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Crafting Dialogue in High School Theatre: Approaches and Implications
This article explores approaches in theatre production in the context of Zimbabwean high schools. The study reveals that former Group ‘A’ schools reflect a Western orientation in theatre practice by focusing mainly on European or American ‘classics’. On the other hand, in rural, mission and high density schools the dominant approach is collective, in which students and teachers devise original plays as a team. The implications of these approaches and the processes involved in the construction of dialogue are a central concern in this study. In the first instance, the study reflects how socio-cultural and socio-historical factors have influenced and shaped theatre practices in the major two categories of high schools. Secondly, an analysis of the approaches in dialogue construction suggests that there is need to strike a delicate balance between on one hand, the socio-educational content of a production, and on the other, its imaginative, sensory or performative appeal. The findings of this research suggest that the part played by dialogue in the art of theatre is crucial as it can determine the emotional, pedagogical, aesthetic, cultural and moral depth of a theatrical experience, particularly in a high school environment.