Teechers by John Godber, part 1
The demands of this element of the course are exciting, liberating and challenging. Edexcel has been sensible in actively encouraging staff to get involved with the directing, although naturally this comes with an increased pressure and a greater sense of responsibility for each student’s final grade. Some teachers thrive on this; others panic about making the wrong choice, which will ultimately impact on final grades.
Since the new specification was introduced, we have tried to strike a balance between the new and the old. In our department, we often have 25–30 candidates in each year, all of whom who opt to act. Due
to the logistics of option blocks, this has led to four or five plays each year, resting on the shoulders of two members of staff. We have a desire to innovate and explore new material but this is combined with a fear of getting out of our depth. Consequently, we have come to rely on John Godber’s Teechers; it has become a metaphorical buoyancy aid that stops us from sinking when the pressure is really on. The joy of the text is its flexibility.
Originally written for two females and one male, the play can easily absorb eight actors of either gender. The physical nature of Godber’s style helps to keep the work fresh, and we regularly discover new images and ideas each time we work on a specific section. The short scenes are good for rehearsals during lesson time, providing a natural target to achieve by the end of a session. They also allow students to rehearse manageable units of text independently before performing to the rest of the group – an important skill to develop for the A2 course.
Ultimately, it succeeds on so many levels, and the fact that the protagonist is a struggling drama teacher adds an extra sense of resonance.
- Play length
- Staging the text
- Understanding the playwright’s style
- Getting started
Number of lessons: n/a