VCE Theatre Studies 2014

​Welcome to the Year 12 Theatre Studies Home page. I've endeavored to chart out our two semesters together by bringing together all the resources you'll need to do a fine job in your VCE course. Let's begin with Unit 3, which we will be completing in our first semester...first...what tasks will you have to perform?

Unit 3

This unit focuses on an interpretation of a playscript through the four designated stages of production: planning, development, season, and evaluation. Students specialise in two areas of stagecraft, working collaboratively in order to realise the production of a playscript. They analyse the influence of stagecraft on the shaping of the production. They also attend performances selected from the prescribed Theatre Studies Unit 3 Playlist published annually in the VCAA Bulletin, and analyse and evaluate the interpretation of the playscript in the performance.









The assessments for Unit 3 VCE Theatre Studies are chosen by your teacher and are detailed here. If you wish to look further at the current study design go to the VCAA site and you can download a PDF of the current study design.







This is also a fantastic site to access past VCE exams and access resources for your course. However the text we are using this year is one of the best resources for Theatre Studies students and features "plain English" explanations of every outcome and how to achieve them. Our text is "Acting Smart: Version 7" By Jane Bird and Richard Sallis.







Outcome 1:

"On completion of this unit the student should be able to apply stagecraft to interpret a playscript to an audience and demonstrate understanding of the stages of production."

This semester we will be somewhat constrained in our ability to work after school, but we will be performing the play  "Hating Alison Ashley" by Robin Klein (adapted for the stage by Richard Tulloch). To fulfill the outcome you must choose two areas of stagecraft from the 12 areas listed. These areas are listed on Page 26-28 of "Acting Smart". The 4 periods of production through which you will be working are:



  • Production Planning

  • Production Rehearsal

  • Production Presentation

 

Through each time periods of production you will have to keep a digital or written folio, showing diaries, illustrations, annotated lists, sketches, records and other evidence of your work through the production process. You will also be asked to attend 3 audits of your work (graded) during which you will have to detail your work.



During your 3 audits you will have to respond in detail the questions listed in your Unit 3, Outcome 1, Learning Activity "Skills Check" in "Acting Smart". These audits will contribute to 15% of your final course grade.



The time periods and due dates for the audits and folio inspections will be listed on this site. Make sure to keep these dates in mind and prepare to be on time with your evidence and assessments. 

 

Planning Audit: 7/3/14

Rehearsal Audit: 2/5/14

Performance Audit: 29/5

 

Performance: 30/5/14 @ 7:30PM (Monbulk Theatre)

 

For the audit you must provide evidence of work engaged in and be able to answer basic questions such as:

  • List and describe intitial concepts for your area of stagecraft.

  • Evidence of contribution.

  • Describe techniques used. (Written in journal.)

  • Use appropriate language in verbal responses.

 

Audit Criteria

Key knowledge

• the nature and purpose of the three stages of the production process in the development of an imaginative interpretation of a playscript

• contributions of individuals working in collaboration with others as part of the production team to interpret a playscript throughout the stages of the production process:

– production planning including developing initial concepts for the production

– production development including exploring and trialling approaches to achieving production aims

– presentation including involvement in bump-in, technical/dress rehearsals, performances, bump-out and evaluation (show evidence).

• techniques used in two areas of stagecraft as part of a production process, culminating in the performance of a playscript to an audience (show evidence).

• strategies for documenting and reflecting on the production process

• theatre terminology and expressions.

 

Key skills

• demonstrate an understanding of the stages of a production process

• contribute effectively to the development of an imaginative interpretation of a playscript through

involvement in each stage of the production process, culminating in a performance to an audience

• demonstrate understanding of the ways stagecraft can be applied to interpret a playscript in

performance

• apply two areas of stagecraft to contribute to the development and presentation of a production toan audience

• contribute effectively to two areas of stagecraft in collaboration with the production team throughoutall stages of production

• use theatre terminology and expression appropriately.

 

 







Outcome 2:

"On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse the use of stagecraft in the development of a playscript  for production incorporating the specifications appropriate for each stage of the production process"


This outcome is assessed by your folio. It means that you will have to document the production process.Your entries need to analyse the ways in which the utillisation of your chosen areas of stagecraft help interpret, shape, and give meaning to the production in unit 1. You may find a guide to completing your folio in pages 35-45 in your "Acting Smart". The pages also have examples of proper diary entries. A list of proper entries in a folio can include:



  • You should keep, file and include everything that you produce and develop during the production process.

  • You should keep diary (digital recorded notes, written notes, pictures, video logs) of all meetings, rehearsals and planning sessions.

  • You can include annotated records.

  • Research and resource material.

  • Initial sketches, drawings and plans.

  • 3D concepts and models.

  • Digital and multimedia renderings.

  • MP3 and digital sound files.

The folio should be presented in readable and polished condition and kept neatly.



