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3. To Be or Not to Be

Written by Tommy Buteau
November 19, 2012

With the resources I had, I believed the students could come to an understanding of what resilience was all about. But, I needed a way for them to show what they had learned. I had been considering having them act out a scene from the play in small groups. I had done this in college, and I still remember the people who were in the performance with me. Yet, when I had tried this with students in the past, I always found the students swayed between approaching it simply as a farce, or by giving it a superficial reading without any connection or emotion. I needed something more tighly contained, something more focused.

Then, I found it.

In a project by the Australian Theatre for young People organization, I found a model of something which small groups of students could collaborate on and have fun filming. Then, we could put it together in a way that shows how connected we all are, how we can see this connection also in the great voices of our literary history, and how we can make something better through collaboration.

It worked amazingly well. Students were engaged right through the editing process. From three different classes, I got about 15 versions of the speech. No single version was perfect, but together we were able to make one version with all of the lines performed correctly. We were also able to show how each person in the film has had a moment of silent resilience in their life, a moment when they had to figure it out for themselves.

And, it was lots of fun.

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