Unit 8 Task 4-Evaluation Of Presentations

After the final major project presentations to the group, I have had a chance to reflect and receive feedback on my presentation. As for my presentation skills, I am happy with how I delivered the information. I was organised and knew what I wanted to say to the group, as I had made a power point presentation, as well as having cue cards of information that I wanted to include. I had a structure to my pitch of ideas, which meant that it was easy to follow, as the information wasn’t being spoken at random. Another factor in my presentation that meant it was easy to follow, was the pace and the volume in which I spoke at. By speaking loud enough, it meant that people could hear every word that I spoke and by having a well paced but not too fast tempo, it allowed the group to have a chance to process the information I was giving them, as they had time to take in what I was saying and then follow it. I also made sure that I spoke with clarity and had good diction, again to allow the group to fully hear what I was saying, as I wanted to make sure that they understood the information I gave them. Yet another way in which I did this, was to make sure I faced the group and looked at them. This meant that I could capture tattention as it helped them to realise where they should be looking, whether that be at myself or at the power point. It also helped my presentation to become more engaging than it would have been, because by making eye contact, it helped create a connection and gave me a chance to show through my facial expressions, the enthusiasm I have for my suggested ideas. From what I saw from other people’s presentations, the people who sounded enthusiastic about their ideas, were the more enjoyable ones to watch and it also made me feel excited for their ideas. I hope that I from what I did, that I was also someone who did this. On top of facing the group, by not talking whilst changing my power point slides, it meant that the words I spoke weren’t lost when I faced the back. The pause also allowed for them to look at my power point slides and the pieces of art work I chose to talk about, as they weren’t having to multitask and listen to me speak at the same time. Although generally I am pleased with the out come for the delivery of my presentation, there are a few smaller things that I aim to improve upon for future presentations. The main one was to have a more defined ending to my presentation. After watching my presentation back, I personally feel like I trailed of at the end and could have ended it with ‘does anyone have any further questions’ or perhaps just make the decision to stop rather than trail off on the last few words. This was something that could have left a lasting impression, so is something I would have changed if I were to do it again.

Regarding the actual content in my presentation, I successfully included the artwork, with its name, the artist and relevent dates for both of my proposals. This meant that the group knew the main details regarding the artwork that I was inspired by and it also got across the key information. This will become especially important if the pieces are chosen and groups have to research further into the art because they will at least now know the key points. I am also happy with how I explained my first idea which was to have a ‘Alice In Wonderland’ inspired piece that was the modern day ‘Laura Wade’ adaption called ‘Alice’. I feel like I justified why I wanted it to be included from a personal perspective and also why it would work for the group. I talked about the appeal it would have for an audience and also why it would work as an idea. The only thing in which I would have liked to have gone into further detail on, was a little bit about the plot. I mentioned the fact it was a modern and slightly darker twist on the classic ‘Alice In Wonderland’ story but I didn’t say much about what happens. This may have been due to my eagerness to say everything or perhaps I assumed everyone would know the story as it is fairly well-known. However, looking back, I regret not briefly explaining the plot as I don’t think it was right of me to have assumed that they would all know it. It would have been nice just to go over it for those who did know it too, especially as the play I suggested was a different adaption. By letting the group know a little more about what happens in the play, it may have got the group more interested in my idea, as they would have been more informed as to what the performing of this piece would have involved. This is also true for my explanation of ‘Equus’. Although I mentioned the characterisation opportunities and both audience and group appeal to putting on a section from the play, I feel as though I left out a brief explanation of what the play is about. I had intended to do this, however I think I lost my place on my cue cards and so therefore forgot to include it. Next time I could avoid this by using a larger font on my cue cards as at times it was hard to see where I had gotten to.