Outcome 3:


"On the completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse and evaluate and evaluate ways in which a written play script selected from a prescribed playlist is in interpreted in its production to an audience"​​​​​​​​​



This outcome will demand that you research, read and analyse the performance of a written playscript on the VCAA list. To complete this outcome you will have to:



  • Buy and read the play and complete the "Reading the Playscript" activity in Acting Smart on page 73.

  • You need to read 70-84 and complete questions in your folio.

You will be given a SAC based on your research and analysis of the playscript.
  • As soon as the VCE Theatre Studies playlist is released, I will inform you as to the play we will be researching and seeing.

For your help, (though most of you have probably finished this assessment in year 11), here is a list of folio items:

 



Acting

Stage 1: Production planning
• actor’s research notes as influenced by the playscript and the initial concepts;
• actor’s annotated rehearsal schedule and/or initial script annotations.


Stage 2: Production development
• records of meetings and discussions with the director/s;
• annotated records of workshop and rehearsal activities including appropriate script annotations.

Stage 3: Production season
• annotated notes/journal entries from technical and/or dress rehearsal/s and performance/s to an
audience;
• annotated notes from discussions with the director/s and/or members of the production team
specialising in other stagecraft.


Costume
Stage 1: Production planning
• preliminary research based on the playscript and the initial concepts;
• annotated notes of the ways in which costume design could be influenced by the playscript.

Stage 2: Production development
• annotated examples of the costume design/s selected from initial concepts through to final design/s;
• costume break-down list and record/s of the stages of costume construction and/or acquisition.

Stage 3: Production season
• records of work conducted with regard to maintenance and/or refinement of costume;
• annotated notes from meeting/s and discussion/s with director/s and/or members of the production
team specialising in other stagecraft.



Direction
Stage 1: Production planning
• director’s brief as influenced by the playscript, initial concepts and discussions with

other members of the production team;

• preliminary notes for rehearsals.



Stage 2: Production development
• examples of notes given in rehearsals, production meetings and or workshops;
• playscript annotations and/or workbook/journal entries.

 

Stage 3: Production Presentation

  • Examples of final producting.

  • Photos, props, pictures and audience reaction.

  • Evaluation of production.

  • Notes.

 


Stage 3: Production season
• annotated notes/journal entries from technical and/or dress rehearsals and performance/s to an
audience;
• annotated notes from production team meeting/s and/or meeting/s with actors.

Stage 4: Production evaluation
• records of debrief meeting/s and/or discussion/s with other members of the production team;
• evaluative commentary on application of direction to the production.

Dramaturgy
Stage 1: Production planning
• response to the initial concepts and notes on how the playscript and initial research informed approach;
• examples of preliminary research on the contexts of the playscript.


Stage 2: Production development
• notes on the ways in which work undertaken in this area has influenced interpretations of the playscript;
• examples of material made available to the director/s, actors and/or members of the production team specialising in other stagecraft.


Stage 3: Production season
• annotated notes/journal entries from technical and/or dress rehearsals and performance/s to an audience;
• annotated notes from discussion/s with the director/s and/or members of the production team specialising in other stagecraft.


Stage 4: Production evaluation
• records of debrief meeting/s and/or discussions with other members of the production team;
• evaluative commentary on application of dramaturgy to the production.

Lighting
Stage 1: Production planning
• preliminary research based on the playscript and the initial concepts;
• annotated notes of the ways in which lighting design could be influenced by the playscript.

Stage 2: Production development
• annotated examples of the lighting plan selected from initial ideas through to final design;
• annotated notes from meetings with the director/s and/or members of the production team
specialising in other stagecraft including notes about the development of cue synopsis.

Stage 3: Production season
• annotated lighting schedule/s and samples of cue synopsis;
• annotated notes from meeting/s and discussion/s with director/s and/or members of the production
team specialising in other stagecraft.




Make-up

Stage 1: Production planning
• preliminary research based on the playscript and the initial concepts;
• annotated notes of the ways in which make-up design could be influenced by the playscript.

Stage 2: Production rehearsal
• annotated examples of the make-up design ideas selected from initial concepts through to final
design;
• record/s of the acquisition of make-up supplies, make-up trials/experiments and/or the application
of make-up.



Stage 3: Production Presentation 
• records of work conducted with regard to maintenance and/or refinement of make-up;
• annotated notes from meeting/s and discussion/s with director/s and/or members of the production
team specialising in other stagecraft.



Multimedia
Stage 1: Production planning
• preliminary research based on the playscript and the initial concepts;
• annotated notes of the ways in which the multimedia product/s could be influenced by the
playscript.



Stage 2: Production development
• annotated examples of the multimedia product/s design ideas selected from initial concepts through to final design/s;
• records of the stages of compilation of the multimedia product/s.

Stage 3: Production season
• records of work conducted with regard to maintenance and/or refinement of multimedia;
• annotated notes from meeting/s and discussion/s with director/s and/or members of the production
team specialising in other stagecraft.



