Study Guide

Baba Yaga

About this guide

This education resource has been developed for Windmill Theatre Co’s production of Baba Yaga, within the framework of the Australian Curriculum in the following learning areas: The Arts: Drama (years 3 to 8). 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

Based on an old Russian folktale, this retro-industrial telling of the tale sees frightened and timid Vaselina living the quiet life, working as a receptionist in the very tall, bleak, rule-ridden Poultry Park apartment block. The vulgar residents constantly complain to Vaselina about Baba Yaga, a terrifying resident who plays her music far too loudly and eats jelly babies with her mouth open. Spurred on by a nest of Babushka dolls, Vaselina must find the courage to confront Baba Yaga. But instead, the pair become unlikely travelling companions as Baba Yaga takes Vaselina on a journey to the top floor and beyond. Sharing her wisdom that until you are really lost you can’t be truly found, Baba Yaga encourages Vaselina to make the impossible possible and look into her heart to find her true passion.

Notes from the Co-Creators

Rosemary Myers

The witch is always a fascinating character in classic fairy tales. Pitted against the young protagonists, she is almost always evil, terrifying and magic; a daemonic vision of the older woman. Yet Baba Yaga, the Russian witch, is a more nuanced character. She can do good and bad, but she is mainly fair. Her world is weird and wonderful, and she is her own style of mentor –  she can unlock the world, or she can eat you and that is a great dramatic tension. So, when I got together with Christine and Shona, two artists I had long admired, we began with a vision of an older women that we felt needed to be celebrated, a vision the world needs – like your eccentric neighbourhood cat woman or the wonderful Iris Apfel or maybe even your own great Aunty. The more we talked to people it seemed everyone had one in their lives: a slightly strange, fantastic woman that basically refused to play by the rules.

Baba Yaga brought together the incredible team at Windmill with the equally fantastic team at Imaginate. In our creative journey we were joined by animator Chris Edser, technical designer Chris Petridis, composer Peter Nelson, dramaturg Julianne O’Brien, costume designer Ailsa Peterson and movement consultant Carol Wellman Kelly who worked with us to tell the story. Although at times working with a brand-new team from opposite sides of the world and using lots of technology was hair pulling stuff, our passion for this story pulled us through. We hope you find our Baba Yaga as intriguing and hilarious as we found the character herself.

Christine Johnston

I was very excited at the prospect of creating a new children’s work with the heart-warmingly playful and inventive Scottish artist Shona Reppe, and Windmill’s visionary director Rosemary Myers. The time frame was tight, but the time now was right, and we all jumped in!!

From ‘nothing to something’ is always thrilling in a creative venture. Having the opportunity to lock heads with new and old collaborators, throw into the mix any ideas, and then cook up a little tiny-shiny seed into a big roasting-toasting show!! Yes there is a bit of ‘virtual’ cooking in the show – as we discovered Baba Yaga’s character has a strong propensity to always be hungry – and she eats babies!! But are they just jelly babies?

As an artist this is the first time I have co-created a translation of a pre-existing folktale, turning it on its head and bringing its folk iconography into the contemporary world. In breathing life into my “witch” character, who’s traditionally feared and misunderstood, I wanted to highlight the wisdom and experience of older women, who just so happens to love cacti, cats, loud music, dressing-up and being fabulous! Magic notwithstanding.

Shona Reppe

Baba Yaga was always a story that fascinated me. I loved the idea of a witch that could be very bad but also very good. She is a fair witch, fickle and vibrant, an interesting witch. If she is in a good mood she will help you but if you find her on a bad day she’ll EAT YOU! Her connection to the portals of life and death make her an uncontrollable force of nature, she feeds from life and death.

With this in mind making Baba Yaga was a challenge. How to capture the eccentricities and power of a witch in a modern setting? The answer was to draw inspiration from the modern witches of our time, the women who have stopped caring what people think about them, speak their minds, older women, wise women. The women who live down the road, you don’t know them but they seem mysterious or loud or strange or eccentric. In contrast Vaselina represents the person who hasn’t reached their full potential yet. Someone living in fear, Vaselina’s life is mundane and insipid. Her grey and pallid existence is the opposite to the vibrant Baba Yaga. It is coming into contact with Baba Yaga and facing her fears that gives Vaselina the confidence and courage to change.

We knew we wanted to use animation in the show and the wonderful images helped establish the strange world that has a familiar modern setting but also the scope to become other worldly and surreal. The animations allowed us to capture the magic that is always associated with Baba Yaga, opening up possibilities to take the story to a new level for modern audiences.

 

Cast and Creatives

Christine Johnston

Co-Creator, Performer

Christine Johnston is an Australian performing artist/writer/singer who became known on the Brisbane arts and live-music scenes from the late 1980s for her dramatic visual performances combining music, voice and her signature style of humour.

Rosemary Myers

Co-Creator, Director

Under Rose’s leadership as Artistic Director, Windmill creates and presents work inspired by the vibrancy, sophistication and inventiveness of young people and the exhilarating challenges they pose to creating theatre of relevance in this modern time.

Shona Reppe

Co-Creator

Shona Reppe is an award winning artist with an excellent track record of producing high quality, challenging theatre with high production values. Her credits include Cinderella, Potato Needs a Bath, The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean and theatre installation HUFF.

Peter Nelson

Sound Designer, Composer

Peter Nelson is an electronic music producer/composer/sound designer/musician and a performing artist. He created the musical score for Christine Johnston, performing in Decent Spinster (QPAC).

