Our sixth issue starts off with an excerpt from Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi goes to the Fair, in our rubric Texts Around Theatre. Pippi’s naïve take on theatre might make us smile, but could also inspire further thoughts about how children perceive theatre.
In her article Theaterarbeit an der Sprache: Archäologie der Subtexte im Fremdsprachenunterricht, Uta Schorlemmer (Occidental College, Los Angeles, USA) focuses on the dialectic relationship between theatre as an art form and drama pedagogy. Going back to theatre concepts by Stanislavski, Meyerhold, and Brecht she justifies working with subtexts as being beneficial to the foreign language lesson. Using practical examples, Schorlemmer shows how the creative exploration of situations and personae (including inventing and adding in background information that might motivate the character or scenario) can result in what Brecht referred to as “lustvolles Lernen,” a concept that might be translated as cheerful learning, or learning with enthusiasm.
Barbara Sinisi (Università di Cassino, Università du Siena-Arezzo, Italy), in her contribution Drama im DaF-Unterricht zur Förderung der Sprechfertigkeit: Ein Theaterprojekt anhand von Sketchen Karl Valentins, talks about her experiences with foreign language teaching at an Italian high school. A theoretical introduction problematizes oral communication in the foreign language lesson from a linguistic viewpoint, and also examines learner motivation and learner autonomy. This is followed by a practical theatre project based on texts by Karl Valentin, whose speech acts are claimed to exhibit a high degree of authenticity. Putting those Valentin texts on stage sensitizes learners to both linguistic and paralinguistic aspects of the foreign language (German), and thus also to the crucial factors for successful intercultural communication.
In their article Exploring ‘Drama as an Additional Language’ through Research-based Theatre, the authors Amanda Wager, George Belliveau, Jaime Beck, and Graham W. Lea (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada) present the results of a research project that focused on the extracurricular use of drama pedagogy in a multicultural and multilingual target group. Specifically, they looked at whether this particular approach, apart from furthering deepened language and cultural understanding, also facilitated community building. Another innovation in this context is that the authors are experimenting with an alternative, drama-based form to present the results of their research.
Christian Schmitt-Kilb’s (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/Main) article The End(s) of Language in Brian Friel’s Translations and Enda Walsh’s Disco Pigs and misterman draws on his teaching experiences in an English seminar in which he used texts by contemporary Irish dramatists. These plays, he finds, provide a perfect introduction to Ireland’s past and present. Schmitt-Kilb shows how language itself is a pivotal point – acting as a tool of colonialism or resistance to it, and a seismograph for tracking social changes within Irish society, including changes in the relationship to language itself as an expression of cultural identity.
This issue closes with two book reviews. Bettina Matthias reviews Thomas Müller’s monograph Dramapädagogik und Deutsch als Fremdsprache: Eine Bestandsaufnahme (2008), and Kelly C. Kingsbury examines the anthology Set the Stage! Teaching Italian Through Theater by Nicoletta Marini-Maio and Colleen Ryan-Scheutz (2008).
SCENARIO’s next issue will be compiled and supervised by our guest editors Almut Küppers (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Universität Frankfurt) and Carola Surkamp (Universität Göttingen).
We wish all our SCENARIO readers a creative New Year 2010!
Manfred Schewe / Susanne Even