Properties
Stage 1: Production planning
• preliminary research based on the playscript and the initial concepts;
• annotated notes of the ways in which properties/props have been influenced by the playscript.



Stage 2: Production development
• annotated examples of the design ideas of the properties selected from initial concepts to final design;
• properties/props list and records of the stages of properties construction and/or acquisition.

Stage 3: Production season
• records of work conducted with regard to maintenance and/or refinement of properties/props;
• annotated notes from meeting/s and discussion/s with director/s and/or members of the production
team specialising in other stagecraft.


Promotion (including publicity)


Stage 1: Production planning
• preliminary research based on the playscript and the initial concepts;
• notes on how the themes, ideas and concepts in the playscript informed research.

Stage 2: Production rehearsal
• annotated examples of the stages of development of a promotional management strategy plan
selected from initial concepts through to final plan;
• annotated copies of initial concepts/ideas for publicity/promotion items selected from initial
concepts/ideas to final items.



Stage 3: Production Presentation
• records of work conducted with regard to maintenance and/or refinement of publicity/ promotion;
• annotated notes from meeting/s and discussion/s with director/s and/or members of the production team specialising in other stagecraft.





Set
Stage 1: Production planning
• preliminary research based on the playscript and the initial concepts;
• annotated notes of the ways in which set design could be influenced by the playscript.

Stage 2: Production development
• annotated examples of the set design selected from initial ideas/concepts through to final design;
• records of the stages of set construction and/or set acquisition.

Stage 3: Production season
• records of work conducted with regard to maintenance and/or refinement of set;
• annotated records of meeting/s with director and/or members of the production team specialising in other stagecraft.




Sound
Stage 1: Production planning
• preliminary research based on the playscript and the production brief;
• annotated notes of ways in which sound design could be influenced by the playscript.

Stage 2: Production development
• annotated examples of the sound design selected from initial design ideas through to final
design;
• records of meetings with director/s and/or members of the production team specialising in other
stagecraft.



Stage 3: Production season
• annotated sound schedule/s and samples of sound cue sheets;
• annotated notes from meetings and discussions with director/s and/or members of the production
team specialising in other stagecraft.



Stage management
Stage 1: Production planning
• risk-management assessment including identification of appropriate occupational health and safety issues and annotated copy of the rehearsal schedule and technical/production timelines.

• record of initial meeting/s with director/s and/or members of the production team specialising in other stagecraft.



Stage 2: Production development
• annotated record/s of tasks undertaken;
• excerpts from prompt copy of the playscript.

Stage 3: Production season
• annotated notes from technical and/or dress rehearsal/s and performance/s to an audience;
• annotated records of meeting/s with director/s and/or members of the production team specialising
in other stagecraft.

 



 

 

 

 

 



 



 





















 Unit 3 Assessment

 Unit 4 Monologues!

Here are the monologue plays for Unit 4. Scripts available on the net if highlighted:



  1. King Oedipus by Sophocles
  2. Skin of our Teeth By Thorton Wilder
  3. Wowza Albert by Percy Mtwa
  4. Songs for Nobodies by Joanna Murrey Smith
  5. Babes in the Wood by Tom Wright
  6. The Glass Menagerie by Tennesee Williams
  7. Lloyd Beckman: Bee Keeper by Tim Stitz and Kelly Somes
  8. The Entertainer by John Osbourne.
  9. On The Harmfulness Of Tobacco By Anton Chekov
  10. Ruby Moon By Matt Cameron
  11.  Tamburlaine The Great: Part 1 By Christopher Marlowe
Most of these plays are available at "Booktopia" at this link!
You must download the PDF from VCAA to see the characters and paperwork you must complete! Link Here!
Now for a little inspiration. Have a look Caroline O'Connor in her one woman show "Bombshells".  You tube link: http://youtube/5IepL3y9vuE

 

"Rosencrantz and Gildenstern Are Dead".

Here are the questions I will ask you at Tuesday's Final Audit:

  • In proper theatre language (using words from glossary) analyze and evaluate the use of stagecraft during all periods of production. (Planning, Development, Season)
  • Discuss in depth your contributions to the production and the effect it had during the season.
  • Discuss evidence of your contribution to the production.

Each interview should be at least 5 minutes in length.

You must watch this. Susan Boyle was asked "what was her secret?" She said before this moment she has sung every day of her life. What makes you good is practice...and don't let any one tell you "you can't". (Follow the link to Youtube!)

 

 

 

 

Completing Your Monologue Work.

 

I want you to read the play from which your monologue is taken. Finish the learning activity worksheet in Acting Smart pages 94/95. This will be due with your lines when you return from break. This material along with your "Character Description" (Page 96/ Acting Smart) will help you work effectively in performing your monologue.

 

 

 

You MUST  HAVE ALL   LINES  MEMORIZED THE FIRST WEEK AFTER BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

You must complete the acting smart work and submit it to me!!!!!!!