Chris Edser

Animator

Chris currently lives and draws in Adelaide, Australia. He has created illustration and animated pieces for diverse clients ranging from Nike Jordan and The Chicago Bulls in the sports world to fashion projects for Valentino and L’Officiel Hommes magazine.

Julianne O'Brien

Dramaturg

Julianne is a playwright with numerous stage and screen credits including Blue Heelers (Southern Star) and Backberner (ABC-TV Sydney). She consults as a dramaturg for theatre companies throughout Australia and lectures in story design at Victoria University.

Chris Petridis

Technical Manager

Chris completed his Technical Production course at the Adelaide Centre of the Arts. Since graduating, he has been working extensively and continuing to develop his experience across theatre, dance, and other live events both in Australia and overseas.

Richard Vabre

Lighting Designer

Richard is a freelance lighting designer. He has lit productions for Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Victorian Opera, Windmill Theatre Co, Arena Theatre Company, NICA and The Darwin Festival.

Carol Wellman Kelly

Movement Consultant

Carol was made in Australia and studied dance at the Victorian College of the Arts. She has extensive experience in performing, teaching and choreographing both nationally and internationally. From 1992 – 1999, she worked as a freelancer in London.

Ailsa Paterson

Design Realiser

Ailsa completed the Bachelor of Dramatic Art in Design (NIDA) in 2003. Set and costume design credits for State Theatre Company include Switzerland, The 39 Steps, Romeo and Juliet (with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra), Mendelssohn’s Dream (with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra)

Selene Cochrane

Costume Designer/Maker

Selene Cochrane has been a costumier for over 25 years. Starting out working in the fashion industry, she eventually moved into theatre and performance art. Her designs have featured in her work for numerous productions for performer Christine Johnston, with whom she continues to work.

Elizabeth Hay

Performer

Elizabeth has been living and working in Adelaide since graduating from the Flinders Drama Centre in 2010. Elizabeth has worked with many of South Australia’s leading theatre companies including State Theater Company of South Australia, Windmill Theatre Co and Slingsby.

Did you know Baba Yaga is a collaboration between Windmill Theatre Co and Scottish company Imaginate.

It originally premiered at the Edinburgh International Children's Festival in 2018.

Characters

Vaselina

Vaselina is the timid and fearful apartment building’s receptionist who tries desperately to ensure everyone follows the long list of rules. With a nest of Babushka dolls as her constant companions, she must look under her skin to find her voice, true passion and courage.

Baba Yaga

The rebellious resident in the apartment building, Baba Yaga is a hungry, cat loving, recorder-playing extraordinaire who explores what is  possible. She is full of life, horror and wonder and helps Vaselina find her own colour and calling.

Apartment Residents

A gaggle of loud, gaudy characters who live strictly by the rules of the apartment building who expect everyone else to do the same. They are quick to complain to the apartment building’s receptionist, Vaselina, about any residents breaking the rules especially Baba Yaga.

Themes

Rules/Authority

Vaselina has lived by the rules all of her life; silencing her love of singing and suppressing her dream to become an ice skater dressed in sequins. Even in her work place she is surrounded by rules and garish residents who demand the rules be upheld.

Self-discovery

Feeling like she has lived life like a pointless pencil, ignoring her dreams and her full potential, Vaselina journeys with Baba Yaga to discover the impossible actually is possible and in doing so, Vaselina finds she is a universe in herself.  At the end of the journey even the insatiable Baba Yaga discovers that she is no longer hungry and even finds an ending to her book.

Rebellion

In the play one of the Babushka dolls recalls the Russian proverb, “You cannot make an omelette without breaking an egg.”. With rule breaking Baba Yaga as her guide, Vaselina finds her courage to sing out loud and spark the light within.

Change

A significant symbol in the play is the silkworm unable to free itself from its cocoon. Even Vaselina is trapped in her own grey, cocoon-like costume stifled by always following the rules. After being given a coin purse by Baba Yaga because “sometimes we all need a little change”, Vaselina begins the journey of transformation, breaking free from her cocoon to reveal her sparkling new self.

Animation

Chris Edser began the animation and projection process by creating all the animation content on screen using original photos and videos and also sourcing them online. Setting up the content for projection was a challenge as the projection surfaces were odd shapes and sizes. These included circles, spheres, tall doors and a curved desk. Chris used the software, Adobe Photoshop and After Effects to create the animations and also collaborated closely with Chris Petridis, the Technical Manager, to make sure the videos were the right length and aligned perfectly to make the show run smoothly.

Animation and projection are used in the production to enhance setting and mood through colour, movement and stage lighting. In the mountain blizzard scene with swirling snow, even though it is lighter with the white snow, the colour is muted and cold looking, so the feeling is bleak and lonely. In happy, fun, energetic scenes like the elevator transitions there is a lot of bright colour variation. During a fun comedy song such as the cat feeding scene the cats bounce and sway to the music to emphasise the fun chaotic feeling of the song. Chris collaborates with the director, performers and lighting designer to make these decisions and makes changes right up until the final rehearsals to get the best results.

Composition and Sound Design

Sound designer/composer Peter Nelson’s role in Baba Yaga was to the enliven the visual and performative elements of the performance with music and sound. Sound and music work together to transform a dramatic idea by creating mood, atmosphere or space. Sound design can create abstract or imagined worlds, heighten dramatic moments or contribute to the depiction of realistic environments using recorded material or sourcing sounds online.

