyse how the elements of drama have been combined in devised and scripted drama to convey different forms, performance styles and dramatic meaning (ACADRR045)



Year 9 and 10 Drama

Prepare

Year 9 and 10 Achievement Standard Addressed

Receptive modes (listening, reading and viewing)

By the end of Year 10, students analyse the elements of drama, forms and performance styles and evaluate meaning and aesthetic effect in drama they devise, interpret, perform and view. They use their experiences of drama practices from different cultures, places and times to evaluate drama from different viewpoints.

Students develop and sustain different roles and characters for given circumstances and intentions. They perform devised and scripted drama in different forms, styles and performance spaces. They collaborate with others to plan, direct, produce, rehearse and refine performances. They select and use the elements of drama, narrative and structure in directing and acting to engage audiences. They refine performance and expressive skills in voice and movement to convey dramatic action.

Year 9 and 10 Drama content descriptions addressed

Improvise with the elements of drama and narrative structure to develop ideas, and explore subtext to shape devised and scripted drama (ACADRM047)

Manipulate combinations of the elements of drama to develop and convey the physical and psychological aspects of roles and characters consistent with intentions in dramatic forms and performance styles (ACADRM048)

Practise and refine the expressive capacity of voice and movement to communicate ideas and dramatic action in a range of forms, styles and performance spaces, including exploration of those developed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dramatists (ACADRM049)

Structure drama to engage an audience through manipulation of dramatic action, forms and performance styles and by using design elements (ACADRM050)

Perform devised and scripted drama making deliberate artistic choices and shaping design elements to unify dramatic meaning for an audience (ACADRM051)

Evaluate how the elements of drama, forms and performance styles in devised and scripted drama convey meaning and aesthetic effect (ACADRR052)



Before the Play

ACTIVITY

This unit includes activities and assessment linked to The Arts: Drama, Australian Curriculum across Years 9 and 10. Teachers can choose to use individual activities to complement existing drama units or complete the entire unit of work with their students.

The learning activities can provide a structure to view and explore Amphibian with your students. They will provide opportunity for students to explore the play resources independently as well as generate class discussion and sharing of interpretations of the play.

Tune-in

In pairs, invite students using their prior knowledge, to define the following terms aiming to identify the similarities and differences between the terms. Students use Padlet to submit their responses to be projected in the classroom in real time.

  • Migrant
  • Refugee
  • Asylum seeker
  • Internally displaced person

As a class, students discuss any difficulty they may have had in defining the terms. Ask students to now research the definitions (see suggested resource links) comparing their original definitions.

Padlet

Refugee Council

Refugee or Migrant, which is right?

Explore and Apply

Using Across Land and Sea: Muzafar’s True Story interactive platform, introduce students to the story of Afghan refugee, Muzafar Ali. Students share with the class any new information they learnt from the story about the plight of refugees.

As a class, students read the themes evident in Amphibian (see themes section of this resource) and identify which themes are also present in Muzafar’s story. Individually, students write a diary entry in role as a person featured in the Muzafar’s story focusing on one or two of the themes identified. Students share diary entries using Touch and Talk (students close their eyes and teacher taps a student on the shoulder who opens their eyes and reads aloud their diary entry and then closes their eyes until all students have shared their entry).

Critique

As a class, students read the play’s synopsis (see the synopsis section of this resource). Drawing on their knowledge from Tune-in, Explore and Apply and Create activities above, ask students to brainstorm why they think the play is called, Amphibian. Students will use Padlet to submit their responses to be projected in the classroom in real time.

Students then write an individual written response incorporating points from the class’ brainstorming and their current knowledge of the play, that explains their understanding of the relevance of the play’s title. Encourage students to research a definition for ‘amphibian’ and further investigate what is unique about an axolotl to draw conclusions about why it is a significant symbol in the play. Students share their responses in small groups and then as a class.

Padlet

Create

Ask students to individually read the play’s character descriptions (see character section of this resource). Explain to students ‘relationships’ is a pivotal theme in Amphibian (see themes section of this resource) and most relationships in the play occur in pairs. Working with a partner and using the character descriptions, ask students to identify the possible pairing of relationships that occur in the play. Students will use Padlet to submit their responses to be projected in the classroom in real time.

Padlet

Explain to students another theme is ‘choices’ (see themes section of this resource) and was a reason for playwright, Duncan Graham to write the play. He states, “The inspiration (to write the play) came from conversations with Sasha Zahra, the director of the work. We wanted to create a piece that explored the idea of choice in young people.”