For the link between the art work and the plays, I am especially happy at how I explained the link and also at the two pieces in which I chose, as I made sure that they had clear enough connection. For the ‘Alice’ proposal, I explained how it was instantly recognisable, as the illustrations and characters are well-known, but the fact it shows a complete juxtaposition between the classic story and the very modern adaption I have chosen adds an element of surprise for the audience. For ‘Equus’ I explained that the two images that come to mind if you know the play are a horse and a naked boy and then went on to saying that the ‘Picasso’ painting called ‘Boy Leading A Horse’, showed both of these things very obviously. Both pieces had a clear connection to the art work and I feel like the above justifications made sense and were logical, which is what I wanted to get across. Some members of the group, had artwork and proposed pieces with a very tenuous link between them. I think this may have hindered their suggestions chance in being chosen, due to the fact that it is hard to justify why the performance piece is relevant. Whereas it will make our performances theme stand out stronger, if the pieces chosen are clearly linked to their related art. The cast size and possibilities for my two pieces was also stressed in my presentation. I made it clear that I have picked very versatile pieces that can be adapted to what ever structure for the show that the tutors decide upon. They could have smaller sections and scenes picked or could both have the option of being done as a longer performance piece. This was a great advantage to the pieces I chose and so I wanted to make sure that I got this across to the group, in hope that it will encourage people to pick them as ideas that get chosen for the end performance.

Something that I would have liked to go into more depth on in my presentation, was my ideas for the technical elements. I did mention what I had in mind for the ‘Alice’ piece, saying that I wanted either bright colours or a black and white psychedelic theme to the set, costumes and props. This reflects the madness connotations and generally peculiar atmosphere through out the play. However I could have been more specific and  I could even taken my production ideas further and perhaps even have sketched out a few suggestions for costume and set. That way it would provide a visual element as well as just the auditory aid of what I was saying. Different people take in information in different ways and by having a visual element for the production elements, I would have made my presentation more engaging for those who are visual learners. Although this is the case, I still feel as though I got across the general idea for the ‘Alice’ piece, but I forgot to include that for my ‘Equus’ suggestion, that I would really like to re-create the original set and costumes used when it first premiered at The National. This would be something I would add to my presentation if I were able to do it again, as it is information that would have helped inform the audience to the vision I had for the piece, and what I had in mind. This could have been a deciding factor to whether my piece is chosen or not, so I will be certain to include these kind of details, next time I do a presentation like this.

Finally for my presentation, I feel as though I could have gone into greater depth when discussing potential problems or issues with my pieces. I think it was easy to get swept away in presenting only the good side to our ideas, as we know that only the best or most fitting ideas will be chosen for the end performance, so we wanted to emphasise how good they were in order to encourage the tutors to pick them. But looking back, I would have liked to go into greater detail on what realistically the potential issues are that we would have to overcome. For example things like saying the pieces are complex texts and may need a director, the scenes would need to be chosen carefully so that they fit the groups of people and also are appropriate, would have given a more rounded approach to the presentation and would have prepared the group for things we will encounter if my pieces are chosen. This is again something else I would include if I had the chance to do it again.

For other people’s presentations, there were several that included ideas that I really liked and think that they would work well for this format and project but also some where I think they may not work so well. The first person to present their ideas was Faye Smith. Overall she was confident and spoke at an easy to hear volume, which meant that I found it easy to follow what she was saying and could then understand what she was proposing  for the commission. She spoke in an enthusiastic tone and this helped her presentation to be engaging to watch. For her power point, there were some slides where I feel that there was too much information on the slides. As she was speaking whilst showing it, I found it impossible to listen and read it all at the same time. This may have been a disadvantage to her presentation, as the group and I may have missed out some important information about the proposal of her pieces or the content of what she wanted to include. However for her actual ideas, I liked her suggestion of someone singing ‘Tonight’ from ‘West Side Story’. I think it was clear from her presentation that she had considered the fact that we wouldn’t have a balcony with our staging and she had found video clips of performances which performed it on a flat proscenium arch stage. This really helped me to visualise her concept and also showed the group that her idea was realistic and could easily be performed. The only issue, is that the song requires very strong vocalists so if it is chosen, it would need to be assigned to two very confident and capable singers. However this was one of the ideas that I think had been thoroughly researched and could work well as it had a clear link to the piece of art she had chosen.