Baba Yaga’s home environment was a mixture of composition and sound design. Peter’s process for creating this sonic space involved the creation of original musical ideas followed by the layering many different sounds from nature, including rainforest sounds, bees, birds, water, wind and finally the addition of slide guitar over the top of everything. Christine, who plays Baba Yaga was recorded making purring cat sounds and she also mimicked birds, and insect sounds. There are also musical drones sounds created from software musical instruments that blend in and compliment the natural sounds in the production. All of these ideas also need to fit with the original music written for the show in a way that conveys an uplifting but dark feeling that fits with the show’s overall aesthetic.

The residents of Poultry Park are all recordings of Christine and Shona’s voices. To create the illusion, and the humour of the different characters, Peter digitally manipulated these recordings in different ways to represent the many varied people in the apartment building. Christine and Shona are both fantastic performers who have the ability to change their voices to suit different characters, but it was still necessary for Peter to alter the sounds through pitch shifting higher, to create a female or lower, to create a male voices

Did you know In the original Russian fairytale, Baba Yaga lives in a house on chicken legs.

Christine Johnson, who plays Baba Yaga, is obsessed with chickens in real life and once wrote a whole play about them.

Performance Literacy and Theatre Etiquette

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 Baba Yaga 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 3 and 4 Drama

Prepare

YEAR 3 AND 4 ACHIEVEMENT STANDARD ADDRESSED

Receptive modes (listening, reading and viewing)

By the end of Year 4, students describe and discuss similarities and differences between drama they make, perform and view. They discuss how they and others organise the elements of drama in their drama.

Students use relationships, tension, time and place and narrative structure when improvising and performing devised and scripted drama. They collaborate to plan, make and perform drama that communicates ideas.

Year 3 and 4 Drama content descriptions addressed

Explore ideas and narrative structures through roles and situations and use empathy in their own improvisations and devised drama (ACADRM031)

Use voice, body, movement and language to sustain role and relationships and create dramatic action with a sense of time and place (ACADRM032)

Shape and perform dramatic action using narrative structures and tension in devised and scripted drama, including exploration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander drama (ACADRM033)

Identify intended purposes and meaning of drama, starting with Australian drama, including drama of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, using the elements of drama to make comparisons (ACADRR034)



Before the Play

ACTIVITY

This unit includes activities and assessment linked to The Arts: Drama, Australian Curriculum across Years 3 and 4. 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 Baba Yaga 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

Students play the game, ‘Grandmother’s Footsteps’. A student plays Grandma and stands facing a wall at the edge of the space. The remainder of the class stand in a line at the opposite end of the space. Students creep up behind Grandma while her back is turned. At any stage, Grandma turns around and the group freezes. If Grandma sees anyone moving they are sent back to the beginning. Students continue to creep up on Grandma and once they reach her, they tap her on the back and run back to the starting position with Grandma chasing them. If Grandma tags a student, the student becomes Grandma and the game is played again.

After two rounds of the game ask students to identify the main character types they would find in a fairy tale. Ensure students identify an evil character (e.g.: wicked witch; evil stepmother; hungry wolf) and hero character (e.g.: Snow White, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood).

Reinforce the evil character wants to either control or harm the hero, sometimes using magical powers to do so; however, they are often unsuccessful in their attempt. The hero is likeable, kind-hearted and helped by others.

Drawing on their prior knowledge of these characters in fairy tales they have read, students suggest how these two characters would use voice (use of pace, pitch, pause and volume) and movement (posture, facial expression and gesture) to convey role. Students then play ‘Grandmother’s Footsteps’ with the following variations:

  • The student playing Grandma adopts ‘evil’ character traits, and the students creeping up on Grandma adopt hero character traits; both use exaggerated use of movement and voice to convey role.
  • The roles are then swapped with the Grandma playing the hero character while evil characters creep up on Grandma.

To capture students’ use of expressive skills (including strong moments of stillness), the teacher photographs and/or videos moments of action.

Critique

Students view the photographs and video from the In-Tune learning experience above and engage in a class discussion identifying the following in their own work and that of their peers:

  • Describe the use of movement (posture, facial expression, gesture, stillness) and voice (pitch, pace, pause or volume) to create engaging evil or heroic characters.
  • Where was dramatic tension evident in the game?
  • Describe the use of language used by either roles to further demonstrate character.

Explore and Apply

Discuss with students their upcoming visit to the theatre to see a play based on the old Russian fairy tale, Baba Yaga.  Students read the traditional version of tale here.

Ask students to identify the structure of a fairy tale (linear narrative structure) and identify where these components are evident in the Baba Yaga story. Use the following suggested resource link to guide students’ responses.

Students discuss why fairy tales were originally created and identify the purpose of hero and evil character types. Reinforce for students the purpose was to entertain and provide a moral message, warning people of dangers and provide guidance in life. The characters were the vehicles for these messages.

Students suggest the moral message in the traditional version of Baba Yaga and how the characters convey this message. Students consider whether this message would be relevant to a contemporary audience of their age group. Students discuss what changes would they make to the story (e.g. characters; setting;) to make it more relevant. Share their responses with the class.

Drawing on their ideas of altering the traditional story, students suggest why Baba Yaga and her sister were so evil and behaved as they did. Students are to imagine after the traditional fairy tale ends, Baba Yaga or her sister have changed for the better.  Writing in role, students individually write an apology letter from Baba Yaga or her sister to another character in the story explaining reasons for her behaviour and how her life has since changed. (Students will read their letters to the class in the following Create activity.)

Create

Explain to students ‘setting’ is an important convention of the fairy tale genre. It enhances the mood of the story and can include places such as: a dark, foreboding forest; an enchanted castle; or a quaint cottage with a flower-filled garden.

To explore setting physically and vocally, students play ‘Postcards’. Students stand in a large circle, are given a fairy tale setting and as a class represent it as a ‘Postcard’. For example:

  • Castle
  • Forest
  • Tower
  • Cottage
  • Garden
  • Ballroom
  • Dungeon

One at a time, manipulating levels and facial expression, students take up a strong freeze in the circle naming their role (animate or inanimate) in one descriptive sentence. For example, “I am the bars over the window in the dungeon” or “I am the ladybird nibbling at a juicy leaf in the garden”. Students can build off another student’s offer. For example, “I am the juicy leaf being nibbled on by a ladybird”.

Once all students are in place, each student creates a simple repetitive movement and sound derived from their freeze. Teacher calls freeze and isolates sections of the postcard. The process is repeated with the next setting. To allow students to view their work, teacher may photograph or video the work.

Students then combine their written letters from the Explore and Apply learning experience above with ‘Postcards’. Students find a place of their own in the space standing in neutral with their letter close at hand. Invite a student to name a place or setting for their letter (e.g.: in a dark forest).

The class creates an instant postcard to denote the setting including a repetitive movement and (quiet) sound. The student stands in the postcard and reads their letter, adopting voice and movement to convey Baba Yaga or her sister. The student reading can also move through and interact with objects in the postcard to enhance dramatic meaning. For example, smelling flowers in the garden. The process is repeated until all students have shared their letters.

As a class students discuss:

  • Which settings were particularly effective in heightening the mood of the letter?
  • How was voice and movement used effectively by students to convey character?

To prepare for their theatre visit, students as a class read the synopsis, character descriptions and themes of Windmill Theatre Company’s version of Baba Yaga (see the synopsis, character and themes section of this resource). Using this information, students discuss and document the possible differences and similarities between Windmill Theatre Company’s version of Baba Yaga and the original tale.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Explore ideas and narrative structures through roles and situations and use empathy in their own improvisations and devised drama (ACADRM031)

Use voice, body, movement and language to sustain role and relationships and create dramatic action with a sense of time and place (ACADRM032)

Shape and perform dramatic action using narrative structures and tension in devised and scripted drama, including exploration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander drama (ACADRM033)

Identify intended purposes and meaning of drama, starting with Australian drama, including drama of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, using the elements of drama to make comparisons (ACADRR034)



After the Play

ACTIVITY

Tune-in

As a class students brainstorm their initial responses to the  production. Students revisit their ideas from the Before the Play – Create section of this resource about the possible differences and similarities between Windmill Theatre Company’s version of Baba Yaga and the original tale.

Divide class into five groups allocating a point of discussion from the following list, identifying the actual differences and similarities between the two versions of the tale:

  • Setting/place: Where is the Windmill Theatre Company version of the story set? How is this different to the original tale?
  • Characters: What characters are in the Windmill Theatre Company version of the story? Describe how they use exaggerated voice and movement to convey their character. Are there new characters introduced and are there any characters missing from the original tale?
  • Describe how colour was used in the costumes to convey characters’ personalities.
  • Introduction and development of tension within the story.
  • Change to the narrative structure of a traditional fairy tale.

Groups share their ideas with the class. Students consider why the creatives would contemporise the story for a modern day audience; students can revisit the performance’s themes (see the themes section of this resource) to assist their response.

Explore and Apply

Audio Visual projection, animation and sound design played key roles in the production. Students recall how these technical devices were used to create and heighten place, character and mood. Responses may include:

  • define and enhance mood of multiple settings;
  • convey text and change of text (the apartment building rules);
  • transform characters into other forms and creatures;
  • and incorporate more characters than there were actors (apartment residents).

Students gain a further insight into the use of AV and sound in Baba Yaga via animator, Chris Edser and sound designer and composer, Peter Nelson (see audio visual and sound design sections of this resource).

With a partner students choose one of the following fairy tale settings previously explored in the Explore and Apply – Before viewing the play section of this resource:

  • Castle
  • Forest
  • Tower
  • Cottage
  • Garden
  • Ballroom
  • Dungeon

Students search on line for copyright free images and gifs of their chosen setting that could be projected as a backdrop in an imagined performance of a fairy tale (traditional or contemporised). To further enhance setting and atmosphere, students can overlay their projections with copyright free soundscapes sources on line. Encourage students to especially consider the mood and atmosphere they would want to convey to their audience. Students download the images and sound to PowerPoint and present their ideas to the class justifying their choices.

Create

Self-discovery, Rebellion and Change are significant themes evident in Baba Yaga, (see the themes section of this resource) as Vaselina, guided by Baba Yaga, is taken on a journey of transformation, finding courage to live life free from the rules that stifle her. In the original story of Baba Yaga, how does Natasha show courage? Refer to original story here if required.

Students recall traditional fairy tales from their own reading and identify what characters in the tale show courage. Students also consider whether the tales could be rewritten so more timid or stifled characters like Vaselina could find courage and their own voice to speak up.

As a class, students choose one of the fairy tales discussed and with the teacher documenting and facilitating, students create a contemporary version of the story considering:

  • What will be the moral message conveyed that would be relevant to a Year 3 or 4 audience that explores a timid character finding their courage?
  • Where will the story be set?
  • Which characters will be maintained from the original story and will they be altered in anyway?
  • Will there be any new characters introduced?
  • How will these characters be performed using their understanding of how evil and heroic characters use exaggerated voice and movement to convey role?
  • How will the linear narrative structure be employed to ensure the story is logical, develops in tension and reaches a satisfying conclusion?
  • Is there a magical element in the story?