 

 

Unit 4

Outcome 1

 

Develop a theatrical brief that presents an interpretation of a scene.

 

 

This outcome will contribute 25 marks out of the 50 marks allocated to School-assessed Coursework for Unit 4. It will be assessed by one or more tasks which will contribute a total of 25 marks.

 

You are to do an analytical essay of at least 2000 words. You may include illustrations and annotated diagrams. 

 

  • write a brief that outlines an interpretation of a prescribed scene showing:

–    research focusing on the historical, cultural and social contexts of the period/s in which they playscript is set and conceived and influences on the playwright

–    analysis of the scene’s structure, plot and character and the place of this scene within the playscript

  • outline ways of conveying themes, images and/or ideas and applying theatrical styles to communicate intended meaning/s in an interpretation of the playscript

  • outline ways acting and other stagecraft can be applied to realise intended interpretation of the scene in performance

  • use appropriate theatrical language, terminology and expressions

  • have the opportunity to demonstrate the highest level of performance.

 

 

 

 

Outcome 2

 

Analyse and evaluate acting in a production from the prescribed playlist.

 

 

 

This outcome will contribute 25 marks out of the 50 marks allocated to School-assessed Coursework for Unit 4. It will be assessed by one or more tasks which will contribute a total of 25 marks.

 

You will have a SAC under test condition based on the MTC production of "The Cherry Orchard". In this test you will analyze:

·        analyse character/s in the production, including status, motivation and characteristics

·        analyse and evaluate interpretation of character/s by actor/s in a performance of a playscript including use of expressive skills, focus, acting space and non-verbal language to convey the intended meaning/s of the playscript

·        analyse and evaluate the establishment and maintenance of actor–audience relationship/s and ways theatrical style/s are utilised in the production

·        use theatrical language, terminology and expressions

·        have the opportunity to demonstrate the highest level of performance.

 

 

Outcome 3

 

Students will perform a monologue from a scene from a play from the Theatre Studies Performance Examination set by the VCAA. The monologue will draw on knowledge and skills from Unit 4 Outcome 1.

 

Assessment criteria

The examination will address all of the criteria. All students will be examined against the following criteria.

1.   The requirements of the monologue task.

2.   Context, which includes implied time, place and persons.

3.   Skill in applying direction.

4.   Use and application of theatrical styles.

5.   Use of acting skills.

6.   Application of stagecraft other than acting, dramaturgy and direction.

7.   Use of focus and space.

8.   Use of tension and timing.

 

 

 

 

End-of-year written examination

 

The student’s level of achievement in Units 3 and 4 will also be determined by an end-of-year written examination.

The end-of-year written examination will contribute 30 per cent to the study score.

 

Duration: One hour and thirty minutes.

 

Date: End-of-year, on a date to be published annually by the VCAA.

 

Description

Unit 3 Outcomes 1, 2 and 3 and Unit 4 Outcomes 2 and 3 will be examined. All of the key knowledge and skills that underpin these outcomes are examinable.

 

The examination paper may include questions which refer to stimulus material.

Students will not be required to use information and communications technology in the examination.

All questions are compulsory.

 

Approved materials

Students sitting for examinations are permitted to bring normal stationery into the examination. This includes pens, pencils, highlighters, erasers, sharpeners and rulers.

Correction (white out) liquid/tape and blank sheets of paper are not allowed in any examination.

 

Assessment criteria

The examination will address all of the criteria. All students will be examined against the following criteria.

1.   Knowledge of the ways theatrical styles inform intended meaning.

2.   Understanding of ways in which playscripts and contexts are presented to an audience.

3.   Understanding of the ways stagecraft is applied in interpreting a playscript for performance through stages of production.

4.   Analysis of the ways in which a written playscript is interpreted and realised in production.

5.   Evaluation of the ways characters are presented in performance.

6.   Application of theoretical and practical knowledge in the interpretation of a playscript.

The examination will be set by a panel appointed by the VCAA.

The examination will be marked by a panel of assessors appointed by the VCAA.

 

 

 

Extras for Year 12's

 

 

Here is the 1972 adaptation of "The Glass Menagerie". Its wonderful...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here's a link for the teacher's notes for "Ruby Moon".

 

 

 

 

Theatrical Brief Assignment

 

 

Here's the Link for a Hard Copy of this major assignment!

 

 

VCE Year 12: Theatrical Brief

 

Outcome 2

 

Due Date:  11/10/2013

 

Your brief must be at least 2,000 words. You should include:

  • A contextual background of the setting of your text: historical, social and cultural.

  • A contextual background of the time and circumstances of when the play was written.

  • Document the influences which acted on the playwright and the text.

  • Develop a list of themes , images and ideas that might be conveyed through stagecraft, acting and directing choices.

  • Draw up a graphic plan of the structure of your play, its plot and list of characters.

  • Consider three different theatrical styles before deciding on the final style of your interpretation.

