PLEASE CAN I PLAY GOD? by Joan Haggerty


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A delightful, enlightening magazine article might be made of Miss Haggerty's recollections of introducing creative dramatics to children (and administrators) in a London slum school, but only ""converts"" will stay with her through personal minutiae--a bit of Kleenex to take out the soot in her eye, an icy toilet seat--and verbatim transcriptions of what the children said. The essence is emphatic enough: by Chapter Four, after a disorderly disaster, she decides that she has to learn quickly, because ""incompetence only gives free expression a bad name."" The initial answer to the need for control is group casting--everybody plays the same part in short scenes. This accomplished, the switch into individual casting comes in social drama, giving stylized expression to familiar situations and simultaneously confronting a practical problem. The next step is constructing a dramtic structure from a few elements--a black cat, a little girl, two robbers; and the climax comes in acting out tales from literature-- Firebird. Proserpine, Oedipus Rex. Reconstructing the children's interpretations, Miss Haggerty makes it all seem possible--and this is a good possibility for a select, committed readership, an extra prop for the occasional practitioner.

Pub Date: March 13th, 1967
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill