On Thursday, September 29th, the A2 drama students gave an “initial performance” of the devised pieces that will constitute part of their final A-level drama exam.
The pieces were based on Henrik Ibsen’s famous play “A Doll’s House”, which shocked the audience when it premiered in 1879. The students devised the pieces in the style of Bertolt Brecht, a 20th-century German theatre practitioner and playwright. He developed an epic theatre style and the alienation effect or verfremdungseffekt.
Students can choose to be performers or designers for the A-level exam. Performers Chelsey Meng, Vivian Wang, Alina Huang and Paloma Huang, focused on misunderstandings around women. For example, Vivian explained, “in my scene, the misconception would be that being a housewife is an easy job or that housewives have nothing to do. We showed this through contrasting fantasy and reality.
The second group of performers, Cathy Ding, Enigma Liu and Shelly Zhang, developed a piece of theatre “intended to make the audience consider how standardized tests and the exam-cramming system create an illusion of a fair system and hide the inequality in education”. Cathy explained how her group wanted their piece to be “light-hearted with multiple comedic moments, believing we can provoke thought after laughter”.
Richard Zhang and Victoria Wei were the lighting designers for the pieces. Victoria said, “I chose to let the light stay simple, to focus on the actors’ movements and actions and change the lighting to follow up. It was a pretty exhausting but thrilling experience”.
The pieces, performed in the drama studio, were presented to G2 students and staff members who came along to support them. After the performance, there was a Q & A session where students were allowed to ask the A2 students questions. This feedback will help the students shape the next version of their pieces.
Lisia Gao, an A1 drama student who saw the performance, said, “the keyword that crosses my mind when describing this amazing evening is ‘stunned’. I’m stunned by both performances’ outstanding theatre techniques and the vitality and creativity I’ve witnessed on stage. It’s moving and inspiring as a drama student to see important topics coming to life in this familiar space of the drama studio. They’ve stimulated us, as the audience, to think about core social questions”.
Mr. Richard said, “it was a real pleasure to be in the audience: I enjoyed the performances and the high levels of questioning and comments made after the production. Over the years, I have seen many student productions, but rarely have I laughed so much as when I watched the piece called BAT. The imaginative representation of social mobility had excellent comic timing. It was a comic farce with fantastic creativity. It was also interesting for me, as some of the students are in my sociology class, learning about the themes from a sociological viewpoint. I can’t wait for the final performance.”
The final performance of the A-level pieces will take place on October 27th in the drama studio at SCIE.