Textual Analysis NAB
Drama
What’s in the NAB?
You will read an extract from a play you
have not studied.
 You will answer about 8 to 10 questions
on it.
 The NAB is out of 30 – you need 15 marks
to pass.
 You have all studied a play before so you
just need a few reminders about drama.
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It’s a piece of drama so remember…
It was written to be performed on a stage in a theatre,
to an audience.
 It is not real life but a play!
 Pay attention to any stage directions which help you
imagine the set:
 Where is the action happening ? e.g. a room
 Are there doors (as props) for the actors to go through
e.g. to leave / to enter another room / to make a
dramatic entrance?
 Are there windows (as props) for the actors to look out?
 What furniture or other props are used? Why?
 How are the props arranged on stage? Why?
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The characters are put across by the
actors.
We learn about the characters through the
dialogue:
 What they say and what others say about
them
 How they say it
e.g. tone of voice, pace of speaking
The stage directions often tell us how the words
are said and therefore how the character feels.
 The word choice also reveals feelings and
emotions.
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We learn about the characters
through the dialogue:
The type of sentences used can reveal
feelings and emotions.
 Exclamation sentences are easy to spot and
often suggest strong feelings e.g. surprise,
anger, fear, enthusiasm, joy etc
 Sentences with pauses [shown by ellipsis…] or
dashes may suggest some hesitation on the part
of the speaker or they may have been
interrupted by another character.
 Dashes can be used to convey the natural
rhythm of conversation (we often speak in
incomplete sentences).
We learn about the characters
through the dialogue:
The language used can reveal feelings
and emotions.
 Look out for imagery (similes &
metaphors)
 Repetition
 Alliteration
 And any other techniques you are used to
analysing in close reading or literature
The audience
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Characters sometimes speak directly to the audience to
reveal their thoughts.
In a Shakespeare play this device, called a soliloquy,
happens a lot.
Your NAB will not come from Shakespeare (!) but look
out for any ‘asides’ to the audience or longer speeches in
which the character is speaking his thoughts aloud for
the benefit of the audience.
Think about how the audience is meant to react to what
they hear or see on stage e.g. be sympathetic, feel sad,
laugh, be held in suspense……
We also learn about the characters
through their actions.
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The stage directions tell us
 Where
the character is on stage
 Their actions and gestures
 When they enter or leave
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The stage directions may also describe the
character
Here is a typical NAB question for Textual
Analysis Drama [1] Int 2
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How does the word choice in these lines show the
feelings of the character? You should quote two
examples of single words or short phrases and
comment on each to explain how they show his
feelings.
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To answer this, do not simply quote what the character
says ( and don’t put the speech in your own words).
First say what the feelings are, then….
Quote examples of the word choice and for each
separate example comment on the connotations of the
words – what the words suggest to us, not what they
mean.
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Here is a typical NAB question for Textual
Analysis Drama [2] Int 2
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By referring to one example of his
actions, show how the character’s mood is
reflected during this speech.
To answer this make it clear what the
character’s mood is.
 Quote from the stage directions to show
what the character does.
 Explain how this action shows his mood.
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Here is a typical NAB question for Textual
Analysis Drama [1] Higher
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Show how the dramatist uses dialogue to develop
your understanding of the emotions experienced
by [the character] at this point.
To answer this, do not simply quote what the character
says ( and don’t put the speech in your own words).
First say what the emotions are, then….
This is an analysis NAB so explain HOW
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How are the words spoken?
Tone? How do you know?
Word choice? (analyse)
Sentence types? (analyse)
Other techniques e.g. repetition
Here is a typical NAB question for Textual
Analysis Drama [2] Higher
Give two pieces of evidence which
reveal.. (something about the character)
 To answer this, quote from the dialogue or
from the stage directions.
 You don’t always need to comment on the
quotations but it might be safer to do so,
briefly.
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Here is a typical NAB question for Textual
Analysis Drama [3] Higher
By referring closely to lines …, show how the
language of (the character’s) speeches conveys
aspects of his character.
 Look at how many marks the question is worth.
 State an aspect of character e.g. boastful /
helpful / lonely…
 Quote evidence and justify it i.e. explain how the
quotation backs up what you say about the
character.
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