  • Note how interpretation in different styles changes the intended meaning of the script.

  • Draw up complete inventory of the stagecraft tasks and items required for your final interpretation.

  • Consider at least three interpretations before deciding on a final interpretation of your scene.

  • You may include illustrations.

 

You should make this a gradual process and the brief should help you through the natural process of developing your monologue for performance.

 

Due Dates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

Due Dates:

All Lines due. Monos performed in class.

15/8

In double period.

 

Tuesday 3/9  7:30PM

Monologue Night (Year 10,11,12)

Perform Monologues in front of audience.

 

Year 12 Monologues

7/10 onward (TBA)

 

Year 12

Practice Exam (Under Test Conditions)

17/10

 

Year 10, 11 ,12

Due Date: 11/10

Theatre History Folio

Theatre History Brief

 

Excursion to MTC:

The Cherry Orchard @ MTC

28/8 11AM

Meet @ Belgrave Station at 9AM

All Money and Permission Slips Due

 

Production Analysis SAC

Year 10,11,12

SAC Date: 5/9

 

This Thursday there will be a monologue test for all 10,11,12 students.

 

  • Year 10,11's must have the first 15 lines of their monologue committed to memory. 

  • Year 12's must have 2/3 of their monologue committed to memory.

  • The following Thursday ALL LINES ARE DUE!!!!!

Here's a great video with some last tips on learning lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here's an absolutely fantastic video on memory technique:

 

 

 

 

"The Cherry Orchard" By Anton Chekov

MTC: August 28, 2013 

 

 

You must read the play before going to the show next week. Here is the link to a website which has the entire script....

 


Link to Script!!! Here!!!

 

 

Here is a synopsis of the play with a list of characters!

 

The play begins in the pre-dawn hours of a May morning in Russia. We learn that the cherry trees are in bloom even though it is frosty outside. Yermolay Lopakhin, a friend of the family, and Dunyasha a maid on the Ranevsky estate, wait for the estate's owner Ranevsky at the estate's main house, in a room called "the nursery". Lopakhin reveals that Ranevsky has been in Paris for the last five years. Lopakhin is a local businessman in his mid- thirties, dressed in a fine white suit (with gaudy yellow shoes), whose feelings towards Ranevsky are mixed between affectionate gratitude for past kindnesses, and resentment at her condescension toward him because of his humble, peasant origins. Also on the estate is Simon Yephikodov, a hapless youth nicknamed "Simple Simon" because of his frequent ridiculous accidents.
 

Soon, Ranevsky arrives from Paris, along with her daughter Anya, who has been with her there since Easter of that year; Yasha, a young manservant who has accompanied her on her travels; and Charlotte, Anya's governess, who brings along her dog. Also accompanying her are Firs, her 87-year old manservant; her elder, yet still infantile, brother Leonid Gayev; and her adopted daughter Varya; these last three have stayed in Russia but went to the station to greet Ranevsky on her return

Ranevksy expresses her joy and amazement to be home again, while Anya reveals to Varya the relative poverty in which she found her mother when she arrived in Paris and the way in which she continues to spend money. Varya reveals that the family's estate is to be sold at auction on the 22nd of August, in order to pay their debts. Anya reveals that Ranevsky's departure for Paris was caused by her grief over two deaths: that of her husband six years before and that of her son, Grisha, who drowned a month thereafter.

 

Soon, Anya departs for bed, and Lopakhin brings up the issue of the imminent sale. He proposes a solution; Ranevksy should parcel out the land on her estate, build cottages on the parcels, and lease them out to summer cottage-holders, who are becoming increasingly numerous. Gayev and Ranevsky dismiss thr idea, because it would necessitate cutting down the family's beloved (and gigantic) cherry orchard. Before he leaves, Lopakhin offers them a loan of 50,000 rubles to buy their property at auction if they change their minds, and predicts there will be no other way of saving the orchard. Ranevsky then lends some money to a fellow impoverished landowner, Boris Simeonov-Pischik. Peter Trofimov arrives; he was Grisha's tutor before the drowning, and thus he brings back painful memories for Ranevsky. Before the end of the act, after complaining about Ranevksy's inability to curb her spending, Gayev outlines three alternatives to Lopakhin's plan: a financing scheme involving some banker friends of his, Ranevsky borrowing some money from Lopakhin (without the condition that they then cut down the orchard), and a wealthy aunt in Yaroslavl who might provide a loan.

 

In the Second Act, we are introduced more closely to the young servants on the estate, Dunyasha, Yasha, and Yephikodov, who are involved in a love triangle: Yephikodov loves Dunyasha, Dunyasha loves Yasha, and Yasha is very much in love with himself. Soon, Lopakhin, Ranevsky, Gayev, Anya and Varya appear, and they are again debating over Lopakhin's plan to turn the orchard into cottage country. Lopakhin becomes frustrated with Ranevsky's reluctance; she, in turn, thinks his plan is vulgar, and says that if they plan to sell the cherry orchard, she wants to be sold along with it. Ranevsky reveals that she has a lover in Paris who has been sending her telegrams, asking her to return, and who robbed her, left her, and as a result drove her to a suicide attempt.

