THEATRE LIVES ON...LINE
Our second lockdown has perhaps impacted our spirits and energy more than the first, and so it is with gratitude that I share some of the creative endeavours that Drama and Theatre students have engaged in during Term 3. I have certainly been uplifted by their willingness and talents!
In Year 9 Drama, students worked with classmates or family members to interpret and perform a short script. These ''neutral'' scripts required the students to create the characters and circumstances that could fit the dialogue, resulting in original and entertaining filmed scenes. You can watch how Isabella Varvodic's amazing set and costume design transformed her garage into a strange and mystical museum, where her trio of distinctive characters get a scary surprise. Big thanks to Isabella's family for joining in the fun!
In Year 11 Theatre Studies, we have been studying the Theatre of the Absurd, a style that originated post-WW2, and holds the existentialist belief that life has no inherent meaning. Well, we have to admit that this style (and one its most famous plays, Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot) has resonated with our current repetitive existence. Interestingly, we learnt that Beckett was inspired by the physical comedy of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, and so we did some Beckett-inspired movement improvisations exploring the comedy and tragedy of lockdown life, as you can watch here in Waiting for Anything to Happen.
Finally, I would like to thank the McKinnon families and community who have supported this year's musical production, Seussical Jnr. This production was an exciting initiative, where we invited senior students to be mentored as members of the production team, and support our mostly-junior cast. Just like the professionals, Covid-19 has driven us online and rehearsals have continued virtually in Term 3. Although a full-scale production is no longer feasible this year, the cast and I look forward to sharing some excerpts of our show with you in Term 4.
Drama and Theatre Studies teacher
Performing Arts Coordinator
YEAR 12 STUDIO ARTS: ART INDUSTRY CONTEXTS VIRTUAL EXHIBITIONS
Acclaimed Hong Kong artist and composer Samson Young
The pandemic has closed gallery doors worldwide, resulting in new ways of exhibiting and appreciating art in digital spaces. For studio arts students, this has meant the exploration of the art industry contexts area of study was an entirely online experience, facilitated by the talented gallery educators at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and Monash University Modern Art gallery (MUMA). On Monday 10 August, students attended virtual excursions to NGV’s Japanese Modernism.
Students were guided by educator Leah Santilli via videoconferencing through the complex processes of curating, presenting, installing, conserving and promoting specific and recently acquired artworks from the Asian Art collection. Using visual examples, Leah prompted students to examine the influences world events, social changes, and historical traditions and techniques had on this era of art making in Japan. Student Lina Nguyen offered the following response to Japanese Modernism:
“It was very satisfying to see the planning for the location of each artwork within the gallery space, and the curators' intentions reflected in these choices. Using a ‘Japanese high-end department store aesthetic’, curators Wayne Crothers and Annika Aitken depicted Japan’s embrace of western ideas of modernism and the fusion with traditional elements and style from 1923 to 1942. It was also fascinating to see the use of Matterport 3D technology to exhibit the artworks in precise details and mimic the real experience as if we were in the gallery.”
Students learned about exhibition design in detail, from the physical planning and layout of works in the gallery space to the many platforms used to promote the exhibition including social media platforms such as Instagram, FaceBook and Twitter, alongside more traditional outlets including radio, print media and advertising. They were also privy to rich discussions regarding the complexities of taking major exhibitions from a physical to a virtual experience for viewers in light of the implementation of Coronavirus restrictions. The NGV released a curator-led talk on their gallery channel and this is complemented by a 3D virtual experience of the exhibition, powered by Matterport. Both can be accessed via the exhibition page:
On Tuesday 11 August, students attended a virtual excursion with MUMA educator Melissa Bedford to explore the current exhibition Samson Young: Real Music. In light of current Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne, MUMA elected to provide a detailed video led by Real Music curator Francis Parker to guide viewers through the rich experiential detail of three key works by acclaimed Hong Kong artist and composer Samson Young, including 'Possible Music #2', 2019.
Melissa engaged students with a behind-the-scenes presentation which navigated the processes involved in touring exhibitions, including the safe transport and handling of large-scale works such as Possible Music #2.
Young’s work examines the experimental worlds of art and music to imagine a series of ‘impossible sounds’ from instruments that do not exist in reality or notation and that becomes ‘lost in translation’. Students were offered unique industry insight into how aspects of presentation and sound quality can help to fully immerse viewers in Young’s rich and telling soundscapes without the distraction of the myriad technologies that drive the audio itself.
Student Li Ying Yang offered the following response to Samson Young: Real Music:
“In the work ‘The world Falls apart into facts’ Yang Jiahui (Samson Young’s Chinese name) uses Moo Li Hua (jasmine Flower - Chinese folk song) as a cultural memory and contrasts it with the western translation and interpretation of the same song. For me the experience of Young’s sound artwork is very similar to Xi You Ji (Journey to the West), one of the four classics which nearly every Chinese person will have a memory of. I could be wrong, but for me, the white horse in the artwork gave me the impression of a link with Bai Long Ma (White Dragon Horse) from Xi You Ji. The white horse in the artwork made me think of the Chinese children’s song called Bai Long Ma.”
Ms Jessica Rogosic
Studio Arts and Visual Communication Design Teacher
With Lina Nguyen & Li Ying Yang (Year 12 Students)
CREATING ART IN ISO
I think creating art is a very useful and fun way to spend your spare time. Art can relieve stress, encourage creative thinking and can boost your self-esteem. I like to create art because it allows me to relax while I think carefully about each and every detail of the reference and how I can replicate it, especially because I enjoy drawing facial features. Making art is my way of getting away from everything happening in the world especially during these times and it’s something that I think I’m very good at.
It is important for students to be able to express themselves creatively because it really helps them understand and cope with their feelings. It is a way for students to find who they truly are and who they want to be. Expressing yourself creatively significantly decreases anxiety and depression and any harmful thoughts because it focuses your mind on the task at hand and allows you to clear your mind of anything upsetting that you may be experiencing.
Year 8 Student