This GCSE English Literature quiz is about DNA by Dennis Kelly. DNA concerns a single event in the lives of eleven characters: Mark, Jan, Leah, Phil, Lou, John Tate, Danny, Richard, Cathy, Brian, and a Boy, who we later learn is called Adam.
Dennis Kelly writes that the names and genders of the characters can be altered according to the needs of the performance. What each character does and says is important, then, not so much for what it tells us about that person, but what it tells us about humanity more generally, and especially about how human beings respond to horrific events in which they are personally implicated.
Each of the characters fulfils a particular role.
Phil, Cathy and John Tate are leaders and each takes charge of the group at a different point in the play, with Phil superseding John Tate and Cathy later taking over from Phil. Leah is a moral leader of sorts, although rather ineffective. Jan, Mark, Lou and Richard are followers. Danny is part of the group, but also focussed on his future, harbouring an ambition to become a dentist. His first response to events often concerns how they will impact personally on him. Brian is one of the group’s followers and appears to be the most pliant, so that the group is able to threaten him and bully him into following its will. Adam is located on the outside of the group and killed for his desire to become part of it.
Pay close attention to the way in which characters interact in a work of fiction. A work of drama gives you the chance to observe how characters interact, and this, of course, changes with each performance as actors bring their own interpretation to the task. Observe whether any of the characters change over time and see if you can describe how the change takes place.
Answer the questions below to see how well you understand the dramatis personae in DNA.
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