Another Idea that I particularly liked was suggested by ‘Brayden Weilbel-Seckley’. It was his second idea which he wanted an acted piece inspired by various pieces of ‘Banksy’ art work. He had come up with a really unique idea, to bring the characters that ‘Banksy’ has created to life, providing them a voice so that they could express their thoughts and feelings. He suggested that I would be one of the actors involved for this piece, which I was happy about as it was a very character focused suggestion and as I am on the acting path, this is the kind of piece that would interest me. It would also work really well to have us enter the stage and freeze in the position of the characters in the paintings and then slowly bring them to life. This was the part of his suggestion which made me think that the piece would look very visually interesting and would work really well for this commission. It would fit very well with our theme of art and life, as it is showing off the art work and literally bringing the pieces to life. It shows the audience the instant link to ‘Art’ and would be a nice piece to work on. It would also be really interesting to write the monologues and script the interactions of the characters as we would have to start from scratch. From my previous commission ‘Inspired By Film’, I realised that I really enjoy script writing, and this idea would allow myself to have more experience in that area and allow me to develop my skills.

‘Chris Gray’ was someone who had two ideas which I really liked and were some of my favourites suggested in the presentations. However, from his two suggestions his first one was the one I thought could work the best. Like myself ‘Chris’ had also looked into illustrations and found ‘I wonder what ill read next’ which is in ‘Matilda’. He had then made the connection to the song ‘I Wish I Could Go Back To College’ from ‘Avenue Q’. If the piece was chosen, it would allow for the people involved to gain skills in puppetry, and also get to sing. I thought this idea opened up new opportunities that normally we wouldn’t get at college and in the industry we want to go into, it is useful to have as many relevant performing skills as possible, so this would be something else for the people involved to have as a skill. He already has puppets and had thought about the staging possibilities for the piece. His idea seemed well thought out and he had found solutions already to any of the initial problems with the piece. I think it would work well for our commission, as puppets adds an exciting new element to a performance at Conservatoire East, as it is very different to anything we have done before. This also would give the piece a unique selling point to attract audience members who may be interested in seeing the show. He had made sure to pick a song from ‘Avenue Q’ that wasn’t potentially offensive, which is hard as ‘Avenue Q’ has a lot of them. However by finding one that is suitable for all ages, it suites our unknown public audience, as it caters for the lowest common denominator. This is another reason why I think this suggestion would work really well and puppets are something that I think younger audience members will enjoy.

Another idea which I thought would work well was one suggested by ‘Sophie Clare’. It was to have a physical theatre piece inspired by ‘The Railway Children’. I think that the classic story would appeal to a wide range of audience members as it is a very family friendly piece. It is also well-known, so would attract a lot of audience members who enjoy the classic story, but the fact it is physical theatre would add a unique spin on it and be something new and interesting to attract other audience members who may not know the story. There is also a lot of imagery in ‘The Railway Children’ which would be really nice to interoperate through physical movement and it would create an artistic look, which would work well as our commission is ‘Art and Life’.

‘Ines Gomes’ had a really lovely suggestion to perform a piece inspired by ‘Billy Elliot’. She wanted to have ‘Billy’ played by ‘Ryan Adams’ who is very castable for this role and you could see that she had really thought about who we had in our group and found pieces that would work well for us. This is going to mean that if her piece is chosen, the characters will be more believable and look realistic, as ‘Ryan’ does look like he could easily play ‘Billy’. I also liked the concept of him having to choose between boxing and ballet and their being a split staging with half boxers and half ballet. The pressure from parents to do a different careear to something regarding the performing arts, is very common and something a lot of the students here have faced. I think that is why it make it a very relevant choice for us to perform as a college, as it shows that the arts should be accepted and appreciated and that gender shouldn’t stand in the way of your passion. It provides a good message for the audience to take away and also shows what the college also stands for about taking the arts more seriously. What with very castable roles, good messages and a relevant topic, I think this piece could work really well.