Soon, Trofimov appears, and gives several speeches about the importance of work and the laziness and stupidity of Russian intellectuals. In a quiet moment, the sound of a snapping string is heard, and no one can identify its source. A drunkard appears, asking for directions, and then money; Ranevsky ends up giving him several gold pieces. Disturbed, most of the group leave, except for Anya and Trofimov. They discuss Varya's growing suspicion that Anya and Trofimov are having an affair, which they are not; Trofimov declares that they are "above love". The act ends with Yephikodov sadly playing his guitar and Varya calling out, in vain, for Anya.

 

In the Third Act, Ranevsky throws a party on the day of the auction. The guests consist of several local bureaucratic officials such as the stationmaster and a post-office clerk. Charlotte entertains the guests with a series of magic tricks. Ranevsky worries anxiously about why Gayev and Lopakhin have not yet returned. Ranevsky fears that the orchard has been lost, that the aunt in Yaroslavl has apparently not given them enough money to buy it, and that Gayev's other sources have failed to come through. She and Trofimov get into an argument; Trofimov accuses her of not being able to face the truth, and she accuses him of being unusual for never having fallen in love. Lopakhin and Gayev soon return from the auction. Lopakhin reveals to everyone that he has bought the estate and intends to carry out his plans for the orchard's destruction. Anya tries, in vain, to comfort her mother.

 

In the last act, it is October, and the trees in the cherry orchard are already being cut down. All the characters are in the process of leaving; Lopakhin will depart to Kharkov for the winter, Varya to the Ragulins', another family that lives fifty miles away. Gayev plans to live in the town, working at a bank, Anya will go off to school, and Ranevksy will leave for Paris with Yasha, to rejoin her lover. Charlotte has no idea what she will do, but Lopakhin assures her he will help her find something. Trofimov and Lopakhin exchange an affectionate if contentious farewell; Yasha leaves Dunyasha, weeping, without a second thought; and Anya tearfully says goodbye to her mother. Anya worries that Firs, who has taken ill, has not been sent to the hospital as he was supposed to be, but Yasha indignantly assures Anya that he has. Ranevsky encourages Lopakhin to propose to Varya; but the proposal is never made—Lopakhin leaves Varya alone, and in tears. Finally, Gayev and Ranevsky bid a tearful farewell to their house. Everyone leaves, locking the doors behind them.

But Firs is, in fact, accidentally left behind, having fallen ill and being forgotten in the rush of the departure. He walks onstage after everyone else has left, quietly muttering about how life has left him by. He lies on the couch, and silently expires as two sounds are heard; again, the sound of a string snapping, and the sound of an axe cutting down a cherry tree in the orchard.

 

Character List:

 

Lyuba Ranevsky

Ranevsky's character is defined by flight, both physical and emotional. Physically, she is continuously fleeing from location: the play opens with her flight from Paris, home to Russia, after a suicide attempt provoked by her lover. We learn later that a similar flight occurred five years previously, after the closely spaced deaths (only separated by a month) of her son and her husband. The play will end with her fleeing again, from the estate she has lost, back to Paris and the arms of the very same lover. And her flight from Paris to Russia is paralleled by an emotional flight from the present to the past: she is a woman besieged by memories of her tragic adult life and seeking refuge in her memories of an idyllic childhood. Her first words on returning to the estate, "nursery!" indicates this. Her vision of her own mother walking through the cherry orchard reinforces the picture of a woman suffering from illusions, the illusion that she can recapture the idyll of her childhood and block out the tragic events of the past six years from her mind. Her rejections of Lopakhin's business proposals as being "vulgar" also seems a willful ignorance on her part, a stubborn refusal to accept the unpleasant facts about her situation and a flight from a fact about her current life, which is that she is impoverished and in debt.

 

Ranevsky's flight home, both in body and in mind, is doomed from the very start of the play, for two reasons. First of all, home is not the safe place she might have imagined it to be; it too is tainted by tragedy, as she is soon reminded of by the appearance of Trofimov, her dead son's tutor. She is unable to return to her idyllic childhood state; the memories of her tragic adult life remain with her, either in the form of Trofimov or the telegrams from her lover in Paris. Secondly, she cannot flee from her debts; the bank will remember them if she does not. But Ranevsky is paralyzed in the face of the impending destruction; unable to stay in the present emotionally, her flight from that present defeats itself, by making the loss of her estate and the destruction of the orchard inevitable.

