The product has been split into five sections or topics:
Section A: Staging the religious aspects of the play
This section encourages students to consider this complex theme and develop their own performance intentions for it. The article questions Marlowe’s religious ideas, looking at whether directors should view this play as a warning against the conformity of religion, or as a play that portrays the secular needs of the Renaissance age. It helps students to study the play from its literary context, looking at whether it should be presented in the style of a morality play or as a play challenging the established views of religion.
Section B: Creating a design concept
This section introduces students to the design implications of staging this play in a modern theatre. It looks at the staging needs for the various locations within the play and encourages students to develop their own design concepts that encompass a variety of factors such as the change in style between the serious and the comic moments and the gender issues within the text. The section also draws upon the work of previous theatre productions, to help inspire students’ own design concepts.
Section C: Character interpretations
This section focuses upon developing students’ performance interpretations of Faustus, Mephistopheles and the Chorus. The various articles encourage students how to portray Faustus’ many characteristics, such as his tendency to speak in the third person, his beliefs and his delusions. It looks at the role of the chorus and how this informs our understanding of the characters from a Renaissance viewpoint. The articles also help students to consider the performance potential of Mephistopheles and his paradoxical position of being an agent of Lucifer, yet also a character with emotions and feelings.
Section D: Directorial approaches
This section shows a director’s initial notes, when starting to look at the play. The notes detail the director’s initial performance interpretations for specific scenes, characters and aspects of the play. The notes will help students to understand the issues a director would face when forming their directorial intentions for settings, characters, performances and specific sections of the play.
Section E: Marlowe’s context
The final section outlines important contextual information about this play that could help influence students’ performance ideas such as Marlowe’s style of writing, the literary background to the play and the presentation of the play in Marlowe’s day.
A student could be given one section in its entirety and be asked to read through it, answering the questions as they read, or even highlighting important information relevant to their own studies and interpretations.
The sections could be used throughout the year as homework activities, class handouts, revision sheets, reference sheets or the entire product could be used as a revision pack when students are preparing for their exams. All of the topics could lead on to wider discussions within lessons, perhaps even written assignments. Either way, we are hopeful that students will benefit from the variety of thorough and interesting literary theories, performance information, contextual information and interpretations within this product.
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