Theatre is obviously an important part of any educational curriculum and in this book, Novelly focuses on a number of interesting games and procedures which will definitely enhance the whole drama experience. This is not something which is easy in any respect but it is also an experience which may enhance the whole gamut of drama and its reasonably futuristic whole.
Some of the games which Novelly suggests are fairly straightforward and simple although these are not always at the level of high school drama. Some are ridiculously simple such as engaging oneself in conversation with others and demonstrating what can be done with a few chairs and some creative individuals.
Most of all, the book tends to focus on certain aspects of drama which tend to be overlooked such as the communication between audience and actors as well as the dramatic aspect of things. In a way, Novelly is rather similar to Spolin in her portrayals of drama where she shows that situations may be made adaptable to certain circumstances accordingly without much ado. The activities recommended to warm the children up are also quite commendable and these include the facility of shorter class periods, environmental concerns and the integration of drama into a fully-fledged classroom which shows that this can be achieved without too much trouble.
The way drama can be integrated into the classroom is also important as it shows that some aspects of the whole event are mutually important. Novelly explains how certain procedures may be integrated and how these will aid all those who wish to expand upon drama as their main subject.
The development of pantomime is also given importance and also demonstrates how this intricate art form may develop accordingly. A pantomime is important as it brings together several aspects of the drama showing how life can be enhanced when drama is part and parcel of proceedings. A classroom is also very much the centre of activity in this respect and demonstrates that lessons can be adapted to different circumstances accordingly without much ado. Novelly is very much on the ball with this type of drama teaching and the simplicity of it all shows that drama can be a very enriching experience in this respect.
In a way, the exercises which Novelly proposes are timeless as they also focus on certain aspects which bring about such a change in people’s lives. The way the book is structured also focuses on the exercises as if they were some sort of cookery book which adds to their spice and to their attractiveness. The exercises can also lead into deeper work if one is interested in that and this is an important aspect of the book which Lovelly always focuses on. Intrinsically she is interested in the dramatic aspect of things which also goes forward but mostly there is the focus on the young which is important and which comes across as very changeable and malleable in this respect.
One other aspect of the book is the way it can move forward to concentrate on intriguing aspects of life, for example work with homeless adults where drama exercises can seem to be life enhancing and extremely motivating in this respect.
The book can also be of use to middle aged and older participants who may benefit greatly from its wide range of exercises and experiences. Although Novelly does intend the book for the younger generation, it does not mean that the older ones cannot hope for sincere experiences in this regard.
There has been some criticism that the book focuses too much on emotions and on these aspects of life which are accordingly more malleable and akin to change. However one would argue that that is the whole scope of teaching drama and this same drama can also be part of life and its human emotions.
Finally, Novelly writes with a style which is not only intriguing but is also very direct and full of aspects which show that life is one large human drama in this respect. Life experiences may also mean that work has to continue to emphasise the importance of drama in school curriculums and this does not mean that the book offers all the solutions to these problems but at the end of the day, it is indeed an aid to everything in question. Novelly is an experienced teacher of drama who can bring about certain aspects of different exercises rather well demonstrating that drama is truly an art which is part and parcel of our everyday lives. This book is a hugely important part of any drama curriculum and is surely highly recommended to anyone who wishes to experience certain teaching aspects of drama but is also interested in the subject as a life enhancing way forward.
Novelly M (1985); Theatre Games for Young Performers; Meriweather Publications, New York