Home' Teacher : April 2011 Contents CURRICULUM & ASSESSMENT 25
between the audience and the actor is inti-
mate and immediate. The audience isn't
passive, like they are in a film, say; they're
engaging with the actor to create the perfor-
mance, because it's their response that feeds
into how the performance travels along.
BJ: How do you want the audience to feel
at the end of this?
By setting up the construct of them com-
ing into a lounge room we wanted them to
feel like they're visiting a relative, in this
case a grandfather. So we want them to feel
at home, we want them to feel a part of this
experience, but we also want them to be a
witness to a young person watching the pro-
cess of ageing and grappling with his own
identity and trying to find out more about
himself through his grandfather. It brings
up questions of what gets passed down
through generations and studies particu-
larly the male line, so issues that come up
in relation to men and the challenges that
they face. So we want the audience to have
an experience which is fun and interactive,
but also something that is poignant and that
they can relate to.
BJ: What opportunities does live theatre
give to teachers?
Well for one thing it gives an example of
how you can make a piece of theatre from
anything, from an assign ment you did at
high school, that can become a piece of
theatre that you share with other people.
From an educational point of the view, the
students can see the work and the teacher
can ask what did you see: what kind of con-
structs; what form did the work take; how
did the performer engage with us and what
did that feel like; what did the space look
like or feel like? This work is also impor-
tant in that it explores the process of ageing
through the eyes of a young person, so it
can aid teachers in having discussions about
ageing or grief or death or suicide.
BJ: So it's a pretty bleak play?
(Laughs) No! Humour is at its heart.
Lloyd has had experiences in his life that
have been really confronting and challeng-
ing, but in order to get through those things
he kind of puts on a happy face. Sometimes
that's a good thing and sometimes it's not,
because there's stuff that still needs to be
resolved or talked about, but I think that in
order to really connect with people, it can't
be all doom and gloom all of the time.
BJ: Can you tell me about your ow n
experience working with students and
When I moved to Melbourne I ran the
Youth Workshop Program at the National
Theatre Drama School, working with stu-
dents aged five to 18. I relished the work,
because you're working with all sorts of dif-
ferent young people who learn in different
ways. Some are really into words, and grap-
ple with them really easily. I've encountered
young people who can recite the whole script
of Star Wars, or have these wild imagina-
tions that come up with these stories about
mermaids that hate water and so on. Some
are more physical or visual, some can draw
amazingly, or have this great comic flair.
Drama takes in all these different elements,
allowing the possibility of engaging with
a really broad spectrum of young people.
It develops confidence and the ability for
young people to express ideas or things that
are important to them. The environment
you create in a drama workshop or in creat-
ing a piece of theatre gives you the ability to
reach a lot of young people in different ways.
BJ: Can you tell us a bit about the mati-
nee forums at La Mama?
As a part of our season at La Mama
we're doing a series of forums that will fol-
low the matinee performances, so students
can remain in the performance space and
chat to me and Tim as authors, as director,
as performer. It's an opportunity for stu-
dents to ask questions about how we devel-
oped the work, or why a particular moment
occurred, or help them make sense of why it
occurred, or even sometimes it can make us
as the creators question something ourselves
in the work and maybe develop it a bit more.
They can ask questions about how long we
rehearsed for, or why Lloyd wears what he
does. It's a very good learning tool to enable
questions and discussions about the themes
in the work. The relationships in the piece
itself are quite universal. Most people have
grandparents in their life, so they can hook
on to that particular relationship, or they
have a father in their life, so they can relate
to that, they can see the hallmarks of those
relationships, or the dynamics that come
from those relationships, or the questions
that come from those relationships in this
particular work. When you see things in
theatre and recognise those things in your
own life it makes you realise that you are
not alone. T
Lloyd Beckmann, Beekeeper opens
nationally in Melbourne at La Mam a
Courthouse from 27 April to 15 May then
in Sydney at The Old Fitzroy Theatre
from 9 to 25 June, finishing at Brisbane's
Powerhouse from 20 to 23 July.
Photo by Talya Chalef.
Lloyd Beckmann, Beekeeper is published
by Currency Press in April.
Brad Jackel is a Research Fellow in
Assessment and Reporting: Humanities
and Social Sciences at the Australian
Council for Educational Research.
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