The last of my favorite ideas that I think would work best for this commission, is one suggested by ‘Emily Scott’. Her idea was inspired by the ‘Starry Night’ painting by Van Gough’. She wanted a group to sing the song ‘Vincent’ by ‘Don McLean’. I really liked the song and think it would be a beautiful song for a group to work on and create the harmonies for it. It also had a very obvious link to the art work, which means it was a theme appropriate idea and would work very well as a piece. It could be staged in a variety of ways and I liked her idea that the people singing, could wear costumes in different shades of blue, to look like and match the painting. I thought this would look very effective and again stick to our brief of ‘Art and Life’, it was an idea I never would have thought of but would be a nice thing to include.

As well as their being lots of ideas which I thought would work well, there were some where I think the pieces may not work for this specific project. One issue that a few people may not have considered, was if the content of their suggestion was appropriate for audience members of all ages. As it is an unknown public audience, we may get people coming to watch of all ages and profiles. The content we provide is therefore an important thing for us to consider, as we will have to cater to the lowest common denominator. ‘Jess Weston’ suggested ‘ The Cell Block Tango’, which is very sexual in its original form and may not be suitable for younger audience members. The costumes are revealing and the song touches on subjects that are not necessarily child friendly. The other issue with this piece, is that it would be hard to source the right kind of equipment. It is set in a prison and the dance typically involves cell bars for the girls to dance around and on. This is something the college don’t have and we have a low budget for this commission. Hence why over all, I feel like this piece wouldn’t work. ‘Karolis Vaitkevicius’ also had a suggestion which may not work due to the explicit content. His ‘Last Supper’ comedy sketch may be too offensive for unknown public audience members. It would likely mock religion which would offend some people and on top of this, he had chosen a song with explicit language involved, that would not be appropriate for younger audience members yet again. It would be too risky to put it into the show and although he had some comedic possibilities for the piece, we can’t take the chance as it will likely offend people.

Another idea that I think may not work as well as some of the other ideas suggested is ‘Sabrina Tiberi’s’ idea of a ‘Romeo And Juliet’ dance. I really liked the concept, as a lot of people find Shakespearean plays to be one of the harder forms of performance to understand and by showing some of the story through dance, it would avoid the struggle from some audience members to understand the language. Although this is the case, she suggested it for twenty people. After the last commission ‘Inspired By Film’ I know how hard it can be to organise and focus larger groups across made up of the three course pathways. The ‘Titanic’ piece for ‘Inspired By Film’ ended up being cut, which we think was mainly down to how hard it was to organise so many people, who all have different timetables. I feel as though this could end in the same result as the idea of the piece is actually very similar. I think that for it to work, it would need a smaller cast and would need a director. That way, it would be easier to organise and then all the final decisions are made by one individual, which hopefully means that there would be less potential arguments. The performers would also then all get a more equal amount to do, where as if there are twenty performers like she suggested, it is likely that people wouldn’t.

‘Ryan Smith’ suggested a ‘Michael Jackson’ ‘Thriller’ dance piece but would have it as a spoof, as it would include himself, Justin and Karolis, who aren’t typical dancers. His idea was to have these three male actors who didn’t look like dancers but then actually perform the dance well. Although I admire his interest to want to learn a new skill with dance, there may not be enough time for them to learn how to dance well enough in just a few weeks, with no previous experience. It is perhaps too big of a task for them to take on this entirely new skill in such a short amount of time and to make the piece funny as ‘Ryan’ intended. For it to be funny, the point is that they would need to do the dance well, hence why it may not work as a piece for this commission.

Over all I am relatively happy with my presentation skills and the content of my presentation but would definitely go into greater depth in the areas I mentioned if I were to do it again. I learnt a lot about what makes a good idea and what will work well in this commission from watching my peers presentations and it also made me think deeper into what kinds of things meant that certain pieces like the ones I have mentioned, wouldn’t work as well. It is so important that we consider our groups castability, the audience we are performing to, the venue and so many other elements for this final major project.

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