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Unman Wittering and zigo by Giles Cooper. Scenes 3 ,9 &24

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You have been asked to direct a radio production of Unman Wittering and Zigo, focusing on scenes 3, 9, 24. Elaborate how you would convey the growing tensions and changing relationships between the pupils and John in these scenes. We have been studying the play Unman Wittering and Zigo, which was written by Giles Cooper in the 1960's. Giles Cooper was born in Dublin in 1918 into a privileged home. His father was a naval officer, who later became a judge. Giles Cooper's father wanted him to become a diplomat or a lawyer but Giles chose to go to drama school rather than university. He was educated in a public school, subsequently the story is based on his own experiences of authoritarian teaching while he was a student. Giles Cooper was concerned about the effects of authoritarian teaching and as a result wrote this play. The play is about a teacher, John Ebony, in his first job who wants to make a good impression. He finds that the boys he is teaching are fractious and have a nasty habit of gambling. His life as a teacher rapidly descends in to a nightmare, and as the story goes on he begins to uncover the mystery surrounding the death of the previous school master. ...read more.


The students take advantage of John's inexperience and in doing so gain an advantage over John When the Head walks in, the boys carry on with the lesson and by doing this makes us think that they have done this before. This is the chance John has to tell the Headmaster about what they had said, but foolishly he doesn't. This shows that John's confidence has diminished. Furthermore John presumably does not want to tell the Head because it could create the impression that he cannot handle the class. In scene 8, convinced that the boys have committed some sort of crime, John takes Mr Pelham's wallet to the headmaster and suggests that it should be given to the police. However, (contrary to John expectations) the headmaster tells him off for leaving the class and ignores his concerns. "'It was in his pocket when he was killed' 'It is a practice which is always discouraged here. Every period should be worked through whatever happens'" The headmaster then changes the subject, suggesting he doesn't want to discuss John's concerns, by saying he wanted to invite him for dinner. This shows that the headmaster does not give John any support but more importantly does not want the secrets of what happens in the school to be exposed. ...read more.


The students begin to realise that they can't hold anything against John and moreover the fact that he doesn't seem to care anymore. Now it is the students that begin to panic. When John refuses to teach the lesson, the students retaliate by trying to show that they don't need him and haven't lost anything. They try to prove how little his withdrawal affects them so attempt to continue with the lesson themselves. "'And he's taking it out on us' 'It's not fair' 'Are we going to let him?' 'No. We'll go on ahead without him. Cuthbun, you're the best at history you take us'" This attempt fails as their independent learning skills have not been developed, and soon there is chaos when they begin to bully Wittering, taking all their frustration out on him. This is where the writer shows that, although too much authority has disturbing consequences, totally removing it would be just as harmful because anarchy would be the result. The confession and revelation of Mr. Pelham's death plays an essential role throughout the play. Not only does it disclose what characters authoritarian teaching can create. It also shows the extent of Cooper's passionate views regarding authoritarian teaching. The play is about violence and authority, the questions posed by the play are- Does authority prevent violence, or does authority cause violence? ?? ?? ?? ?? Mohammed Imran Daji Unman, Wittering and Zigo English Assignment ...read more.

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