Just about all GCSE drama students love the practical element and often dread the written element. Why? Often because they are frightened of it. Why? Usually because they have little experience of writing about drama. Unlike other subject areas such as English where pupils will have had weekly writing practice since primary school days, drama written works emerges as a bit of nasty surprise in years 10 and 11! How do I gain top grades? My advice is
"read the question carefully and underline the key words" "Always plan your essay by making a bullet point list of the points you want to make", "if you are writing about how you would play a character in a set text, highlight the lines you intend to refer to" (these will be the most important ones in the scene or section, and/or draw attention to the central themes/social/historical context etc) and think carefully about how these would be performed (you may already have practical experience of playing these roles yourself or watched another pupil). Explain in detail how you would play this character (voice, movement, expression, tone, face, etc) and then make it very clear the effect you would hope to have on your audience. THE KEY WORDS HERE ARE "HOW AND WHY". In this way you will paint a very clear picture for the examiner and justify the intended impact on the audience. When reviewing a performance you have watched, you adopt exactly the same approach but explaining exactly what the character/characters did and then describe the effect it had on you/the audience.
Hints and Tips:
Don't tell the story
Don't write everything you know about the scene/characters
Don't forget to read the question carefully and underline the key words so you know exactly what the examiner wants to hear about
Do write in detail
Do make it clear the intended impact on the audience
Do look for opportunities to show your understanding of the play and the historical, social and cultural context
Do justify every performance idea
Do you need more essay practice before your written exam? If the answer is "yes", please contact me for further information on how I can help you improve your confidence and raise your grades!