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To kill a Mockingbird: Responding to text.

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This term we have been studying the play of "To kill a Mockingbird" in our drama lessons. We have been looking at the text and doing various tasks/scenes taken directly from the play and others based on what we think could've happened in the play. In this essay I will focus on my initial response to the play and examine the explorative strategies used and needed to make the play successful. Apart from that, I will be analysing which of those were particularly effective and why that is so. I will also be commenting on the tasks that helped me understand the characters and themes of the Play better. The tasks we have done so far, and the Explorative Strategies used are listed below: Scenes/Tasks done so far * Introducing characters scene * Pair work on racism- Scout being bad mouthed by a boy * Knocking on Boo Radley's door scene * Rabid Dog Scene * Jem thrashing the porch scene * Jem says sorry scene * Atticus protecting Tom Robinson from Farmers * Court Scene Flashbacks- work on Mayella's, Bob Ewell's and Heck Tate's versions of events that took place on the night of the alleged rape. Explorative Strategies used so far * Improvisation (Spontaneous, planned) * Narration * Thought-tracking * Mime * Script Work A lot of the tasks listed worked really well and had the desired effect on the audience, in conveying the right picture about characters and themes in the play. ...read more.


The outbreak revealed that Jem was actually the more emotional one who lost his head. The thing that really made the scene work was the explorative strategy which was Thought-tracking. As Jem was thrashing the porch, another person offstage said what was going through his mind at that point. This gave all the reasons behind the emotional outbreak and really allowed me to put myself in his shoes and understand him better. Although Mrs Dubose was involved in the scene, it still didn't give me a better understanding of her character, as there was no sensible explanation to justify her actions. On top of those, there was one other task that really stood out in helping me understand the characters, but mainly the themes of the play. In this task, we acted out the beginning of the Tom Robinson Trial. Mayella Ewell, Bob Ewell and Heck Tate each gave their own account of what happened on the night of the alleged rape, and we acted out what each of them said in the style of flashbacks. Bob Ewell was what would be considered white trash in the county. He was uneducated, dirty, he swore on every occasion and was very racist. This helped me with the understanding of the theme once again; even though Bob Ewell was the lowest rank possible in the white society, he still took pleasure in letting black people know that he was better off than them no matter how bad his status was. ...read more.


Jean-Louise was narrating everything that went on, so that if I was confused this really helped to clear things up. Taking all this into account, I would say that the various explorative strategies helped a lot by helping me understand the whole concept of the play, and by enabling me to put myself in various character's positions and act as them knowing what was going through their minds. In effect, the explorative strategies even boosted my acting abilities by giving me the necessary background needed to convey the characters emotions and feelings. My initial response to the play in those terms is quite good I would think. If I had the choice, I would have added some more explorative strategies at various places in order to enhance the understanding of themes and characters even more. For example, as we didn't get much information on why Mrs Dubose was being so harsh on the kids, I think we could have maybe included some thought-tracking there as this would have really helped to clear things up. I would have also had a frozen image when Atticus shoots the dog so we could see the shock and surprise in the children's faces at their dad. Hotseating is another major strategy that would have really helped with the understanding of characters. Hotseating the characters at either the beginning or the end of the scene would have really helped the audience understand them better. ...read more.

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