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Alternatives to An Inspector Calls

Discussion in 'English' started by rachelsays, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. rachelsays

    rachelsays New commenter

    Has anyone got any tried-and-tested suggestions for a modern (20th/21st c) play for Year 9 that isn't An Inspector Calls? My department is a bit tired of teaching it - though the kids always love it - and we've all tried to find something else that will offer a similar level of intellectual challenge and engagement, but drawn a blank. A lot of the contemporary stuff that we've seen at the theatre recently either isn't age appropriate for Year 9 or doesn't offer much in terms of staging for us to be able to really teach them about theatrical conventions. The only alternatives we can think of are Miller plays, but we teach him in Year 10, and don't want to repeat, so we're a bit stuck.

    Any suggestions would be gratefully received!
  2. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    We did A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime (which is also on the AQA and Edexcel syllabi, helpful), which the students always enjoyed. We did it as low as Year 8 and as high as Year 11.

    There's also always Journey's End - especially if you are doing WW! poetry at any point - plus the playscript of Of Mice and Men.

    If you are still teaching Miller in Year 10, I take it you are doing an iGCSE?
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  3. rachelsays

    rachelsays New commenter

    Thanks very much for this. I considered Curious Incident but I wasn't convinced there was enough to it to challenge the students intellectually. I'd love it as a Drama text - performing it would be great - but the actual script itself is a bit lacking, in my opinion. I was surprised to see it on the GCSE syllabus for that reason. If you wouldn't mind, could you share your experience of teaching it? Did you find there was enough in the script and staging to get your teeth into? I'd be willing to take another look at it if I've perhaps been too hasty in my judgement.

    I love Journey's End but my department think it's a bit old fashioned. I've tried to persuade them otherwise but they're not having it, so I've shelved it for now!

    Yes we do IGCSE, and we teach all the content in Year 11, so in Year 10 we just enjoy teaching whatever GCSE equivalent texts we fancy to give them a good literary grounding, and then Year 11 is exam texts only. I suppose we could bump Miller down to Year 9 and do something else in Year 10, which would open the playing field a bit further as they would be more mature by then...
  4. thecagedbird

    thecagedbird New commenter

    I’ve taught The History Boys, My Boy Jack and Arcadia to Year 10 students and enjoyed all of them. I love The Crucible too, but if you already cover Miller that doesn’t help. Would maybe depend on the maturity of your students as to whether they’d be suitable for Year 9.
  5. valeriejayne

    valeriejayne New commenter

    I have always thought that Shelagh Delaney's A Taste of Honey would be interesting. Class, race, gender, poverty, single motherhood, sex...lots to challenge people there.
  6. rachelsays

    rachelsays New commenter

    Thank you for your suggestions - I love History Boys and Arcadia, but not for my Year 9s. They're not intellectually or emotionally mature enough to appreciate them - I teach in an international school and due to the different cut-off for year groups in our school, many of our Year 9s would be Year 8s in a UK school. I've not read My Boy Jack - I saw the film though and enjoyed it. I shall research the play script further - thank you!
  7. rachelsays

    rachelsays New commenter

    I'd forgotten that play! I need to re-read it. Thank you for reminding me!
  8. CaptGrimesRetd

    CaptGrimesRetd Occasional commenter

    If you want a challenging play which uses a very unconventional chronology with many jumps backwards and forwards in time, has an interesting setting and explores female family relationships over four generations, I'd recommend Charlotte Keatley's "My Mother Said I Never Should".
  9. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    I think A View From The Bridge is an ideal year nine play, boys and girls both enjoy it for the rich characters and incredible staging. Ideal prep for GCSE and Death of A Salesman. Not ideal.if you plan to teach AVFTB at GCSE! Also good is Dangerous Corner, by JB Priestly, or maybe Wilde's The importance of Being Earnest. Or Pygmalion with its views on class and language. Or maybe the play version of Animal Farm? Personally, for learning about stagecraft, Miller,Sheriff or Priestly are all great.
  10. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    'A Taste of Honey' really doesn't resonate with modern children in the same way that 'Look Back In Anger' doesn't.

    'Curious Incident' was on the A level syllabus till fairly recently, so challenging enough for Yr 9, I'd have thought. I've taught it in Yr 9 with great success.
    tb9605 likes this.
  11. dodie102

    dodie102 Occasional commenter

    Sorry I'm late to comment but have you considered Journey's End? We used to teach it at GCSE and the students often loved it - tears and all. At my school it also coincides with their Battlefields Trip so works in a cross curricular context. I'm probably going to teach it this year and see how they go. The language is a bit 'righto then chaps' but some of the characterisation is second to none. Unfortunately the recent film adaptation really doesn't do it justice but if you can see it at the theatre you wont regret it.

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