You have been asked to direct a radio production of Unman, Wittering & Zigo. Explore how you, as director, would convey the growing tensions and the changing relationships between John and the boys in Lower 5B.

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Unman, Wittering & Zigo

You have been asked to direct a radio production of Unman, Wittering & Zigo. Explore how you, as director, would convey the growing tensions and the changing relationships between John and the boys in Lower 5B.

As this is a radio production not a stage play there are certain restrictions on the director: Firstly there are no facial expressions or body language, Secondly there are no props therefore we cannot tell where the setting is; Thirdly, to overcome these problems the director must use: Tone which conveys the loudness and softness of the voice of the actor. Dramatic Pause: is used to convey something important or significant has happened. Sound Effects, which help the audience to visualise the scene in their own minds.

The play is set in an English public school called Chantrey, which is a boys' boarding school paid by parents' fees. The school is very traditional but modern with squash courts and the War Memorial cloisters. The Head seems to run Chantrey School well as it has got a good reputation. I know this from pg 2 Line 9 where the Head says "we got 2 V.C.'s" (Victoria Cross: A medal awarded for extreme bravery in battle. John is not told by the Head of any problems or difficulties of Lower 5B. Moreover the Head tells Cary Farthingale (an art and third form French Master) to be John's mentor. Cary is not a good mentor because I know from the play that he drinks heavily. John is not told about Cary's condition and neither does the Head seem to care.

In Unman, Wittering & Zigo, Giles Cooper is criticising the effects of authoritarian teaching. He isn't presenting a realistic classroom but showing how boys can be corrupted by the way they are taught. Chantrey School concentrates on teaching the boys to obey instructions. The register is used as a metaphor to show the boys as a pack or group.

Scene 3 is set in John's form room. John is calling the roll (register). While John is taking the register, Cuthbun interrupts to waste time. The boys tell John that Mr Pelham used to make fun of Orris and Root. This takes place in Scene 3 Line 11-13. As a director John would be speaking in a serious and professional tone while taking the register (Lines 1-4). The conversation would be at a normal speaking pitch until Bungabine's laughter would raise the volume (Line 14). It is at this point John gives the boys a warning that if they continue to misbehave, he will give them detention. Near the end of the register when John is reading out Zigo's name, the boy's talk in short fast-paced sentences, each telling John a detail about Zigo (Lines 21-28). The next interruption in this stage of the play, is when Wittering gets jabbed by someone with a compass (Pages 12-14). John is angry at this point at Wittering, as he thinks Wittering is just messing about. A change in pitch occurs from complete silence to a loud yell as Wittering screams with pain (Lines 36-38). Short sentences indicate a fast tempo as John questions Wittering, who replies straightaway (Lines 45-53). The next stage is when the boys are: Mcmorrow and Purdies History of England (Chapter 9). Unfortunately because he is unaware of Wittering's dyslexia, John tells him to read. It is here that the boys tone is humorous as the other boys mock Wittering's inability to read (Lines 125-131). All this could have been avoided if the Head had sat down and discussed professionally any problems with John about his new form, Lower 5B. John raises his voice as he starts to lose patience with Wittering- he emphasises the word Wittering has read incorrectly (Lines 124-125). The tempo of Wittering changes from very slow (Line 112) to very fast (Lines 123) due to John rushing him. Stage 4 is on pages 17-21 when the boys try and disrupt the lesson. Unman begins muttering hypotenuse several times (Line 152). When John finds out it is Unman, he is so fed up with him and the rest of the class, he gives them all a class detention. The boys reply by saying to John that isn't a good idea. When John asks why, the boys reveal how they killed Mr.Pelham. The boys tone would be excited and proud when they reveal Mr.Pelham's death. This is a slightly morbid tone (Lines 190-220). The boys would be talking about their deed at a low pitch, as not to be overheard by anyone but John (Lines 205-213). The tempo of the narrative would be quite fast are the boys are enthusiastic to tell it to John (Lines 190-220). After Line 120 the boys decide to give John their alibis. This shows us the boys are working in a pack or group. The boys try to intimidate John by revealing exactly how they killed Mr.Pelham. On Line 239 the Head enters the form-room. The boys immediately pretend they are working in front of him and so leaves. John follows the Head into his office. Although John gives the Head evidence that the boys have killed Mr.Pelham, the Head refuses to believe it. John shows the bloodstained wallet to the Head to prove that the boys must have been at the scene of the death. The Head ignores John's opinion and tells John to go back to his class. The head also says the boys like to talk about death saying they are hysterical creatures. Because the Head won't support him John has got no one to talk to except his mentor, Cary and perhaps his own wife. This incident also destroys John's relationship with Nadia, who is John's wife because when John gets home he wants to go to the pub to meet Cary.
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Scene 9 begins when John walks into his classroom where he discovers the boys are bullying Wittering. The boys show no guilt and make no attempt to lie to John about Wittering. The attitudes of the boys suggest that they feel they will not have to face consequences because they got away with murder and the Head doesn't respond. The boys seem to know exactly what has gone on in the Headmaster's study because they know how the Head runs the school and exactly what the Head has said. It also suggests this has happened before. The boys ...

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