But Ranevsky is kind and generous, and we get the feeling that for her, ideals such as love are not empty words for she has suffered for them. And she is well loved by not only her family, but also by Lopakhin, who says she has done many kind things for him and who also comments on her "irresistible eyes". So she is a sympathetic character. This sympathetic nature gives her loss of the orchard a poignancy that has made some call the play a tragedy. For Ranevsky identifies herself with the orchard, and she says in Act Two that if the orchard is sold, she might as well be sold with it. The orchard also symbolizes her memories, and we can see this in the fact that it places an identical emotional burden on her as her memories do; it draws her towards the past and prevents her from moving on with her life. The symbolism of the play is tightly woven with its physical details here, for destruction of the orchard—the physical symbol of her memories—gives Ranevsky a chance to move beyond those memories, a chance she will hopefully take.

 

 

Yermolay Lopakhin

Lopakhin is the character, more than any other, constantly in charge of driving the play forward; he is its source of energy and action. He is a character full of details, plans, and action; he outlines a plan for Ranevsky to save her estate, offers her a loan, ends up buying the estate in the end and readily informs us of the price of champagne (Act Four). But he too, like Ranevsky, is fleeing emotionally from his memories, which are memories of his brutal peasant upbringing.

What seems to hold back his flight is his attachment to Ranevsky. In his first moments on-stage, he tells of a time when his father beat him, but he also relates Ranevsky's subsequent kindness to him. Ranevsky is a member of the same landowning class that oppressed his forefathers and is also a particularly kind figure from his days as a peasant. Lopakhin's attitude towards Ranevsky is thus ambivalent from the start. He is grateful for her "kindness," but at the same time she is a key figure in memories that he has sought to put behind him, both in his manner of dress and through constant, hard work. This tension resolves itself finally in Act Three of the play, when he buys the orchard. His insensitivity to Ranevsky is not merely the result of his peasant upbringing, and the fact that he does not end up proposing to Varya, which would make him part of Ranevsky's family, is not accidental. They both symbolize the fact that he considers himself to have broken free from, or "forgotten," his past, and this means also breaking free from and forgetting his gratitude to Ranevsky.

 

Peter Trofimov

Trofimov is the "eternal student", as Lopakhin calls him, and he provides most of the explicit ideological discussion in the play. Trofimov makes the play's social allegory explicit. He idealizes work, as well as the search for truth, decrying the poor living conditions in which most Russian peasants live, as well as the "Russian intellectuals" whose inactivity he deems responsible for these conditions. His idealism and intellectualism make him a foil for the practical, materialistic Lopakhin, but he also serves as a foil for Ranevsky. His emphasis on truth over love and beauty and his orientation towards the future, contrasts with her devotion to love and beauty and her obsession with the past. These elements of both their personalities become united in the cherry orchard. Whereas Ranevsky sees the orchard as beautiful and interesting, to Trofimov it is a symbol of Russia's oppressive past and the dehumanization caused by families such as Ranevsky's through the institution of serfdom.

 

 

 

Mrs. Lyuba Ranevsky -  Mrs. Ranevksy is a middle-aged Russian woman, the owner of the estate and the cherry orchard around which the story revolves. She has faced tragedy many times in her life, or rather has tried to escape from it. Her first name, "Lyuba," means "love" in Russian, and she seems to exemplify love with her generosity, kindness and physical beauty, and sexual nature; she is the only character in the play with a lover. But her feelings of love often cloud her judgment, and she is also unable to control her spending, a sign of her disconnection from her present status as an impoverished aristocrat.

 

Yermolay Lopakhin -  A businessman, and the son of peasants on Ranevsky's estate. He is middle-aged, but somewhat younger than Ranevsky. His grandparents were in fact owned by the Ranevsky family before freedom was granted to the serfs. Lopakhin is extremely self-conscious, especially in the presence of Ranevsky, perpetually complaining about his lack of education and refinement, which he attributes to his upbringing as a peasant on Ranevsky's estate. His memories of the brutality of a peasant child's life on the estate contrast with Ranevsky's idyllic memories as a child of the landowning class.

 

Leonid Gayev  -  Gayev is Ranevsky's brother. He has several intriguing verbal habits; he frequently describes tricky billiards shots at odd and inappropriate times. He also will launch into overly sentimental and rhetorical speeches before his niece Anya stops him, after which he always mutters "I am silent" at least once. Gayev is a kind and concerned uncle and brother, but he behaves very differently around people not of his own social class. He is fifty-one years old, but as he notes, this is "difficult to believe", because he is in many ways an infant. He constantly pops sweets into his mouth, insults people (such as Lopakhin) with whom he disagrees, and has to be reminded to put on his jacket by Firs.

 

Varya -  Varya is Ranevksy's adopted daughter, who is twenty-four years old. She is in love with Lopakhin, but she doubts that he will ever propose to her. Varya is hard-working and responsible and has a similar work ethic to Lopakhin. She is also something of cry-baby, often in tears; but this may reflect her sense of powerlessness, as she is the one character in the play who may be most affected by the loss of the estate. She is the estate's manager, so she will lose her job if Ranevsky loses the estate, but, lacking money or a husband, she has no control over its fate or her own.

