FTTP module review (should you take it?)
As the start of term approaches, I thought I’d do the charitable thing and share my own first year experiences to help you out when it comes to module choices. You can thank me later. As an English and Theatre Studies student, you get to choose one optional core module in first year. You cannot be trusted with an ounce more academic freedom until at least second year. You can either choose between the available English modules (Epic into Novel or Modes of Reading) or the available Theatre module (From Text to Performance). For Theatre and Performance students FTTP is compulsory. I chose From Text to Performance due to my own interest in directing and because it gave me chance to explore how to successfully turn a concept into a fully realised production, something I wanted to pursue at university on an extra-curricular level. Also, FTTP is assessed, in part, through a practical performance opportunity.
Term 1 is where you focus entirely on one text, in our case Hamlet, and how different productions of it would get from page to stage and what that artistic/dramaturgical journey involved. We looked at various productions, such as the 2015 National Theatre production but also more radical re-imaginings of the source material like 2016 RSC revival starring Paapa Essiedu. Term 2 is primarily concerned with the idea of adaptation: what makes a successful adaptation, ways to go about adapting a text and you consider examples of how the text you are studying has previously been adapted.
This module is assessed in two parts, the first of which is a Director’s Pitch. In a small group (of your choice) you have to create a presentation that details how precisely you would stage a production of your given text. Last year, our text for the assessment was the Greek tragedy Antigone, although we had done a lot of work on Hamlet in Term 1. Within our presentation we explored the following components:
OUR CONCEPT AND THEMATICS
WHY THIS CONCEPT NOW?
VISUAL IDENTITY OF THE PRODUCTION
The second part of your assessment is to create a short adaptation of the text, using your feedback from the previous Director’s Pitch, and to perform it (in any other year, live to an audience but due to the unprecedented circumstances we recorded our performance and presented it digitally). I’ll link our final performance piece below, but we chose to focus our adaptation on character assassination.
This module is actually a lot of fun. Trying to record a modern-day adaptation of an ancient text during a pandemic and not being able to access many studio spaces to record your performance due to government mandated restrictions on social contact made it even more fun. For English and Theatre studies students especially, this module offers a rare chance to be practically assessed in a group-based task. As a first year, this gives you chance to meet new students from across different courses and, additionally, to break up the (dare I say it) monotony of essay writing.
Our final performance:
If you have any further questions about this module, feel free to message me privately.
Until next time,