This unit explores three non-realist texts which share certain themes and come from a range of cultures - ‘The Woman of the Sea’ (Celtic), ‘The Story of Persephone’ (Ancient Greece) and ‘The Black Rose’ (indeterminate). The emphasis is upon storytelling, drama activities and writing and reading poetry. The aim is to show students that meaning in a text may lie beneath the surface and that visual and poetic language can offer effective ways of exploring and expressing these meanings.
In Stage One, students are introduced to a series of drama approaches as a means of exploring a text and developing a response to it. They listen to the story of ‘The Woman of the Sea’ and engage in a sequence of drama activities - tableaux, role-play, hot-seating and forum theatre. The work on this text ends with them writing poetry themselves and a class reading of ‘Maighdean Mara’ by Seamus Heaney.
In Stage Two, activities are centred around ‘The Story of Persephone’. Students develop some storytelling techniques of their own. They look at some of the poetry that has been written about this story and use it to help make their own visual representations.
In Stage Three, students are given the bare bones of a story around which to develop their own tale. They then read the story of ‘The Black Rose’ and compare the way in which all three stories work and what they seem to be saying. As an optional final task students write a poem that begins where one of these stories ends, but this time taking a male point of view.