Teacher then assists students to define and develop five significant moments within their new version of the tale. Class is divided into five equal groups. Each group is allocated one of the significant moments within the story. Adapting the ‘letter reading’ and ‘Postcards’ learning experience in the Before the Play – Create section of this resource, students devise, rehearse and present their section of the tale:

  • Some members of the group create the Postcard (with repetitive movement and sound) to convey setting;
  • Remaining members of the group play the characters within the moment, using voice and movement to convey role. These characters move through and interact with the postcard to enhance dramatic meaning. For example, hiding behind a tree in the woods.
  • To further enhance place, setting and mood, each group searches on line for copyright free images and gifs that can be downloaded to PowerPoint and projected as backdrops. To further enhance setting and atmosphere, students can overlay their projections with copyright free soundscapes sources on line.

Critique

After the class’ performance of the contemporised fairy tale, in their performance groups students are allocated one of the following questions to discuss. Students report back to the class with their findings:

  • How clearly was the moral message conveyed?
  • How smoothly and fluently did the story begin, develop and conclude?
  • What was the tension in the performance?
  • How did the performers use voice (pitch, pace, pause, volume, sound) and movement (gesture, facial expression, posture, repetition) to convey the characters?
  • How effectively was place identified in the performance particularly through use of the postcards, AV and soundscapes?

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Explore ideas and narrative structures through roles and situations and use empathy in their own improvisations and devised drama (ACADRM031)

Use voice, body, movement and language to sustain role and relationships and create dramatic action with a sense of time and place (ACADRM032)

Shape and perform dramatic action using narrative structures and tension in devised and scripted drama, including exploration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander drama (ACADRM033)

Identify intended purposes and meaning of drama, starting with Australian drama, including drama of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, using the elements of drama to make comparisons (ACADRR034)



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 Baba Yaga 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

Discuss with students their upcoming visit to the theatre to see Baba Yaga, based on the original Russian fairy tale.  Students read the traditional version of tale here.

Students identify the fairy tale story structure (linear narrative structure) and identify where this is evident in this traditional version of Baba Yaga. Use the following suggested resource links to guide students’ responses:

Students identify the main character types in a fairy tale including: evil character (e.g.: wicked witch; evil stepmother; hungry wolf) and hero character (e.g.: Snow White, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood).  Reinforce the evil character wants to either control or harm the hero, sometimes using magical powers to do so; however, they are often unsuccessful in their attempt. The hero is likeable, kind-hearted and helped by others. Students identify these characters in Baba Yaga.

Students identify the purpose of these characters and why fairy tales were originally created. Reinforce for students the purpose was to entertain and provide a moral message, warning people of dangers and provide guidance in life. The characters were the vehicles for these messages.

Students suggest the moral message in the traditional version of Baba Yaga and how the characters convey this message. Students consider whether this message would be relevant to a contemporary audience of their age group. Students discuss in groups of three or four, what changes would they make to the story (e.g. characters; setting; tension) to make it more relevant. Share their responses with the class.

Create

Students remain in their groups from the Tune-in activity above. Drawing on their ideas about making the original tale more relevant, students devise, rehearse and perform a ‘TV Talk Show segment’. One student plays TV host and the remaining students identify a significant relationship from the tale that would resonate with their age group and adopt these roles for the segment. For example: Natasha, the cat and dog (students can take on non-human characters);  Baba Yaga and her sister; the father and his evil wife.

The segment:

  • has a clear introduction, middle and satisfying ending (linear narrative structure);
  • explores the relationship between the characters (including tension);
  • provides insight into the characters’ behaviour. For example: the father explains to Natasha why he married such an evil woman given he is a kind man; the cat explains why it risked helping Natasha;
  • reveals what the characters learnt from the events of the original story and how their lives have changed as a result (moral message).

Students experiment with performance skills to convey role and relationship, mood and atmosphere:

  • voice (pitch, pace, pause and volume);
  • movement (gesture, posture, facial expression and heaviness or lightness of movement);
  • and language (turn of phrase and rhythm of speech).

Critique

At the end of each ‘TV Talk Show segment’ the audience discuss the following:

  • How did the performers use voice and movement to convey:
    • characters;
    • relationship between characters (including possible tension);
    • and change in mood and atmosphere in the segment?
  • What moral messages were evident in the segment?
  • How effective was the contemporisation of role and situation?

Explore and Apply

Teacher places the following objects (or similar) on the floor in the space setting up a symbol gallery:

  • red apple (Snow White)
  • bundle of sticks (The Three Little Pigs)
  • sparkly shoe (Cinderella)
  • red rose (Beauty and the Beast)
  • basket (Little Red Riding Hood)
  • beans (Jack and the Beanstalk)

Ask students to define ‘symbol’ (“associations that occur when something is used to represent something else to reinforce or extend dramatic meaning” ACARA; The Australian Curriculum) and consider why symbols are used in theatre. Students walk through the gallery documenting in which fairy tale they would find the symbols and what they could represent. A soundscape of a forest is played while students work. Students share their responses as a class.

Students read Windmill Theatre Company’s synopsis of Baba Yaga, character descriptions and themes (see the synopsis, character and themes sections of this resource).

