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How well do you know the characters in DNA?

DNA - Character

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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1.
Who forces John Tate to face up to reality by repeatedly stating, "He's dead"?
Phil
Richard
Brian
Lou
John Tate tries to ban the word "dead", but Lou mocks his attempt
2.
Who wants to be on TV?
Leah
Cathy
John Tate
Lou
Cathy seems to enjoy being at the centre of the drama. It is fitting that she creates a more complex fiction by deliberately implicating a real person in the fabricated explanation for Adam's disappearance
3.
Who experiences a religious conversion after the "murder"?
John Tate
Adam
Jan
Brian
Leah later reports to Phil that John Tate "joined the Jesus Army [and] runs round the shopping centre singing and trying to give people leaflets"
4.
Who focusses most on the impact the incident will have on his future career?
Phil
Danny
Mark
Lou
Danny's first response to the "murder" and to later developments is to think about the consequences for his desired dentistry career
5.
Which character appears to lose his mind under pressure from the group's actions?
Phil
Mark
Brian
Richard
Brian cannot face giving false evidence against the innocent man identified by the police as responsible for Adam's disappearance. During Act Three, he begins to fantasise about eating earth and giggles when Cathy slaps him
6.
Which of the following is NOT correct of Adam?
He claims not to be frightened in the woods
He cares for himself well in the woods
He is able to feed himself
He has some difficulty speaking
Adam is surviving in the woods, but he is confused and dirty, with the dried blood from his injuries still apparent
7.
Who tries to get Phil to return to the group at the end of the play?
Mark
Danny
Richard
Leah
Richard pleads and shows off, but is unable to raise a response from Phil
8.
Who decides to frame a real person for Adam's disappearance?
Cathy
Leah
Jan
Phil
Phil directs Cathy, Danny and Mark to get a stranger's DNA on one of Adam's jumpers. Cathy decides to find a postman who fits the description of the fictitious perpetrator Phil has decided upon. Although the group undertake this task together, Cathy later claims it as her own idea
9.
Who shows the most concern for Adam when he is discovered living in the woods?
Brian
Cathy
Leah
Richard
Leah questions Adam about how he has been living and is opposed to abandoning him there as Phil and the rest of the group decide. She does not, however, go against the group
10.
Which character is always described in stage directions as eating or drinking?
Leah
Mark
John Tate
Phil
Phil is often non-responsive, especially when Leah talks to him. He listens and rather than responding, continues eating or drinking
Author:  Sheri Smith

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