21.01.2019 in Analysis
Drama Exam Paper Sample

What is unique or distinct about the practices of the production of the play that we read:  The Curious Incident of a Dog at Night Time?   

The unique practices of the Curious Incident of a Dog at Night Time are in the preparations for the staging. The main idea of the director was to show real emotions on stage. “The action has to be incredibly agile: you have to imagine you are in a street one minute and then in school the next” said the director constantly to the actors.  She always taught them to be flexible, so indulging in what they were doing that the audience could feel the atmosphere of the inner state of characters. The things performed by the actors on stage were to be full of emotions. The actors should live their characters on the stage being different and changing their mood in several seconds.

In order to help students feel comfortable during production, a set of exercises has been created. New skills were introduced through games. One of the exercises – getting through the fancy locked door – helped the students show their skills in being spontaneous and creative. They used various techniques in order to fight with the obstacle: tunneled underneath it, tried to enter via keyhole or used dynamite to explode it. More difficult task was connected with showing of emotions. Students were asked to show their fears. They helped each other to confront the fears and interacted in an imagery way.  The last and the most difficult performance was to find a balance between the literal, imagery and emotional worlds. Once the instructions are followed the successful existence of the play is guaranteed.  

Choose two plays that we read that complicate space and time that transcend typical linear plots.  Discuss how the play manipulates time and space in the writing and staging of the narrative plot. 

Curious Incident of a Dog at Night Time describes Christopher’s attitude to the science and technology emphasizing that he asides about it considering that math and logic play more important role in the lives of the people. The time and space are described differently in the writing and staging plots. That difference is seen in the decorations presented on the stage. The description of the stars as the “molecules of life” in writing is transported to the stage through the luxury decorations. It is not easy to depict such sophisticated description on stage; however, skilful professionals manage it by means of cooperation of decoration and dialogues of the actors.    

In The Master Builder, the depiction of time and space is presented by the mechanical clock from the eighteenth century. This clock separates time and space that seem to be the dominant feature of the modernity. The theme of time and its influence on people is depicted through the problem caused by the usage of the local solar time. The clock was to be set for noon any time the sun reached zenith. The time was different. Therefore, there appeared such notion as “empty space”. The problem caused the discrepancy in the time zones that influenced every sphere of people’s lives. Later it was decided to stick to the common time in the whole Norway. 

Both of the plays depict how important time and space are in the life of people, and how difficult it is to depict that on stage.     

This exam is getting on your nerves and you just want to finish.  You are depleted and fed up with the world.  You feel nothing matters.  Exams, wars, grades, racism, poverty, abuse will never end.  Ok, maybe not.  If you do not feel this way, then just pretend.  Go to the play about Rachel Corrie and choose two sections that might provoke a change in your attitude.  

My life is sometimes getting me annoyed. I’m concerned about such global problems as wars, racism and poverty. When I face a new problem, it seems to me that they will never end. And I have a feeling that I will never have the opportunity to influence that. However, after visiting a theater and having watched My Name Is Rachel Corrie, my attitude to that has changed. Rachel was a young 23-year-old girl with ambitions to save the world. Her tragic death while protesting the razing of a house in the Gaza Strip proves the fact that fighting for justice is inside a person. If a person protects someone’s interests, she or he can even risk their life.   The description of a dream of “falling to my death off of something dusty and smooth and crumbling like the cliffs in Utah,” proves that her idea is the utter point in her life. Youth is such a period when one thinks he can move the mountains and prove the whole world that justice exists. However, this is a great risk as the system sometimes works against young blood. The play made me change my attitude to the problems, as I understood that the global problems will exist forever, and people have two ways out: to fight or to be depressed. The outcomes of fighting can lead to different consequences, even to death, however, the fact that you influence the world and prove your point of view is worth that. 

What significance does silence play in Scorched?   Ahhh.. the simple one line question.  Why didn’t the professor do this the whole time?  Well be careful, and please be specific.  The last line of this play is not said in vain. 