Drawing on their knowledge of the traditional version of Baba Yaga from previous learning experiences in this resource, students individually brainstorm and document the differences and similarities between the traditional and contemporised versions of the story. Students can use Padlet to submit their responses to be projected in the classroom in real time or document their ideas in table format. Students discuss and justify their responses as a class.

Padlet

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

As a class students brainstorm their initial responses to the  production, including identifying symbols that were used in the performance explaining their significance and dramatic meaning.

Audio Visual projection, animation and sound design played a key role in the production. Students recall how these technical devices were used to create and heighten place, character and mood. Responses may include:

  • define and enhance mood of multiple place and settings;
  • convey text and change of text (the apartment building rules);
  • transform characters into other forms and creatures;
  • and incorporate more characters than there were actors (apartment residents).

Students gain a further insight into the use of AV and sound in Baba Yaga via animator, Chris Edser and sound designer and composer, Peter Nelson (see audio visual and sound design sections  of this resource).

Explore and Apply

Divide the class into two groups. One group becomes audience and the other stands in neutral in their own space. Teacher reads the following list of traits and students standing transform into the character changing their body’s gesture, height and facial expression. Once list is read, students hold a strong freeze to convey their role to the audience:

  • Wide stance
  • Holds direct eye contact and looks outwards
  • Moves slowly and deliberately (will use this trait in the following activities)
  • ‘Owns’ the space
  • Has moments of stillness as if to ‘pose’ and survey their surroundings
  • Large, confident gestures
  • Chest puffed out
  • Breathes deeply and slowly
  • Initiates conversation (will use this trait in the following activities)

Audience identify the characters’ status (high) justifying their responses. Students suggest the voice these characters might have considering pace, pitch, pause and volume. Students identify high status characters in the performance of Baba Yaga .

Students standing frozen bring their characters to life and walk through the space, being aware of the power and status they  hold. Students incorporate moments of stillness and experiment with heaviness and lightness of their walk. Students acknowledge other characters with a nod or wave ensuring to sustain role.

Students add voice to their character as they initiate conversation and contact with others. After a number of meetings, ask students to freeze and stand in neutral in front of the audience. Audience describe the use of voice (pace, pitch, pause and volume) they heard that complemented the characters’ movements and status.

Repeat the process with students who played high status characters becoming audience and audience becoming low status characters using the following traits:

  • Struggles to hold eye contact and looks to the ground
  • Takes up the smallest amount of space
  • Moves quickly and sporadically
  • ‘Borrows’ the space, being physically closed off
  • Small, quick gestures
  • Fidgets and has few moments of stillness
  • Sunken chest
  • Breathes short breathes
  • Struggles to initiate and maintain conversation

Students identify the low and high status characters in the performance of Baba Yaga. Using two large pieces of butcher’s paper, write at the top of one piece, ‘Baba Yaga’ and at the top of the other, ‘Vaselina’. Trace an outline of a student onto each of the pieces of paper to represent each of the characters.  Assign ‘Baba Yaga’ to the students who explored high status character in the previous exercise, and ‘Vaselina’ to the students who explored low status class.

Recalling the performance, students identify how Baba Yaga or Vaelina’s status was portrayed and heightened through the actors’ use of voice and movement and the symbolic use of costume. Students document the character’s vocal traits on the inside of the traced outline; the physical character traits in the blank space outside the outline; and a description of their character’s costume around the edge of the character outline. Once complete, students share their findings with the other group.

Create

Self-discovery, Rebellion and Change are significant themes evident in Baba Yaga, (see the themes section of this resource) as Vaselina, guided by Baba Yaga, is taken on a journey of transformation, finding courage to live life free from the rules that stifle her. In the original story of Baba Yaga, how does Natasha show courage? Refer to original story here required.

Students recall traditional fairy tales from their own reading discussing how the tales could be rewritten so lower status characters could find courage to speak up to higher status characters.

Students divide into groups of five and choose one of the fairy tales identified by the class.

In their group, students identify the following in their fairy tale:

  • narrative structure including introduction, development and resolution of tension;
  • evil characters;
  • kind-natured/hero characters;
  • low and high status characters;
  • evidence of significant symbols and their meaning;
  • place/settings;
  • evidence of costumes;
  • moral message/s.

Students contemporise the fairy tale making it relevant to their peer group. Their performance focuses on a lower status character finding their courage and so conveying a clear moral message to the audience. In the development of their characters, students draw on skills developed in the Explore and Apply section above.

To assist in the devising process of their work, students consider:

  • altering the storyline, reimagining the setting, characters, symbols and costumes;
  • use available resources to further enhance place, setting and mood. Students search on line for copyright free images and gifs that can be downloaded to PowerPoint and projected as backdrops. To further enhance setting and atmosphere, students can overlay their projections with copyright free soundscapes sources on line.

Critique

Students remain in their performance groups from the Create experience above. Each group is assigned another group’s performance to evaluate using the following questions to frame their responses. Students share their findings with the class:

  • How was the original story contemporised to make it more relevant to the audience? This could include:
    • change to storyline;
    • choice of moral message;
    • choice of setting;
    • inclusion of new characters;
    • absence of or change to original characters;
    • incorporation of new symbols or adjustment to original symbols;
    • adaptation of costume design.
  • How did the performers manipulate voice (pitch, pace, pause, volume) and movement (gesture, facial expression, posture, lightness and heaviness of movement)to convey character including status?
  • How were AV and soundscapes utilised to create place and change of mood?
  • What symbols were evident and what was their intended meaning?

