Something I wish I had done at the start of my EE process is conducted more in-depth research about the broader topic before trying to narrow my research question. I originally started with a specific mental illness I wanted to investigate in relation to the Theatre of the Oppressed but when I started my further research, I realised there were no studies relating the two narrow topics and so I had to broaden my research question again. This helped me as I was able to gain a wider understanding of the whole topic and choose the area within that which I was most interested in. In this way, being open about changing my research question really helped me to choose topics which I would both enjoy researching and find sufficient information on without the pressure of having to stay within the confines of a narrow topic.
Archive of ‘Academic’ category
Through broader research about Theatre of the Oppressed, I concluded that focusing on internal oppressions instead of mental illnesses fits more with the applications of Boal’s theory. My supervisor suggested I find empirical research to support my essay; however, I realised that due to the abstract nature of theatre and its psychological impact, the most evidence I would be able to find is anecdotal. I contacted Theatre of the Oppressed companies to ask for accounts of their progress although very few responded. I was able to find testimonies from workshops and learn a bit more about determining whether or not a workshop was successful or not and looked into other approaches to overcoming internal oppressions such as using TO in Medical Humanities courses which I think adds an important element to my research. My supervisor advised that I should outline more clearly what types of internal oppressions I am exploring and what made individuals vulnerable to these oppressions.
This week we chose a poem as a stimulus and started exploring some of the ideas within it. We noticed that the poem, in talking about utopia, describes quite a dull atmosphere, with lots of monotony, although the initial introduction to the perfect world is idealistic and bright. We brainstormed ideas of how we can develop the ideas in the poem and found other stimuli to help us explore them in more depth. We then took some of the phrases from either the poem or ideas from the other stimuli to explore in movement patterns i.e. I suggested showing a tree growing using our hands from the ‘trees sprouting’ in the poem and the idea of routines that become more and more similar from the text ‘each day the same, drip drop, drip drop’.
I found a talk from an ‘ex-perfectionist’ who talked about having lists to fulfil so that she was perfect. This resonated with me as this was an idea we could explore.
Group members: Lydia, Jasmine
This week, we explored the themes of the control of technology over humans and the issues with perfectionism and utopianism. We decided that we wanted to show a dehumanisation of our characters into a robotic, emotionless state where everything is perfectly planned and intentional. Our piece would be a transition from spontaneous humans to highly controlled, monotonous beings. We want our piece to provide an open interpretation for the audience and so instead of showing a breakdown in our characters trying to maintain perfection, we want our piece to end right before the supposed ‘breakdown’.
We want to use design elements to create a space where our performance takes place and a highly engaging setting so the audience can feel this happening for themselves.
We have been researching quotes, photos and artwork to use as stimuli to help us create our piece.
This image was particularly impactful as it shows someone consumed by technology, becoming a robot.
In this quote, we realised that perhaps monotony could be caused by people who don’t want to or don’t have the chance to choose things for themselves. Instead, everything has to be meticulously and carefully planned.
This quote gave us ideas about how monotony is very repetitive, which is an idea we could use in our piece.
This gave us ideas about repetition as well as perhaps synchronicity as it describes a lack of variety and so maybe all of our characters could start as very different and diverse and slowly converge into a very similar person. The actions we do could also slowly start to lack variety and we end up doing the same movements over and over again.
I think that my FOA went well because the topic was one that I could talk about easily and I was able to discuss and link technology and language quite well.
At the start of the FOA, I explored quite a lot of context explaining different types of technology, and how technology and society have affected language to develop English communication to its current form. I believe that although this was good to explore the background of language and technology and how views towards the interrelation of these two concepts have changed.
I also think that I explored the context of production of the texts I analysed well and successfully did close analysis. However, I may have wanted to analyse the affect of culture a bit more as both the texts I used were from similarly developed cultures (America and Australia). This would have been something that could have been addressed in more depth. I also think that I could have examined in more depth the primary and secondary purposes of the texts and the factors behind different audience receptions.
So far, I have learned much about the EE process. What I have especially realised today was that although I may not have fully consolidated my research question, it is important for me to be able to adapt my approach to the task. This is because as I learn new information about my topic through my research, I am able to understand more about the direction that I want my Extended Essay to have.
