Lesson video

In progress...


Hello there.

Welcome to your Drama lesson.

My name is Mr. Burt, and this is the first of three drama lessons looking into unit of learning called One Text, Different Approaches.

And throughout the three lessons, we're going to be looking at how we can approach one idea in three different ways.

And in the first lesson, we're going to look at naturalism.

But before we do that, let's have a look at what equipment we need before we can make a start.

So in this lesson, you will need the following things; an exercise book, or a piece of paper or a pencil or a pen.

So make sure you've got those pieces of equipment before we make a start.

So this is the rundown of our lesson today.

We're going to start by looking at some keywords we need to succeed in our lesson.

Then we're going to do some learning about naturalism.

Then we're going to start thinking about the role of the director and in particular, the idea of the director's vision.

And then it's going to be over to you.

You're going to create your own director's vision for a naturalistic play.

And then we're going to finish the lesson with a quiz.

So keywords we need to succeed in our lesson.

We need the word director.

Now the director is the person who has overall creative responsibility for the creation of a piece of theatre.


Now naturalism is a genre of theatre, which is focused on creating strong characters and telling character led stories.

We shall expand on that more later in the lesson.

And directorial vision.

The directorial vision is the creative concepts the director creates based on how they want the performance to look.

Before we go any further though, let's just have a quick check of our understanding of some of that key words.

So what is the role of the director in a theatre production? Tell me now.

That's right.

The director is the person who has overall creative responsibility for the creation of the piece of theatre.

We're going to talk more about that next.

So the role of the director in a theatre production has three main roles.

They begin with the directorial vision to which then they need to communicate that to everyone firstly through the design and their role then becomes about overseeing the design.

And then it's about rehearsing the actors.

So it starts with the directorial vision.

Now the directorial vision is the creative force behind the production, it's things like what they want the audience to feel at the end of the production, how they want it to feel as an experience to be watching, how they want it to look, how they want it to sound, the ideas of the costume, the ideas of the set.

It's about bringing all those ideas together into a vision which then needs to be communicated to everyone else in the production.

It's a bit like creating a manual for the production.

So once they've got the directorial vision, the idea they need to communicate that.

The first group they need to talk to is the designers.

So the next job becomes about overseeing the design.

Here, they need to talk to the set designers, the lighting designers, the costume designers, the sound designers and the music they need, anything else that they need, theatrically wise to create the production.

They need to talk to them, communicate their ideas so that then the designers can go away with that brief and start making what they think is going to be appropriate for the production.

But that role doesn't just end there with the designers.

The designers need to keep coming back to the director checking that they are on track with their work, making sure that everything fits the directorial vision.

And that will happen right up until the end.

Their final job, which is the one that we're most familiar with is rehearsing with the actors.

Now for that bit, the director there is in the room, the rehearsal room with the actors, giving them feedback, helping them to achieve what they want to do in the performance.

But it starts well before that.

The director needs to have some idea of how they want the performance to be created.

So they've got to think about how the characters are going to be performed.

The characters backgrounds, the interpretation of the characters, the motivation of the characters.

This needs to be discussed with the actors at the very beginning.

So the actors then can go away and do their job which is to create that character, to do their research and then come together with the director in the rehearsal room to continue to improve their performance until they feel that their performance is achieving what they set out in the directorial vision.

So if we go back to the directorial vision, that document, that manuscript, that manual for the production really is the most important part of it because it's from that, that everything else is created.

So before we move on, let's just check our understanding of the role of the director.

One of the key roles of the director is to create that directorial vision.

But is this statement true or false? The director has to communicate their vision clearly to everyone else in the production team.

Tell me now, is that true or false? Yes, it's true.

It's critical that the directorial vision is clear, it's easy to understand and that it can be communicated well to everyone who's involved in the production team.

So let's turn our attention to naturalism.

Now naturalism is a genre of theatre and it focuses on creating strong characters and telling character-led stories.

Now it comes from the 1890s established by Konstantin Stanislavski but it is one of the most dominant styles in theatre, television, and indeed film.

And I think we'd all be quite familiar with it from what we watch on television, but it's still practised in most theatres today with directors such as Katie Mitchell leading the way in the 2020s.

