A Streetcar Named Desire
Edexcel AS Drama unit 1 requires the exploration of two texts, from two different writers published at least ten years apart. Each text must be explored practically in workshops, with students writing up their experiences and conclusions in their 3000-word exploration notes.
I teach this Streetcar scheme in tandem with Brecht’s Mother Courage and her Children, because it is such a contrast in terms of style, language and content. My students love creating the play’s steamy Southern atmosphere in the workshops in the studio, and they engage very positively with the characters. Williams’s play is a fantastic one to explore for this unit; students can interpret the scenes with great creativity and originality, or stick with the stage directions and focus on building exciting and complex characterisation.
The play deals with provocative and still-pertinent issues; domestic violence, psychiatric illness, immigration, rape and homosexuality all come up for discussion and must of course be dealt with cautiously and sensitively.
- To understand the social, cultural and historical context, how this can be realised onstage and how it can enhance impact upon audience when highlighted by effective performance
- To draw conclusions about the merits of the play and its value in society today
- To consider how applying non-verbal skills can contribute to the development and shaping of ideas for performance
- To discover effective ways to use vocal expression to develop and shape ideas for performance
- To explore the potential of the text for staging as a production using visual, aural and spatial elements
- To learn how applying sound, light, costume, masks, props and setting can contribute to the development and shaping of ideas for performance
- To understand how the meaning of a play can be interpreted in a variety of ways to convey different messages to an audience
- To explore, develop and hone characterisation through experimentation
- To discover new ways to take a play’s written meaning and convey it through performance
- To make decisions about characterisation and non-verbal communication and apply them to performance
- Understand the structure, language and characters used in the text, and how these can be used for effect upon audience
Number of lessons: 8