Depiction of silence in Scorched reveals the theme of living and death. It explains the meaning of the feelings and emotions that can be transmitted without words. In the plot, the woman spends five years of her life in silence. The enigma of this is closely tied to the theory of the reincarnation of her body. The grown-up children are transformed from their homes in Canada to the place where there roots are, to the Middle East. The silence always depicts something mysterious, and the mystery of life here is a key of the play. People sometimes do not realize that their lives are managed by some forces that are not even visible. Their past made them what they are now; they cannot understand how life was before they saw it. That is why they do not even think about that. The main idea of the play is to make people get away from their daily problems and transmit their consciousness far away to the past. Silence sometimes can tell more than the thousands of words. The mother does not speak, but she wants to teach the children to understand her silence. If they manage to do that, the gift will be worthless: they will be able to reveal her thoughts and their past as well. The understanding of their mother’s silence will turn them to the past and help them find their father they have never known and their brother they did not even know existed.


Choose one character in Quiara Alegria Hudes’ Water by the Spoonfuls.  Explore the ways in which he or she sought or refused help from others for recovery. What helped her or him?  What decisions did characters make that surprised you?  

Water by the Spoonfuls by Quiara Algeria is a tragic story of the mother’s deeds towards her children. Odessa Ortiz is the character that is interesting to investigate. From the first sight, she seems to be a saint who takes care of the lost souls. She leads a blog in the internet where people with different problems can find valid pieces of advice. She encourages everyone to write on the forum independently on the past life of a person. However, when we investigate her life deeply, we can see that her sanity is far from reality. She had a very tragic life story. I was really surprised by how a saint turned to be a devil after closer look. 

She was addicted to drugs in the past. Now she has been free from drugs for about five years. Her children were gravely ill, and Odessa had to give them spoonful of water every five minutes to keep them hydrated. The instructions were followed by her at first; however, that did not last for a long time. She was looking for drugs and abandoned her children to be locked in her house until the authorities have found them. However, it was too late, and the girls have died from dehydration.    

The other person who surprised me is Elliot, who cared for Odessa after all he had found out. It is the sign of a real addiction to a person when you love her even when you know everything about her.

Medea. Our first long play! You remember the basic story, but go back think about the play, think about Euripides, and different theories of Greek tragedy.  What are the elements of Greek Theatre that add to this play? Why?   See page 34 in handout I gave you or research this on the Internet?   

Greek tragedy is a specific theatre genre. Plays of Euripides always depict human and gods’ relationships. His plays are always full of tragedy that touches the deepest feelings of people. The plots have been based on the myths. The main features of the Greek tragedy are collaboration of the plot and form. The prologue was usually in the form of monologue, turning the spectator into the background. The tragedy is always full of realism depicting people in the form of insecure creature with the inner conflicts. 

In the play Medea, these features are present. Medea is depicted as a woman with her feelings and worries. The monologue before murders of her children transmits the emotional detachment to her deeds; however, this is only the outer depiction of her character. She acknowledges the weaknesses of her deeds. She is desperate and considers that killing people is the only way to destroy Jason’s life.     

The Greek tragedy aims to draw people into the worst scenarios. They are always unpredictable. The aim of this genre is to confront the gap between the image of the word and the real experiences people face. The aim of it is to explain that life is not ideal as it is predicted to be. Mothers do not always love their children, fathers are not always caring, and children are not always grateful, the marriages can be destroyed. The play Medea is a real representative of the genre that helps to uncover the deepest fears that live in people. 

Write what the reviewer focuses on in the production?  What do the like or what do they hate? Please quote the review; please let me know the author of the review too.  

The review Wounded by Broken Memories by Stars Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto, written for the stage production of The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, describes how the production on the stage depicts the feelings and inner state of the characters. The first that is in the focus is the overall atmosphere in the hall and the way it is designed. Decorations depict the mood of the whole play. Pool of dark, viscous liquid that separates stage from the audience make it understandable that the play will be deep and tragic story of the lives of the characters. The apartment of Tom, Amanda and Laura are decorated oddly with a focus on some objects and totemic significance. Each of those figures conveys a significant message to the audience.  