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 Baba Yaga  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

Students play the game, ‘21’:

  • sit with students in circle and place a small object e.g.: keys in middle of circle;
  • throughout the game students focus on the object;
  • as a group, students count to 21; however, rather than taking a turn one after each other around the circle, any student can say the next number;
  • game starts again if: two students say a number at the same time; a student says two numbers in a row or says a number straight after the student beside them; 21 is reached (students can continue counting to see how high they can reach);
  • give ‘hint’ that it is as important not to say a number as it is to say a number, encouraging all students to have a ‘voice’ in the game;
  • repeat game three times;
  • at end of the game, students identify what strategies made the game successful, including all students having a ‘voice’ in the game.

Discuss with students their upcoming visit to the theatre to see Baba Yaga, based on the original Russian fairy tale.  Students read the traditional version of tale here.

Students identify the fairy tale story structure (linear narrative structure) and identify where this is evident in this traditional version of Baba Yaga. Use the following suggested resource links to guide students’ responses:

Students identify the main character types in a fairy tale including: evil character (e.g.: wicked witch; evil stepmother; hungry wolf) and hero character (e.g.: Snow White, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood).  Reinforce the evil character wants to either control or harm the hero, sometimes using magical powers to do so; however, they are often unsuccessful in their attempt. The hero is likeable, kind-hearted and helped by others. Students identify these characters in Baba Yaga.

Students identify the purpose of these characters and why fairy tales were originally created. Reinforce for students the purpose was to entertain and provide a moral message, warning people of dangers and provide guidance in life. The characters were the vehicles for these messages.

Students suggest the moral message in the traditional version of Baba Yaga and how the characters convey this message. Students consider whether this message would be relevant to a contemporary audience of their age group. Students discuss in groups of three or four, what changes would they make to the story (e.g. characters; setting; tension) to make it more relevant. Share their responses with the class.

Create

Students remain in their groups from the Tune-in activity. Drawing on their ideas about making the original tale more relevant, students devise, rehearse and perform a ‘TV Talk Show segment’. One student plays TV host and the remaining students identify a significant relationship from the tale that would resonate with their age group and adopt these roles for the segment. For example: Natasha, Baba Yaga and the cat (students can take on non-human characters); or Natasha and her father. Students experiment with the Element of Drama, time, setting the segment immediately after the end of the story or some years later.

The segment:

  • has a clear introduction, middle and satisfying ending (linear narrative structure);
  • explores the relationship between the characters (including tension);
  • provides insight into the character’s behaviour. For example: the father explains to Natasha why he married such an evil woman given he is a kind man; the cat explains why it risked helping Natasha;
  • reveals what the characters learnt from the events of the original story and how their lives have changed as a result (moral message).

Students experiment with performance skills to convey role and relationship, mood and atmosphere:

  • voice (pitch, pace, pause and volume);
  • movement (gesture, posture, facial expression and heaviness or lightness of movement);
  • and language (turn of phrase and rhythm of speech).

Critique

At the end of each ‘TV Talk Show segment’ students discuss:

  • How the performers used voice and movement to convey:
    • character;
    • relationships between characters (including tension);
    • and change in mood and atmosphere in the segment?
  • What moral messages were evident in the segment? How relevant was it to the audience?
  • How effective was the contemporisation of role and situation? Why?

Explore and Apply

Teacher places the following objects on the floor in the space setting up a symbol gallery:

  • red apple (Snow White)
  • bundle of sticks (The Three Little Pigs)
  • sparkly shoe (Cinderella)
  • red rose (Beauty and the Beast)
  • basket (Little Red Riding Hood)
  • beans (Jack and the Beanstalk)

Ask students to define ‘symbol’ (“associations that occur when something is used to represent something else to reinforce or extend dramatic meaning” ACARA; The Australian Curriculum) and consider why symbols are used in theatre. Students walk through the gallery documenting in which fairy tale they would find the symbols and what they could represent. A soundscape of a forest is played while students work. Students share their responses as a class.

Students read Windmill Theatre Company’s synopsis of  Baba Yaga, character descriptions and themes (see the synopsis, character and themes sections of this resource).

Drawing on their knowledge of the traditional version of Baba Yaga from previous learning experiences in this resource, students individually brainstorm and document the differences and similarities between the traditional and contemporised versions of the story. Students can use Padlet to submit their responses to be projected in the classroom in real time or document their ideas in table format. Students discuss and justify their responses as a class.

Padlet

From their reading of the synopsis, characters and themes, ask students to identify evidence of symbols  that will be used in the performance including colours, costumes and objects.

In groups of four, students step into the role of set and costume designers.  Encouraging students to imagine how Windmill Theatre Company will contemporise this traditional story from another culture, time and place, students create their own set and costume designs for the performance of Baba Yaga considering use of:

  • colour, texture and shape of costume designs to convey characters;
  • colour, shape, levels and space in the set design to create mood;
  • symbol to heighten meaning;
  • lighting and AV projections to further enhance dramatic meaning;
  • contrast in design elements (colour, text, shape, space etc) to highlight differences between characters and place (e.g.: Baba Yaga and Vaselina).

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

Students replay the game ‘21’ and discuss how the game relates to Windmill Theatre Company’s Baba Yaga especially the importance of individuals having a ‘voice’. Students brainstorm their initial responses to the  production including the moral message of the play and its relevance to their age group.