Working with their partner, ask students to choose one of the pairings of characters previously identified by the class and devise, rehearse and present a short scene that focuses on the theme of choice. Remind students to consider the following when shaping their work:

  • the meaning they intend to convey to the audience;
  • their use of voice, movement and sustained characterisation to engage the audience;
  • the symbolic use of simple props and costumes to convey character and place;
  • the manipulation of the Elements of Drama especially tension, mood, space and relationships to heighten dramatic meaning.

After each performance, ask students to identify what emotion was most strongly felt as they viewed the scene and explain how this was achieved by the actors through their manipulation of the Elements of Drama, design elements and expressive skills.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Improvise with the elements of drama and narrative structure to develop ideas, and explore subtext to shape devised and scripted drama (ACADRM047)

Manipulate combinations of the elements of drama to develop and convey the physical and psychological aspects of roles and characters consistent with intentions in dramatic forms and performance styles (ACADRM048)

Practise and refine the expressive capacity of voice and movement to communicate ideas and dramatic action in a range of forms, styles and performance spaces, including exploration of those developed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dramatists (ACADRM049)

Structure drama to engage an audience through manipulation of dramatic action, forms and performance styles and by using design elements (ACADRM050)

Perform devised and scripted drama making deliberate artistic choices and shaping design elements to unify dramatic meaning for an audience (ACADRM051)

Evaluate how the elements of drama, forms and performance styles in devised and scripted drama convey meaning and aesthetic effect (ACADRR052)



After the Play

ACTIVITY

Tune-in

Students review the themes evident in Amphibian (see themes section of this resource). Ask students which themes might be present in the final unseen scene of the play when Hassan and Chloe re-enter the classroom and explain to Mrs Damascus what happened to her wallet.

As a class, students improvise and develop this unseen scene. Two students are nominated to play Chloe and Hassan and stand on opposite sides of the classroom with performance space between them. A desk and 3 chairs (1 chair behind desk for Mrs Damascus and 2 chairs in front of desk for Chloe and Hassan to use) are set up in the performance space. Remaining students are divided in half and sit near Hassan or Chloe; these students will assist their designated character through the scene. The teacher plays Mrs Damascus.

At pivotal moments in the scene teacher will call “eyes closed” and using Touch and Talk (teacher taps student on shoulder, keep eyes closed and speak their thoughts) students are invited to respond using one word or a phrase that describes what the character is thinking or feeling at that very moment in the scene.  Teacher links these responses to the term, ‘subtext’; that is:

  • what the character is thinking or feeling in the scene that that is not spoken in the text;
  • why the text is spoken;
  • the hidden meaning and influences how the character uses voice and movement to convey meaning.

Students playing Chloe and Hassan can use these thoughts and feelings to influence their acting when the scene comes to life again as the teacher calls, “eyes open”.

All students are also invited during the scene to call “freeze” and the character and students assisting them regroup and discuss how the character may change tactics in the scene to gain their desired outcome. The student playing the character may change with another student who then steps in as the character as the scenes restarts.

Before the scene begins students as a class identify the scene’s given circumstances:

  • What has just occurred before this scene begins?
  • What of significance is occurring elsewhere?
  • What is about to happen?

To begin the scene, students playing Chloe and Hassan set up a freeze frame in the acting space to show them about to enter their classroom. Teacher gives character playing Hassan the opening line, ““It (the class axolotl) saw everything, it knows the truth” to begin the scene. Teacher steps into role.

Teacher calls “end scene and close eyes” when the scene has come to a natural conclusion. Using Touch and Talk teacher asks each student to describe what their character is feeling or thinking at this time.

Students discuss:

  • What themes were evident in the scene and how were they conveyed?
  • What emotions did they feel during the scene watching the action or when playing a character?
  • What Elements of Drama and directorial decisions were used successfully by the actors to convey the relationships between the characters?
  • For those students who performed, when did the subtext revealed through Touch and Talk influence their decisions as a character?
Explore and Apply

Working with a partner and reflecting on the outcome of the previous scene students devise and perform for the class a short scene that would follow this scene. The character pairings students choose could include:

  • Eleni and Chloe
  • Hassan and Chloe
  • Hassan and his uncle
  • Chloe and one of her parents

In preparation for the scene students consider the following:

  • Given circumstances
  • Subtext
  • What themes might be drawn upon to heighten dramatic meaning – what is your intended meaning for the scene to convey to your audience?
  • Use of voice and movement to convey meaning. Students play ‘Hot Seat’ in their pairs to explore this further:
    • Drawing on knowledge gained from the previous activity, one student will be playing the role of audience and ask questions while the other student step into their role:
      • Students find space to work and set up a block in the space. Student playing audience sits in front of chair/block.
      • Student entering role stands off to the side; student enters the space as themselves; looks at themselves in an imaginary mirror facing out to their audience and adjusts their hair or clothes; sits on the block/chair; makes eye contact with their audience and leaves the space again off to the side.
      • Student off to the side takes up the physical qualities of their role; repeats the above sequence including interacting with the mirror but now in role; once they take a seat on the block or chair the student audience member asks questions of the character to assist the student in role gain more of an understanding of the role physically, vocally and their story. Student in role considers use of facial expression, gesture and heaviness or lightness of movement and begins to find the voice of the character considering pace, pitch, volume and rhythm. Questions could include:
        • What is your name?
        • How old are you?
        • Who are your friends?
        • Where do you live?
        • What are you afraid of?
      • Once the student leaves the acting space, they drop role. Students playing audience now steps into role and repeats the process.

