A2 English Lang & Lit Students Visit The Park Theatre
On Thursday 1st March, second year A Level Language and Literature students braved the snow to attend a workshop at Park Theatre in Finsbury Park. We were greeted by Amy Allen, an actor, writer and workshop leader, who took us on a tour of the theatre itself, during which we had the incredible luck of meeting a wide range of actors, directors, producers etc currently working at the theatre.
The students saw a thriving local community theatre in action. After the tour, they were then taken to a rehearsal space where they worked closely with Amy to perform sections of David Mamet’s Oleanna. They considered specifically the theme of cultural capital, and how that theme can be enhanced by the delivery of the lines by the actors.
After a year of studying Mamet’s play on the page, it was a real treat to get to embody that text as a real stage play in a real theatre. We hope to go again!
Comment from Amy Allen at the Theatre:
"A huge thanks to your brilliant students. They were fabulous and I learnt a great deal from them. I loved how passionate they were and so intelligent at making sense of the text- it's extremely powerful to hear those words read so eloquently. They really respect their teacher and are buzzing with creativity and ideas, so hats off to Haringey Sixth Form College for its teaching and care."
A2 Lang and Lit statements about the trip to Park Theatre:
"I enjoyed the session yesterday as it enabled me to be more prepared for the exam. I was made more aware of more relevant contexts and how the play’s delivery affects the play’s meaning. This was invaluable as I will have to make some assumptions during the exam itself about how a dramatic text would be delivered by an actor."
"Through this experience, I learned how to deliver lines from David Mamet’s Oleanna. This will help me with understanding the way in which Mamet intended the lines to be read. I will use this knowledge within my essays – particularly since a dramatic text is intended to be spoken/delivered in front of an audience."
"The practicality of the workshop was very useful and the role playing and group discussions helped with understanding the text better. What I took away from the workshop was Mamet’s intentions as a playwright and how important he values language as opposed to props and other theatrical features."
"The workshop enabled me to really understand the play as more than a text by acting it out and witnessing the power in both language and prosodics, off the page. This is helpful as I will now be able to apply more analysis to the spoken element of the play, such as how power can really be expressed through tone in such a minimalist play."
"The Park Theatre trip was very engaging and hands on; it was nice to hear everyone’s ideas and opinions about the play. The way each group acted their scene made the play feel more realistic and showed the potential interpretations by actors taking on the roles of Carol and John. We did an incredible amount of work in such a short period of time, and I am confident that I can apply what I learned about the performance of the text to my exam essays."
"I think that the trip was very useful as it allowed me to consider more ideas about Mamet’s play that I hadn’t thought of before – specifically, what it would be like to perform as one of his characters. The workshop was a very interesting and creating way of engaging with the play. It also was instrumental as revision – throughout the session, I was reminded of certain facts about the play that I will weave into my exam."
"The trip to Park Theatre was really fun because we got to perform the text in a new environment, with actors, directors, interns, etc all in the building working on their own plays. It felt like being a part of a theatre company! It also reminded me that Mamet did not write a novel but a text that was always meant to be performed."
"I really enjoyed the trip to Park Theatre as we explored the text deeper by actually performing the sections of the play. It was an engaging and fun activity, where we also gained a lot of knowledge about how different people interpret the text and different opinions about the context of the play. Thank you to Angie for organising it and to Amy, the actor and teacher who was lovely in working with us. We had a great day!"
Photo credit: Peter Davies