Equus, by Peter Schaffer
The decision to run this scheme of work on Equus was taken before we knew about the Consultation Document that came from Wales in February and was so eloquently discussed by Valerie Goodwin in the last issue of Teaching Drama.
Through my own experience of teaching this scheme at GCSE and directing this play for AS level, I have seen first-hand the huge potential that this rich text has for opening up questions on universal themes such as normality, religion, mediocrity, extremity and what makes us human. It is a difficult and challenging text, and that is exactly what makes it a successful play for study. The central concern for any professional teacher is their students’ learning, welfare and ability to question the world in which they live. With significant care and focus, Equus is an exciting and challenging text to use in the drama classroom. Any play is open to interpretation.
A coursework project should always be seen as an enquiry into the social world, an enquiry that allows participants to reflect on values which inform a particular society from a particular time or culture and on the forces which shape it. It then becomes an exercise in deciding which themes or central images will best facilitate this enquiry. The assumption is that all drama has a context, and that context allows us to expand our reflection from the particulars of the project to questioning our wider world and our place within it. This allows participants to begin to formulate and then to question the values by which we live.
All the different specifications for drama require students to cover the following areas of study, and the coursework project focuses on these areas:
- Exploration (through experiential drama)
- Drama mediums and skills
- Drama elements and forms
- Performance (demonstrational drama)
- Evaluation and reflection
- The context of drama
Number of Lessons: 6