Students rehearse scenes applying the knowledge they have gained about their character through playing Hot Seat and perform the scene to the class. After each performance, audience discusses the use of expressive skills to convey character; evidence of given circumstances to begin the scene; and use of subtext to heighten dramatic meaning.

Students choose one of the scenes they viewed and write a short response to the following questions with specific examples to support their ideas:

  • What emotion was most strongly felt as you viewed the scene?
  • What themes were evident in the scene?
  • How effectively did the actors use the space (particularly the physical proximity between characters) to convey the relationship between the characters?
  • How effectively did the actors use voice (pace, tone, pause and volume) and movement (gesture, pace, facial expression) and gesture to heighten the tension within the scene?
Create

Students discuss how the transitions between scenes in Amphibian used directing techniques, Design elements and technologies to shift the situation and maintain audience focus. Examples include:

  • Elements of Drama: Space and Mood
  • Expressive skills (voice and movement) of character
  • Lighting, Sound and AV
  • Symbolic use of props and costumes
  • Set design

To further develop their understanding students read information from Ian Moorhead, the play’s composer and sound designer, and set and costume designer, Meg Wilson (see design section of this resource).

Working with their partner from the Explore and Apply activity, students join with another pair to work with, that would complement or provide a strong contrast to their scene. Students will now take on the role of actors, directors and designers:

  • Each pair perform their previous scenes for each other and identify the overall intended meaning for these two scenes (consider the themes of the play). Decide which scene would be best shown first to then transition to the next scene.
  • Experimenting with space, symbolic of props and costumes, staging, expressive skills and lighting, sound and AV (if available) students create a transition between the two scenes to maintain dramatic meaning and audience focus but also establish a new situation and mood.
  • Students perform both scenes with transition to class.

Students as an audience identify, analyse and evaluate how effectively the Elements of Drama, directing techniques, design elements and technologies were used to maintain fluidity and focus but allow for a shift in mood and situation.

Critique

After viewing Amphibian students write an extended response to the following providing detailed examples from the performance to support ideas:

  • Identify the intended dramatic meaning by the director and playwright. Consider the themes listed in the Study Guide to help shape your response.
  • Analyse and evaluate how effectively this intended meaning was conveyed to the audience considering:
    • How effectively did the director manipulate the space (particularly the physical proximity between characters) to convey the relationship between the characters?
    • How successfully did the actors portray believable characters through use of:
      • voice (pace, tone, pause and volume);
      • movement (gesture, pace, facial expression) and
      • sustained focus?
    • How successfully did the design elements and technologies impact on the dramatic meaning by using costumes, props, sound, lighting etc?

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Improvise with the elements of drama and narrative structure to develop ideas, and explore subtext to shape devised and scripted drama (ACADRM047)

Manipulate combinations of the elements of drama to develop and convey the physical and psychological aspects of roles and characters consistent with intentions in dramatic forms and performance styles (ACADRM048)

Practise and refine the expressive capacity of voice and movement to communicate ideas and dramatic action in a range of forms, styles and performance spaces, including exploration of those developed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dramatists (ACADRM049)

Structure drama to engage an audience through manipulation of dramatic action, forms and performance styles and by using design elements (ACADRM050)

Perform devised and scripted drama making deliberate artistic choices and shaping design elements to unify dramatic meaning for an audience (ACADRM051)

Evaluate how the elements of drama, forms and performance styles in devised and scripted drama convey meaning and aesthetic effect (ACADRR052)



Acknowledgements

Produced by Windmill Theatre Co. Developed and compiled by Drama Education Specialist Melissa Newton-Turner and Windmill Theatre Co. Additional content and subject material developed by Zachary Von Hoff for English years 8 and 9, and Tim Clark for Health and Physical Education years 8 and 9.

The activities and resources contained in this document are designed for educators as the starting point for developing more comprehensive lessons for this work.

© Copyright protects this Education Resource. Except for purposes permitted by the Copyright Act, reproduction by whatever means is prohibited. However, limited photocopying for classroom use only is permitted by educational institutions.

This resource is proudly supported by the South Australian Department for Education and the Lang Foundation.

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