Audio Visual projection, animation and sound design played key roles in the production. Students recall how these technical devices were used to create and heighten place, character and mood. Responses may include:

  • define and enhance mood of multiple settings;
  • convey text and change of text (the apartment building rules);
  • transform characters into other forms and creatures;
  • and incorporate more characters than there were actors (apartment residents).

Students gain a further insight into the use of AV and sound in Baba Yaga via animator, Chris Edser and sound designer and composer, Peter Nelson (see audio visual and sound design sections  of this resource).

Explore and Apply

Divide the class into two groups. One group becomes audience and the other stands in neutral in their own space. Teacher reads the following list of traits and students standing transform into the character changing their body’s gesture, height and facial expression. Once list is read, students hold a strong freeze to convey their role to the audience:

  • Wide stance
  • Holds direct eye contact and looks outwards
  • Moves slowly and deliberately (will use this trait in the following activities)
  • ‘Owns’ the space
  • Has moments of stillness as if to ‘pose’ and survey their surroundings
  • Large, confident gestures
  • Chest puffed out
  • Breathes deeply and slowly
  • Initiates conversation (will use this trait in the following activities)

Audience identify the character’s status (high) justifying their responses. Students suggest the voice these characters might have considering pace, pitch, pause and volume. Students identify high status characters in the performance of Baba Yaga.

Students standing frozen bring their characters to life and walk through the space, being aware of the power and status they hold. Students incorporate moments of stillness and experiment with heaviness and lightness of their walk. Students acknowledge other characters with a nod or wave ensuring to sustain role.

Students add voice to their character as they initiate conversation and contact with others. After a number of meetings, ask students to freeze and stand in neutral in front of the audience. Audience describe the use of voice (pace, pitch, pause and volume) they heard that complemented the characters’ movements and status.

Repeat the process with students who played high status characters becoming audience and audience becoming low status characters using the following traits:

  • Struggles to hold eye contact and looks to the ground
  • Takes up the smallest amount of space
  • Moves quickly and sporadically
  • ‘Borrows’ the space, being physically closed off
  • Small, quick gestures
  • Fidgets and has few moments of stillness
  • Sunken chest
  • Breathes short breathes
  • Struggles to initiate and maintain conversation

Students divide into pairs, assigning themselves a high or low status character. Their characters are at a garden party as servants and masters. Each servant is responsible for carrying their master’s chair and setting it down whenever the master wants to sit. At any time, the master will stand up from the chair to meet another master. The servant must obediently follow ensuring the chair is always at the ready.

To ensure safety in dramatic play and in interaction with other actors, the students must always ensure time is given to place the chair and the chair is securely in place before sitting.

At the end of the exercise students join with another pair and discuss how effectively they used movement, voice and the Element of Drama, contrast to convey status and to enhance the ‘servant/master’ dynamic between the characters. Students share responses with the class.

Create

Self-discovery, Rebellion and Change are significant themes evident in Baba Yaga, (see the themes section of this resource) as Vaselina, guided by Baba Yaga, is taken on a journey of transformation, finding courage to live life free from the rules that stifle her. In the original story of Baba Yaga, how does Natasha show courage? Refer to original story if required here.

Students recall traditional fairy tales from their own reading discussing how the tales could be rewritten so lower status characters could find courage to speak up to higher status characters.

Students divide into groups of five and choose one of the fairy tales identified by the class.

In their group, students identify the following in their fairy tale:

  • narrative structure including introduction, development and resolution of tension;
  • evil characters;
  • kind-natured/hero characters;
  • low and high status characters;
  • evidence of significant symbols and their meaning;
  • place/settings;
  • evidence of costumes;
  • moral message/s.

Students contemporise the fairy tale making it relevant to their peer group (if possible performing for another class in their year level). The performance focuses on a lower status character finding their courage and so conveying a clear moral message to the audience. In the development of their characters, students draw on skills developed in the Explore and Apply section above.

To assist in the devising process of their work, students:

  • consider altering the storyline, reimagining the setting, characters, symbols and costumes;
  • experiment with time via a non-linear storyline: allowing for flashbacks providing context to the characters’ current situation and managing fluent transitions in time e.g.: use of available technologies;
  • use available AV resources to further enhance place, setting and mood, searching online copyright free images and gifs that can be downloaded to PowerPoint and projected as backdrops. Students can also overlay their projections with copyright free soundscapes sourced on line.
  • part way through the rehearsal process, show their work to another group to gain valuable feedback and evaluation especially regarding whether the purpose of the drama is being met.

Critique

Individually, students choose a  reimagined fairy tale performance  presented by their peers and write a response to the following questions providing examples to their support ideas:

  • How was the original story contemporised to make it more relevant to the audience? This could include:
    • change to storyline (including non-linear narrative structure);
    • choice of setting;
    • inclusion of new characters;
    • absence of or change to original characters;
    • incorporation of new symbols or adjustment to original symbols;
    • adaptation of costume design.
  • How did the performers manipulate the following expressive skills to convey character status and contrast between roles?:
    • voice (pitch, pace, pause, volume);
    • and movement (gesture, facial expression, posture, stillness, lightness and heaviness of movement).
  • How effectively was AV and soundscapes utilised to create place and change of mood?
  • What was the moral message in the story and was it relevant to the chosen audience?

Students form pairs or groups with students who have responded to the same performance and compare their ideas. In a class discussion, students then share their ideas.

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)

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)



Acknowledgements

Produced by Windmill Theatre Co. Developed and compiled by Drama Education Specialist Melissa Newton-Turner and Windmill Theatre Co.

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.

  •  Lang Foundation
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