撰稿 | Ricardo Mason
翻译 | 周睿知（学生）
校审 | Jeanine（老师）
戏剧具备力量 | Drama has a power
A question I am often asked by my students is ‘Why?’
I asked this question when I was a student.
When a teacher hands over a book to a student and the student sees that this book was written by a person who died before they were born, how does a teacher make it relevant to their students?
William Shakespeare born 1564, died 1616. His works over 400 years old. How can his plays connect to the children of the iPhone generation?
Drama has a power.
Many writers have tackled the concept of drama in numerous essays and dissertations. Drama has been with us throughout human history from its earliest forms of one man shows telling fireside stories of heroes and grand romances, to full casts of actors in huge amphitheatres to audiences in the hundreds. Drama has used its power to enthral and entertain us. Drama is steeped in rich tradition and has been a part of our lives if we believe it or not.
Drama is a tool that a teacher can use to help take their students deeper, beyond the words printed on the page. To experience the emotions, the action, the romance, the power of drama for themselves. This can allow them to connect to the text in a way no classroom experience can.
Romeo and Juliet, is arguably the most famous Shakespeare play. It’s a story that resonates throughout the generations. The language may be of the 16th century and it’s setting much earlier, but with the right perspective it can be a play about today. A director can make the play relevant to its audience. And a teacher can make it relevant to their classroom, especially with a teenage student body going through the twist and turns of love.
Romeo and Juliet, is a play about romance and the how love conquers all, hate, violence, and prejudice. These themes are eternal but to make students interested in it they need to connect to it. The greatest tool a teacher has is drama itself. To let their students, experience drama first hand for themselves. This can be done by getting the students themselves perform the roles, engage the work and create their own versions of these characters. Or to see a production and see how actors bring the characters to life from the page to the stage.
Recently, a group of students had the opportunity to see Romeo and Juliet performed live on stage by the Royal Shakespeare Company. The event was shown in a small cinema that shows live performances from the stage across the UK. When the play was finished the students were full of questions about the relationships od the characters, and why the characters behaved in specific ways. But most importantly they enjoyed it immensely. They found it fascinating and they were eager to do it again. The experience really opened their eyes and they were able to see this play in a whole new way after this experience.
But romantic tragedies aside, what about other plays? Comedies such as, The Importance of Being Ernest. War such as, War Horse. Histories such as, The Lehman Trilogy. Crime such as, Twelve Angry Men. It’s all about finding what you like and how it can connect to the themes being taught during a course.
The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde’s Victorian satire is about values and how it can class with generations of people. War Horse, by Michael Morpurgo, dealing with loss in a time of great troubles. The Lehman Trilogy, by Stefano Massini, deals with the idea of family and immigration. Twelve Angry Men, by Reginald Rose, deals with prejudice and the ideals of justice. Having a play that can connect with the themes that are being taught previously with novels. Poetry or short stories, allows the students to appreciate and understand the nuances of the works before them.
△《The Importance of Being Earnest》
△《The Lehman Trilogy》
△《Twelve Angry Men》
Drama is more than just entertainment but also a way for students to appreciate literature in a way that speaks to them. To answer the question ‘Why?’ it is because those writers and their experiences are on the page, brought to life by actors. They bring that world to life in a way a novel cannot. They use language to bring themes and ideas, that are still relevant to us today, to the forefront of our minds. But most importantly drama lets us interpret it in our own way, and in doing so it becomes more personal in a way no works can.