Unman, Wittering and Zigo
- Pages: 3
- Word count: 645
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Think about how you would tell them to behave, speak, move and especially how you would have John react to the news of Mr. Pelham’s death. The play “Unman, Wittering and Zigo was written by Giles Cooper and was intended for radio, but was adapted for the stage. The play follows John Ebony, a new teacher in his early twenties as he deals with his new pupils, fellow staff and his restless new wife Nadia. The play concentrates on John meeting his new class and coming to terms with the fact that they claim to have killed their previous teacher. As well as dealing with his class, John encounters Cary, a fellow teacher whom he goes drinking with.
He finds it hard to come to terms with Cary’s attitudes to the modern world and regularly confides his doubts to Cary. John also finds it hard to live up to the everlasting demands of his wife Nadia. Scene Three is quite possibly the most important in this play, as it leads on to a lot of the event throughout the rest of the play. This is also the scene where John finds out that his class claim to of murdered Mr. Pelham, their previous teacher before John. If I was directing this scene, I would start it off with John quite formal as he takes roll, with the boys being casual as they remark on his roll call techniques.
I would then have John getting more and more nervous as her tries to start the lesson but it becomes quite clear that the boys are having none of it. This play was written in the 1950’s and set in a 1950’s grammar school; so the events that happen where the boys take over and they have the control in the class is rather unusual and personally I think that would never happen in a classroom in the 50’s. As we get to about line 60, the boys begin to patronize John Ebony, the way they put sir on the end of everything even though you can tell they don’t mean it.
In this scene I would have the boys continue to patronize him and John getting less and less authoritive until he gets really angry in lines 163-165 when he shouts at them and threatens to keep them behind. At this point Cloistermouth begins to tell John that they killed Mr. Pelham because he did the same thing what John did. At this point I would have a dramatic lighting change from the start of the scene to enforce the point that he is making to John, such as from white to red as red is the colour of danger and I think this would symbolize the fact that Cloistermouth is going to tell him something.
I would also make sure that all of the class turn so that they are focussed on John, so it seams that they are intimidating him. As the story of the murder unfolds I would have Cloistermouth walking around the room as he is the main storyteller and I would have him nearby each of the boys as they add a part into the story. Then a sharp change as the headmaster enters, with Cloistermouth sitting down sharply and John fumbling to take control of the lesson and appear to have the power, then the last part of the last line said by Cuthbun, “he’s gone.
There you are, sir, we’re good at alibis” should be said very patronizing letting the audience know that John no longer has the control. Overall I would direct this scene by playing on John’s reactions to the comments that the boys make particular in the telling of the murder. As John’s reactions get more and more worrying, I would have the boys facial expressions showing that they are enjoying making John nervous and that they know they have control.