Today, I’m proud that I was able to accumulate information from many different sources as opposed to simply using one source.
To continue my process, I will continue to try and narrow my research question using information that I have learned so that I can explore a certain aspect further and in more detail.
I initially wanted to do a world studies EE with psychology and drama because these are the subjects in which I find the concepts are interesting and highly applicable. One link I found was dramatherapy for mental illnesses however, I found it would be possible to analyse this topic from only a theatre angle, perhaps in more depth. My research started with broader thinking about different types and variations of dramatherapy historically. I tried to narrow my research question by researching mental illnesses. I briefly learned about borderline personality disorder which intrigued me as it wasn’t a very commonly known mental illness. Therefore, research into this would expand my knowledge. However, I wasn’t able to find many different sources of information on dramatherapy for borderline personality disorder and I realised I couldn’t explore this topic from multiple views with varied, verifiable sources. I have since decided to try and redirect my thinking by going back to broad research about dramatherapy.
In this unit, I have learned about the difference between IQ and EQ. I think that EQ and IQ are both equally important and that they can both be developed by self-awareness and practice.
Generally, I believe that I am quite an open person and I try to be aware of my and others’ emotions and feelings which is a measure of EQ. The scores indicated on the EQ tests that I completed suggested that I had a slightly above average EQ. However, I do not believe that it is accurate as emotional intelligence is very hard to put a number to.
I think that I have quite high emotional intelligence although it is still something I can improve by focusing on being more self-aware.
For my first FOA, I thought that I did quite well in exploring how language used to describe netball contributed to the issue of gender equality.
At the start of my presentation, I analysed three different texts to establish the discourse. I believe that I utilised these texts well to explore the initial purpose of netball; however, I think that I was simply repeating similar points by analysing three different texts. Instead, I could have analysed one in more depth and spent more time on other aspects of my presentation.
I think that my close analysis of specific words was quite thorough and I was able to draw important points from very short words and phrases. I feel that one of the other things I did well was identify the effect that text type had on the intention and receival of the text although I think I could have analysed context and audience purpose further. Additionally, I could have concentrated on using more terminology to show my understanding of literary techniques.
Another thing that I could have focused on is commenting on the overall style of the text before doing close analysis so that I can introduce my points before showing examples.
This workshop had two main parts to it: creating a sentence and using an object to create movement, both of which focused on developing devising ideas.
The first activity was to write down any five words that we thought of, then writing words that we associated with those first words. We then chose three words and created a sentence from these words. I thought that this was particular interesting as the sentences that we formed could act as a stimulus in a performance which was seen later on.
In the second part of the workshop, one group was blindfolded and given a material (elastic string, cardboard, sheets of paper or rolled up paper) to ‘play’ with and explore. Some of the movements and sounds that came from this activity evoked emotions and stories from simply exploring a material. For example, the sound of tearing paper created a sense of distress. The blindfolds helped to block out the fact that people were watching and helped us to focus on the material that we were exploring. One thing that I found interesting was that once the material was taken away, most people did bigger and more exaggerated movements to try to emphasise the idea that there was still material there.
The other group was blindfolded and given material as well but were also told to keep in mind the sentence they had created in the first activity. This created more deliberate movement with much more emotion that was formed from thinking about their sentences. When they started to say their chosen words out loud, I noticed that the intensity of their movement reflected the intensity of their speech. Additionally, from saying their chosen words, it gave the audience context for their movements and produced a clearer storyline portraying certain emotions and feelings.
At the end of the workshop, we formed smaller groups to create a movement sequence with one of the materials of our choice. My group (Emily G and Lydia) and two other groups chose the elastic; however, the sequences were different. This showed how there are many different ways to use the same material. My group started with the elastic in a tangled ball and then we stretched it outwards to unravel it. We then played with pulling on the string and wrapping it around ourselves before letting go so that it bounced back together. We were then told to remove the elastic and we were separated so that Lydia and Emily were together on one side watching me and I was standing away from them, looking at the audience. This created a very different story but still with the main theme from the initial sequence.
I think that the word association to create a stimulus and techniques to finding the different ways to utilise material is something that will be very useful in future devising performances. I can especially use the exploration of the elastic in my collaboration project performance this year as we are planning to use rope which is a similar material.
1 2 Next