Programme three in the series, McBen, written by Morgan O’Reilly and adapted from the play Macbeth.
“I wish I’d had McBen – my favourite – when I was ploughing through Macbeth in Colaiste Dhulaigh many years ago. The easy accessibility on ones phone allows for instant access & revision. The extra resources & worksheets for school students would be a Godsend. I could see the plays serving as an entry to drama enabling them to focus on plot, themes, characters etc before tackling the language. I often felt weaker students never got beyond the language & missed out on the wonderful universality of Shakespearean themes. Standing alone as plays outside of teaching there is both humour & relevance especially for a Dublin audience.”
– Geraldine Finlay, Adult Ed English teacher, KLEAR Adult Education Centre
Mcben is a very modern take on the classic Scottish play, removed from the castles and courtly chambers to the humble roads of a middle class north Dublin housing estate. Ben is an ambitious young father who cannot resist the lure of power. He may not have a kingdom to battle for, but the princely title of Chairman of the residents’ committee is no less alluring. Set on a path by the unknowing soothsaying of his young daughter and pushed to his limits by his power hungry wife, Ben must choose between his friend and his dream.
Classroom Resources for McBen, based on Macbeth
The plays are accompanied by a series of resources including all worksheets and are intended to be used either as an introduction to, or revision tool for, the play on which it is based. During the period of study, students are encouraged to use their critical faculties to explore the plot, themes,and characters.
The plays were written by experienced, award-winning, local Dublin playwrights in conjunction with English teachers. Larry (based on King Lear) and McBen (based on Macbeth) are intended for TY or Leaving Cert students while The Ghosts of Priory Hall (based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream) is intended for a Junior Cycle or TY group. However, all plays are suitable for any English classroom depending on the age and stage of the learners.
The worksheets require the students to consider the play in its own right but for those classes who have already read the original play, there is is also scope for the class to compare and contrast it with the contemporary re-writing, thus also preparing them for the comparative section of Leaving Cert English Paper II. In addition, there are personal writing activities provided which encourage students to think creatively about Shakespeare’s works.
The lessons have been designed to ensure maximum flexibility for a classroom. There is a sufficient choice in activities to allow a teacher to use this with students of all levels. The worksheets are self-explanatory for the student and teacher and are broken down into three stages; pre-listening, active listening and post-listening activities.
There is enough work for approximately 5-10 periods of around forty minutes.