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Private Peaceful Two classroom activities: 1.Consider the Formats 2.Getting Dramatic.

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Presentation on theme: "Private Peaceful Two classroom activities: 1.Consider the Formats 2.Getting Dramatic."— Presentation transcript:

1 Private Peaceful Two classroom activities: 1.Consider the Formats 2.Getting Dramatic

2 Consider the Formats Consider the following four key changes made by the filmmaker in the adaptation of Private Peaceful. Discuss as a class how you feel about these ‘liberties’ taken? Are you loyal to the book’s extra subtleties and your own imagination of it? Or are you glad of the film’s clarifications and bolder strokes?

3 Consider the Formats 1. The establishing first scene of the First World War. What do we gain? – We know exactly where we are from the outset. A First World War story. – “The reason that the First World War has always resonated with young people is that a lot of young people were the cannon fodder, dying for a cause that they really didn’t understand.” - Simon Reade, the screenwriter for the film What do we lose? – It sacrifices the book’s mystery and slow-burn reveal.

4 Consider the Formats 2. Tommo going to war alone first. What do we gain? – “To tear the rift still wider between the Peaceful brothers, [the filmmakers sent] Tommo to the Front in advance of Charlie. Charlie resists partly for political reasons – he doesn’t want to fight a capitalists’ war – and for personal reasons: he doesn’t want to abandon his pregnant wife and soon-to-be- born child.” - Simon Reade, screenwriter for the film – Extra plot power. It “ups the stakes” of the character and adds realistic social context. What do we lose? – The crucial character point that Tommo always follows his older brother; the delayed introduction of Molly. – Character. The touching formative scenes in infant school where Molly protects Tommo; the sense she’s always been there.

5 Consider the Formats 3. Big Joe is less prominent in the film. What do we gain? – A clearer narrative focus on Charlie and Tommo while retaining the period themes of protection of versus intolerance of Big Joe’s difference (‘lunatic asylum’). What do we lose? – A celebration of innocence and unending childhood shown through an equal part for a third Peaceful brother at odds with the world. The entire chapter is cut where Big Joe was feared dead and found on the ‘heaven’ of the church roof, which so poignantly cues his oranges and lemons song sung defiantly at the death by Charlie.

6 Consider the Formats 4. More of the Colonel in the film. (Not just brief, telling extra lines and scenes – e.g. the faltering confrontation with Charlie in the pub where he embodies pre-war England in decline – but the way a ‘star’ actor can dominate a film.) What do we gain from Richard Griffiths’ performance? – A powerful reading and visualisation of the colonel and his Boer War England. A brilliant stereotype. What do we lose? – Sometimes these less-restrained ‘star’ performances can distort a story or distract.

7 Consider the Formats Summarising essay: Films have to make cuts, simplify. Explore the losses and gains of this. Aim at a comparative appreciation of the subtlety of literary fiction but also of film’s different – more direct – impact.

8 Getting Dramatic Today you will be trying your hand at a dramatic adaptation of a portion of Private Peaceful. First, as a group read through the worksheet: Example dramatisation of Five to Five (penultimate chapter) and the letters from Mother and Molly p.157, 160

9 Getting Dramatic Now we will read together, aloud, the full chapter Nearly Five To One. In preparation for adapting it into a dramatic scene, imagine you have been asked to write this key scene missing from the film (or write it as a playscript if you prefer).

10 Getting Dramatic For acting out this portion of the story: – Write for a group of 6: Big Joe, Tommo, Molly, Mother, The Colonel and a female ‘Village.’ – Your set/stage should include a ‘higher’ level above the human – sky/moon/heaven/church tower. Suggestions for the first scenes are done for you on the worksheet: Students’ own dramatisation of Nearly Five To One.


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