The teachers of Language and Literature do not stop repeating to the students that a theatrical script is only so, if the writer’s aim is to produce it so it could be acted. A part from that, of course, there is the absence of a narrator, and those two things are what makes it different from a novel. At SEK-Les Alpes we wanted to become playwrights and for this we had to be able to produce our plays.
First we chose a short novel by Edgar Allan Poe, ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’, this book is considered the germ of the detective novel. In class we divided this book among our students, they had to transform this narrative text into a script. The great difficulty that our students faced, like all Hollywood screenwriters, was eliminating the narrator. It is not easy to tell a story only through acting and dialogue. Learning how to use the comments and eliminate this key character from the original text were our great challenges.
However, as we said at the beginning, theater is not theater, if it is not acted. So through a tool for animated presentations, we brought to life our fragments of the play. The objective of this part of the activity was for them to see their works acted on stage in order to be able to reflect about them. Sometimes what we write on paper is very good on paper and it can become a great novel, but when it is acted the dialogues are too long and heavy or, on the contrary, they are too short and it seems that you are watching a game of ping-pong. So to finish the activity, they had to become critics of their own play and find where they could improve.
It was a fun activity of analysis and reflection that helped them to strengthen their critical capacity and to understand a little better the old debate about what is better the novel or the movie. Regardless of personal preference, we have understood that they are simply different texts that use different resources.