Portfolio L3



Athenian Drama Level 3 Assessment, Module Code (09 07281):



A portfolio containing the following three items, due 14th January 2013 by 12 noon:

1.     Recording of one scene from a tragedy or comedy, produced by the group, maximum of fifteen minutes (group mark): 10%

2.     Commentary on practical piece (2,500 words): 50%

3.     Review of one other play in performance, including a study of its performance history (2000 words): 40%


Your Portfolio must be word-processed and neatly presented, with a table of contents and bibliography, in a simple binding. It may contain, in addition to the required items, illustrations including your own designs or story-boards.



1.     Notes on Practical Piece

This is the only element of your assessment which is based on the group’s work rather than on your own individual work. The practical piece is your interpretation of a scene from a Greek play you have chosen. Your interpretation may include for instance, the selection of a translation, a setting in time or place, a visual theme or themes (masks, make-up, costumes, location), the use of music, the use of texts other than the play script, reflections on the history and tradition of the play, reflections on its political message – and many other ideas.  Credit will be given for evidence that the group has thought about and researched interpretation and concept; that the group has either tried things out creatively or identified a successful method and stuck to it – that you haven’t been content with an unreflective ‘point-and-shoot’ approach.  The video footage will be assessed in the light of group members’ commentaries, so film which is not too impressive in itself will be redeemed if you can show (persuasively!) that it is the result of bold, but not entirely successful, experimentation…  Note that you will not be assessed on the quality of your acting! On the other hand, you will lose marks if the film and commentaries taken together suggest that the group wasn’t really trying.



2.     Notes on Commentary

Your commentary will illuminate the practical piece and inform us about the thought and research process that went into it. This is where you present and argue for your own view of the relationship between your group’s Practical Piece and the play/scene(s) on which it is based.  What are the key dramatic features of the original material you were working with?  Why did you choose this particular translation or adaptation? What interpretation of the material did you want your PP to present, and why? The archive visit will furnish you with ideas and information which will put your own interpretation of the play in the context of its performance history. Your commentary will address how you view your PP in that context. You will also have read critical literature on your chosen play, and you will discuss your interpretation in that context as well.

In writing your Reflective Commentary, keep the questions how and why always at the forefront of your mind: it’s not enough to say that such-and-such is ‘effective’, or brings out such-and-such feature of the play; you need to tell us how and why it works (or doesn’t), and what it is about the play that makes a particular kind of performance appropriate. (Note also that you shouldn’t see your Commentary as a ‘defence’ of your PPs – you can get just as much credit for showing how you would have liked the scene to look given infinite time and resources. Remember that what we’re interested in is your interpretation of the scene and the thinking behind it.)



3.     Notes on Review

This review may be based on performances from the Institute’s small stock of videos/dvds, a recording you have seen at one of the archives, or at the British Film Institute, or a play which you have seen in performance during the run of the module (there is a very good list of current performances on the website).  If you are in doubt as to whether a particular performance is suitable for your review, contact us by e-mail. The review itself should show knowledge of – and a critical response to – the play on which the performance is based, and should assess the decisions (or assumptions) which the theatre company have made. Questions you might address are:  What does this performance say about the play? Is it a coherent interpretation?  Does it reveal things which a reader might miss? As with the Reflective Commentary, keep the questions how and why in your mind: never just say ‘x is effective’, but explain what makes it so, why x is a suitable thing to do with this particular play. You are encouraged to engage with what other people have said about the performance, if available – e.g. programme notes, media interviews with the director, reviews by other critics or articles written about it in scholarly journals or edited volumes – but if you do so, you should engage with such comments independently and critically, not simply reporting them but giving your own reasoned response to what they say. In addition to reviewing the performance itself, you are also required to research the play’s performance history, either in the archives or through the available literature, or (preferably) both. You will be able to comment, for instance, on influential translations or adaptations, on particularly striking productions, on the political uses or abuses of your chosen play, and place the production you are reviewing in this context.



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