THE Roots OF LIVING THROUGH DRAMA — HEATHCOTE AND MAN IN A MESS I was introduced to Living Through Drama through that, it was shown as a best example of living through. And it was only later that I realised that it wasn’t exactly living through drama in the sense that we believed it to be. It was actually more a piece of theatre where they knew what was going to happen. But living through has that immediacy and that quality of things unfolding in real time. It is unbelievably engaging and exciting and vibrant.” Fleming highlights an issue that is central in the problems related to the perception of living through drama. The phrase living through doesn’t refer to participating in a continuous improvisation, it is about how the participants can experience and relate to a fictional crisis. It is focused on facilitating ‘being’ in the situation for the participants.” Another important aspect of Heathcote’s approach is also apparent in the film, this is the way she steps into role and participates in the drama together with the children. Working with teacher-in-role and the whole group together has also been considered a central element of the LTD. Bolton refers to Davis as an example of someone who uses other dramatic forms and structures to create the living through experience for participants.” I investigate his work beside Bolton’s and O’Neill’s later in this chapter. In Three Looms Waiting Heathcote says drama is just a man in a mess. She refers to theatre critic Kenneth Tynan, who is quoted by Bolton as defining a play as being “an ordered sequence of events that brings one or more of the people in it to a desperate condition which it must always explain and should, if possible, resolve”.”* Bolton points out that it is “the two sentences together that formulate a principle for Heathcote: it is not enough to give children a taste of ‘a state of desperation’ through drama, for inherent in that dramatic experience must lie the potential for explication”.” The nature of the mess, the details of the state of desperation referred to above are central to understanding LTD, so I will investigate some examples of the situations from Heathcote’s early work. The Crisis — What are the Participants Living Through? In one of her early articles, Heathcote is quite clear about what subject matter she considers appropriate for drama when she states that “dramatic activity is concerned with the crises, the turning points of life, large and Fleming: Interview, 1. Davis: Edward Bond and Drama in Education. Bolton: Acting in Classroom Drama, 220. 78 Ibid., 177. 79 Ibid.