IN PRACTICE

It’s been a marathon, but I’ve now trawled through every resource and play on the website and put up more and clearer extracts. It should be easier to see, with the plays, the storyline, style and characters. For the resources. there should now be enough sample pages to have a genuine idea of the flavour of each one. There are examples of the theories of every practitioner and, more importantly, sample practical work to test them. That is the key to how I have worked for the last twenty years on EVERYTHING I do. Isn’t it true that students remember what they try out for themselves? Of course they need to know the facts; that goes without saying. But testing those facts through practical work means that they will remember it and more importantly, they will remember it in a personal way. This means that an exam question will be answered, drawing on their own experiences. They will not be churning out the dry old theories learned in the classroom behind the desk. They will have felt how it is to experiment with each theory and will come to their own opinion from the realisation of how it worked for them … THROUGH PRACTICE.

This is not just true for practitioners, of course. Everything is explored ‘through practice.’ Every text – and as you can see, there are many of them – whether it’s a classic like Shakespeare or Chekhov – or a more recent play – such as ‘Playhouse Creatures’ or ‘Our Country’s Good’ – are approached through the same spirit of practical experimentation. Practical work is suggested line by line, or speech by speech throughout the entire play – no skimping! And that practical work does not force a particular interpretation or physical approach. There are ALWAYS many possibilities of ‘seeing’ a play and translating it from page to stage, which is what we are expecting our A level exam students to do. I commonly suggest exercises which include a naturalistic approach, a political’epic’ one and a physical theatre one AT THE VERY MINIMUM – always at least three entirely different ways of approaching a character, a set design, the direction of the whole script, and often more than three.

I believe totally in this practical approach and I know it works! Try out some of the exercises in the sample pages and see for yourself…. Jeni

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