Before we go on, let's just have a quick check of our understanding of naturalism and in particular what is the focus of naturalism? Tell me now.

That's right.

So naturalism is focused on creating strong characters and telling character-led stories.

So we're going to talk about why that naturalism style is and we're going to divide that up into storytelling, stage design and acting style.

So we'll start with storytelling.

So the plots of naturalistic performances are focused on character development and overcoming a floor.

The character, the central character needs to learn something about themselves that they thought they could never achieve before and improve themselves based on it.

The plot is very short in terms of the time span.

So a plot may cover just one or two days and then the story will be finished.

And each scene takes place in one location and in one time frame.

And so the stage stays the same throughout the whole plot act or maybe even the whole play.

It may always be set in that flat, in that kitchen, in that lounge.

And the sets and costumes sound and lighting is all very detailed and realistic aiming to achieve what you would expect in any typical location that you're being they'll play a set in.

So any typical kitchen, any typical lounge, any typical restaurant it's aims to be very detailed and as realistic as possible.

And that's much the same with the acting style as well.

So the characters need to be realistic and believable.

The acting style is also naturalistic as to how there may be that any person might react to similar events.

And an actors aim therefore it's to understand the character and to get the audience to empathise and make an emotional connection with them.

The whole driving force behind naturalism is to make an emotional connection between the audience and the character.

And it's through that emotional connection that the audience will learn something about themselves.

So if they can place them, the audience can place themselves in the shoes of the character then they might learn something about the characters perspective on an issue or something that they are expecting.

Let's just check our understanding of some of those.

So, which of these statements about naturalism are true? Option one, set designs are really symbolic and minimalist.

Option two, costumes are designed to be as natural as possible.

Option three, understanding and getting into character is really important.

Or option four, the timeline of the play often takes place over one or two days.

Tell me now, which of those statements are true? That's right.

Two, three and four are all true.

Of course, with option one, the set designs are actually really meant to be very detailed, unrealistic.

So now we'll get to your job.

I'm going to give you a commission.

I'm commissioning you to direct a play.

I want you to be the director and the play is on the themes of truth, justice and fairness.

Now the play follows the plot of a character who has been arrested by the police having been found running away from a burglary but the central character denies being involved.

Instead the central character says that they were running to the pharmacy to buy some medicine for that older sister.

The characters arrested anyway and is charged with burglary.

Now I want you to direct the play so it conforms to the style of naturalism.

Now this is the structure of the story as it would be in a naturalistic performance.

So we're looking at three scenes.

We're looking at scene one where we have a police scene between the police and the central character and the central character denies they have anything to do with the burglary and recounts that actions that night.

Then we move into scene two and here the police enter the scene with new evidence of the characters fingerprints in the shop that was burgled.

The central character admits that they are in the shop that afternoon but didn't get involved in the burglary.

That's how the fingerprints are there.

And then the play finishes with scene three.

Please find out that the central character has been involved in a previous burglary two years ago and the central character argues that they've been charged that they've changed since then and the police decided to charge them anyway.

So this brings us up to our first task as director.

And what I'd like you to do is I'd like you to answer me this question, what happens in the first scene? So write a detailed outline what you think happens in the first scene of the play.

Now remember to adhere to the naturalistic style of the production.

So it needs to be as realistic as possible but also still exciting and tense.

So pause the video now, make some detailed bullet notes on what you think actually happens in that first scene of the play and resume once you've finished.

Before we go on to our next task let's just reflect on the task we've just done.

And thinking about the scene that you've detailed have you been able to make it realistic unbelievable? How have you done that? Have you made sure that the timeframe of the scene is short? And within it how does that character, that central character develop from the beginning to the end? Have to think about those questions and let's move on to the next task.

So our next task as directors is to think about the set and how that's going to look.

So what is the set for our first scene? Draw out a simple sketch for the set of the first scene.

It doesn't have to be too complicated but it does need to show your ideas.

And remember it needs to adhere to the naturalistic style of the production.

So it needs to be as realistic as possible as to this where you want your first scene to take place.

So pause the video now and resume once you've finished.

Before we move on to our next task, let's just have a little think about the set that you've just designed.