What was the most memorable is the play of the actors that characterize them as the deeply gifted stage artists. The emotional sharpness kept the author of the review in tears. It was about some times the play of the actors turned the audience in that apartment and those memories that the actors had.  Great production calls the memories of the characters and helps the audience to sink in the feelings of them. That is the main goal of each play. “I have never before seen a production that captures so completely or originally the idea of memory as this play’s driving dynamic, of recollection as a tyrannical, exorcism-proof ghost waiting to grab you by the ankle” claims the author of the review.

Choose a prop in Henrik Ibsen’sThe Master Builder and in Naomi Wallace’s The Retreating World that are quite significant in the telling of the story on stage?  Which prop must become magical?  Why?  

Prop on the stage created the overall atmosphere that the audience feels from the first minutes of the play. They show the nuances of the play that are not pronounced from the stage, but are very significant.

The play The Master Builder by Henric Ibsen contains such significant props as ledgers. They are considered to be the symbols of debt power. The ledgers are compared with the accounts. The domestic relationships are turned into business in the play: marriage is considered to be a financial contract that destroys love in the marriage. The debt to his wife always reminds Solness about his burden towards her. The ledgers help the audience to feel the mood of the relationships between the members of the family. 

Naomi Wallace’s The Retreating World has two very symbolic props. They are birds and books depicting freedom in Iraq after the Gulf War. On the one hand, these props are very easy to be retrieved: birds can fly and be free; books fulfill the life of people with good emotions. However, the meaning is deeper. These meaningful props depict the real sorrow. Ali suffers because he needs to sell his pigeons and books in order to buy food.   

On the first sight, props can be even invisible. However, later the audience can analyze what impact they have and what message convey. The good prop is considered to be the one that can be retrieved as a symbol only when people begin to understand their meaning in the lives of the protagonists.

Federico Garcia Lorca mentions photography in his introduction to the play, The House of Bernarda Alba.  Why does he mention this? How does it relate to the theme of the play?  Please mention a specific scene or incident where you see this in action.  

In the introduction of the play The House of Bernards Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca, the episode with the photo refers to a picture of Pepe. Angustias wonders who has stolen the picture. Magdalena and La Poncia believe that Adela took the picture. When Bernard enters the room, she becomes angry as the girls are attracting attention of the neighbors. When she founds out the cause of the quarrel, she sends LaPoncia to search the rooms. La Ponca returns with the news that she has found the photo in Martirio’s bed. The fighting between Martirio and Bernarda begins. Martirion though tries to explain that she has stolen the photo as a joke. All the girls begin fighting and stop only when Benarda silences them. 

The stolen photo highlights the overbearing sexuality in the play. Martirio has stolen the photo, and that fact emphasizes that even outwardly unconcerned character falls under the sway of sexual character. The main idea proved by this incident is that sexuality will come over, especially when people are restricted in their desires, like the girls who were locked. Bernarda loves her daughters, and her cruelty was caused only by the desire to protect them from the world’s pains. She understands that the men can have weaknesses and chase, but she cannot forgive that to women. However, the repression of the natural desire of people can lead only to terrible consequences. Sooner or later these desires explode because all human beings are the same and they cannot confront the nature. 

Annie Baker’s The Flick challenged many audiences that saw her play.  We only read it.  However, go back to play and what elements in the writing do you feel allowed for its success.  Choose a specific element of her style or design.  

The main feature of the play The Flick by Annie Baker that captures attention of the audience is naturalistic depiction of the characters. All of people in the play have their own phobias and are not afraid of talking about them. They are very close to audience and its inner state. People are often afraid of talking about something that scares them, and the play reveals the inside states of people by using correct phrases. The meaning of each word is significant; a lot of attention is paid to details. A lot of details and a simple understanding of them turn into cohesion that convert a simple play into a real sensation. The plot is quite simple; it depicts the lives of three workers. However, their lives are not as easy and boring as they may seem. That plot provided nuances of very trivial aspects of life that turn into a real successful staging due to the correct speech expressions and the play of the actors. The speech is so that even very deep thoughts with the long sentences are built grammatically correct. That is the main point of the play. The aim of Annie Baker is achieved; she transmitted her thoughts to the audience through dialogues. People accepted her talent and that was the biggest reward for her – to hear that the play with a simple plot has gained success and recognition among masses. On the other hand, every person could realize that all living-beings have the same feelings.  

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