A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller
A View from the Bridge is one of the Unit 3 Section B texts for the AQA A2 written exam. As a result, students prepare to focus, as a director, on one approximately 75-line extract from the play, using their knowledge of the context of the scene and their practical work in class to bring the extract to life. The question asks them specifically to focus on how they will bring out their own interpretation of the scene for an audience. A View from the Bridge is a deceptively complex play in terms of style, as it moves between naturalistic drama and more stylised forms of presentation. It is a clear example of a modern Greek tragedy, and it is vital that students have some awareness of this genre and its conventions in order to succeed in this paper and also understand the struggle of the central character, Eddie Carbone. A View from the Bridge is an excellent companion piece to Antigone.
The aim of this scheme of work is to suggest approaches to the director question for Unit 3 Section B and ways into two key example sections of the play, similar to those students will meet in the final exam. The structure of the opening paragraph is vital here, and it is essential that students have an understanding of who the central character is in each extract attempted. While not all students will agree on who that character actually is, the decision needs to be made and will be the central focus for all other directing ideas stated in their response.
This scheme of work is based on the premise that all students will have already read the play and have a general understanding of the plot and themes. I will be focusing on two specific extracts from the play in keeping with the demands of the Unit 3 Section B question, looking at how to interpret those extracts and how to scaffold essays that will hit the mark schemes as often as possible.
The question for this part of the AQA A2 written exam is the same every year; it is only the 75 lines long (approximately) extract that changes, so a particular format for approaching the essays in this unit can be developed successfully.
The question asks students to stage the extract so that their interpretation of it will be brought out for an audience. I think it is most important to consider this question and its demands from the point of view of the actors and the design team who are following the director’s wishes, and this is the approach that I take with my students. The question for them is: Can I give their essay to a team of actors and designers and will they be able to clearly follow the ideas contained therein? Will those ideas reveal a comprehensive understanding of the play’s themes, context, characters and the intentions of the playwright?
Number of lessons: 2