 

Anya -  Ranevksy's biological daughter, Anya is seventeen years old. She seems to have lived a sheltered life. She greatly enjoys the company of Trofimov and his lofty idealism, and is quick to comfort her mother after the loss of her orchard. Anya and Trofimov become so close that Varya fears they may become romantically involved.

 

Peter Trofimov -  A student at the local university, he knows Ranevsky from tutoring her son Grisha before he died. Lopakhin refers to Trofimov as the "eternal student," for he has been in university

most of his adult life. He serves as a foil for both Lopakhin and Ranevsky; Trofimov's ugliness, belief that he is "above love", and forward-looking nature contrasts with Ranevsky's beauty, her idealistic vision of love, and her obsession with the past, while his utopian idealism contrasts with Lopakhin's practicality and materialism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here's a review of the play we will see!!!

 

The Cherry Orchard
By Simon Stone (after Anton Chekhov) 
Melbourne Theatre Company
Until September 25

 

Unlike the world he wrote about in The Cherry Orchard, soon to be swept away by communist revolution, Chekhov's later plays possess an indestructible quality: they survive almost anything you can throw at them because they flow with the delicate current of human frailty – of ways of thinking and speaking to each other, or trying to – that we all share.

 

Simon Stone's adaptation conserves most of Chekhov's ideas and situations, sometimes expression. It's so faithful, asserting authorship (even "after Chekhov") seems disrespectful.

 

Zahra Newman (Varya), Eloise Mignon (Anya), Toby Truslove (Trofimov), Robert (Gayev) in The Cherry Orchard. Photo: Jeff Busby

 

Still it's good art, isn't it, so who cares? Well, it isn't good because it's new, it's good because Stone's true strength as a director – his ability to imbue ensemble acting with subtle energy, fluidity and fascination – is something you can't help but surrender to and admire.

 

Stone transfers the action to an artificially denuded 1970s imaginary. White walls – towering and severe – trap the actors onstage, adding an aura of burlesque (and perhaps a grotesque irony) to the misty-eyed nostalgia for a nature never once admitted into the scene.

Many of the transformations in the text, while striking, are superior cosmetic surgery on an already beautiful face: a billiards match changed to idle play with a train set, or Gayev's speech to a bookcase addressed instead to a games cabinet, for instance. Contiguous features, but why change them?

The first act of The Cherry Orchard is hilarious, and speaks directly to a narcissism that can seem peculiar to our age, but isn't.

 

Each character is so self-absorbed they fail to listen to anyone else, despite the appearance of constant chat.

 

It's beautifully done here, with characters bubbling up from a central stairwell. The dialogue is free, liberally sprinkled with physical and situational humour, verging on farce: it's clear that, like Chekhov, Stone regards The Cherry Orchard as a comedy.

 

The women are rendered with more subtlety than the men. Pamela Rabe's Ranevskaya, wounded and histrionic, is fierce and funny as the tragicomic locus of the play, leading her family's prevarication in the face of inevitable doom.

 

Eloise Mignon's Anya combines griping insight with naive presence, the latter a form of salvation. Zahra Newman's Varya avoids the mess through being aggressively bound to work, the non-event of her romantic life puncturing armour (swiftly put back on).

 

Nikki Shiels has a magnetic appeal as the nubile maid Dunyasha, cowardly in love, and Katherine Tonkin is elegantly amusing, playing Charlotta as a kooky new-age flunky.

 

The blokes can be too singular in their approach, not as multivalent, although Gareth Davies' charming slapstick as the hopeless, frustrated suitor Yepidhokov had the audience in giggles, and works well.

 

Robert Menzies' Gayev works, too, as a brooding and bitter familiarity, talking to the furniture as if he were part of it.

 

I was less keen on Steve Mouzakis' Lopakhin, a bit limited in his clownish vulgarity, to the point of caricature; Toby Truslove's blinkered intensity as the revolutionary thinker Trofimov is likewise attenuated; so too David Paterson's recessed arrogance as Yasha – while Firs, the ancient servant who gets trapped in the soon-to-be-demolished house, is memorably sketched by Ronald Falk.

Such pickiness matters little. It's true that the dense layering of emotion – the kind, sly irony behind Chekhov's diagnosis of human foibles – is sometimes diminished by, rather than the cause of, laughter, and doesn't come through as strongly as it might in this production. Yet Stone's take on The Cherry Orchard remains vivid and enjoyable, the ensemble utterly present and acting in concert. That's all too rare in Australian theatre – so rare you could call Stone's direction genius, if you liked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download Statement of Intention

 

 

  • Remember to fill out your statement of intention before going to the venue. Use the example available in Acting Smart.

  • Go over the monologue WITH THE CRITERIA IN MIND. You can find a list of the criteria above. Look at it before you perform.

  • Time your presentation. It should be no longer than 7 minutes. That gives you 3 minutes to set up. (10 minutes total).

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