Is it realistic based upon a police interview room that you are aware of? What kind of details have you included? Maybe just have a quick look and maybe add one or two things that you think actually would definitely be in a police interview room that you haven't included already.

And then let's move on to the next task.

So this brings us up to our next task as directors, which is about characterization.

But before we do that, we need some key words.

And our key words are given circumstances, interpretation and motivation.

Now characterization is the process that actors go through to create their character where they go from nothing to a full character.

And they start by looking at the given circumstances.

Now, the given circumstances, are all the information that the author gives us as actors about that character.

We use that information then to create our own interpretation of that character, how that character is feeling, emotional questions, factual questions what was their background like? And then we use those answers to those questions to create a motivation.

And the motivation is the reason why the character is on stage, what are they there for? Before we move on, let's just match the keywords with their definitions.

So we match these keywords with their definitions now.


So given circumstances is the basic information about a character, their name, their age, where they're from what's happened to them in the past.

We've got interpretation which is the information to create your own ideas for the character, things like emotional responses, how do they feel about being there? What is their relationship like with the other characters on stage? Then we've got motivation.

So why a character does something on stage? Why are they there? What do they need to communicate and why do they need to communicate it to the audience? So this brings us up to our next task which is to start giving structure to our central character and having some idea and interpretation of them before we begin to talk to the actors who are going to play the role.

So I'd like you to write a list of all the things you know about the central character from the plot outline that I gave you and the work you've done on them in the first task.

And once you've written that list then I'd like you to write another list of questions this time, questions of things you'd like to know about the central character.

And remember, we can identify questions in terms of factual things about what happened in the background and emotional things about how they feel about the situation they are in and their relationship with the other characters.

So you can copy out this table if you want some structure for your work, but write a list of facts and the list of questions about your character.

Press pause on the video and resume once you've finished.


Before we move on to our final task let's just talk about the task we've just done and creating that character.

How strong do you think that character is? Remember an actor is going to come in and look at your notes and talk to you about that character.

So would an actor be able to do that? Would an actor be able to come and have that conversation with you, look at your interpretation and work with that to create a performance.

Maybe just have a quick look at what you've done.

Are there any more questions that you need to ask about the character's background or how the character is feeling and thinking at the time or their relationship with any of the other characters? It's really important that when you actors come in they've got a strong idea of what they want and what you want to do in terms of that character.

So this brings us up to our final task today which is to write a short extract of the scene using everything that we've used so far as directors to create that directorial vision.

So write a short extract to the first scene so we can get a flavour of your ideas with regards to the scene and the character in it.

Remember to adhere to that naturalistic style of acting.

So it needs to be realistic as possible, but still exciting and tense.

Pause the video and resume once you've finished.

So let's just take a moment to pause and reflect on what we've just created.

We've just created an entire directorial vision for a naturalistic play.

And I want us to think about how well we've met that commission and how much our ideas conform to that idea of naturalism.

So let's think about the story and the story we've created and in particular, that first scene.

Is it realistic and believable? But yet, is it also exciting and tense? Does it happen within a short timeframe and focus on something about a character.

Whilst we're on the idea of characters, how has your character development work on? Do you feel that that character is really believable, really real that it could be a real person in a real situation.

And let's think about that situation and where they are and where that scene is.

So how about your set? Is that realistic? Is that detailed? Does that show what real life location might be? It's really important that we get all the facts and ideas out in our directorial vision because that is the thing that then will be carried through the rest of the production and that at any moment the actors or the set designers or the lighting designers will come back to that directorial vision to check that the work they're doing fits with your ideas as the director.

Before we finish up, let's just have a quick question about some of the key words we've learned in this lesson.

So true or false? Naturalism is focused on creating strong characters and telling character-led stories, true or false? Well, that's true.

Naturalism is all about creating strong characters and telling character-led stories.

It's about that in the way the story is told, the fact that it focuses on a character development and overcoming a floor.

The fact that its timeframe is within a short timeframe of a day or two, that the setting and the lights and the costumes are all realistic and believable.

And then the acting is also really strongly naturalistic and realistic and believable.

Why not share your work with Oak National? If you'd like to, please ask your parent or carer to share your work on Twitter tagging @OakNational or #LearnWithOak.