My analysis of the interview is as follows:-
(a) What Martyn gained
(i) A great deal of personal satisfaction at doing a job well and bringing the bare words to life, for themselves and for others.
(ii) Stronger personal relationships, especially with pupils. There was a carry-over into his role as a teacher. There were still boundaries between teachers and pupils, but these had become softened in his case - humanized in a sense - since the pupils recognized there had to be some boundaries, but recognized them for what they were. Martyn gave examples.
(iii) A 'fantastic experience', 'such fun', 'the best thing I've been involved in'.
We usually think in terms of what students gain from these activities, but Martyn's comments suggest considerable development of the teachers. This became a prominent theme of the research in general.
(b) Why was the project so successful?
I identified five main factors from Martyn's account:
(i) Teamwork, togetherness, both in the larger group formed by the whole cast and in smaller groups. Particular features of this mentioned were:
Levelling. There was no hierarchy. They were all equal, despite different
roles, ages, and gender in the school generally.
Group identity. Groups developed their own special culture.
Creativity .They were extremely creative in doing this.
We may have noted the enthusiasm with which Martyn spoke about this feature. This alerts us to the possibility that this was an extra-special factor . Together with others' contributions, this went toward the characterization of 'communitas', which became a key concept in the research.
(ii) Total involvement and commitment, especially 'post-December'.
(iii) Methods of production and preparation. Martyn gave several examples of preparatory games and of the group's being left scope for development and improvization. With contributions from others, we should be seeking to identify the theory of learning behind Sally's approach. From this account, it could be democratic-participatory , but we need more evidence.
(iv) Personal contributions. Especially, here, from Sally, the director, and Nick Phillips, a drama expert, whose visit one weekend seemed vital. These were obviously key people. In the final reports on GodspeIl, these are called respectively the 'critical agent' (the one centrally responsible) and a 'critical other' (someone not centrally involved for long, but who played a key role).
(v) Content. The play GodspeIl was a powerful one, in Martyn's opinion, carrying basic messages from the scriptures and a range of emotions, expressed in the moving music enhanced by Sally's adaptation, which created the groups of toys in a way that they reflected all humanity.
How do these factors interrelate? I see them in this sequence: content (the play); critical agent (Sally conceives the idea and makes plans); adaptation (she adapts the play to her particular purposes); methods of production; involvement; communitas. They are not factors operating all at the same level therefore. The communitas might be considered the most distinctive feature, but it was a product of other factors. In other words, it was as much an expression of the success of the playas a cause of it.
(c) Follow-up interview
If I had the opportunity to follow up this interview, I would want to ask Martyn for more information and opinion about:
(i) Stages that the play went through (it 'kept getting resurrected') and how they contrasted with one another .
(ii) The main individuals involved -Sally, Nick and the musical director (this
last not mentioned here). One may have a hunch that they displayed some charismatic qualities, which helps to explain the tremendous spirit felt by the cast and the sense of 'magic' in the production.
(iii) The school from which the production was generated. Was the great success of the play a result, for example, of declared policy in the area of the creative arts?
(iv) High moments and low moments, successes and difficulties during the production period.
(v) Any surprises at himself, or others
As in the first interview, this would form a loose structure. We should expect Martyn, as previously, to raise some points we had not thought of (points (iv) and (v) are designed for this purpose) and we should want to retain flexibility to follow those up. Of course, this is by no means the only way forward. There are others equally appropriate.
(d) Strengths and limitations of the interviewing technique
This was not the most exacting test of one's interviewing skills, as Martyn was such an excellent interviewee. He is very articulate and managed to squeeze a great deal of interesting material into a short space of time. He illustrates his points with examples. Even so, it is easy to make a mess of it! Questions you might consider are: How unobtrusive is the interviewer? How appropriate are follow-up questions? Are there any opportunities missed? Are there any leading questions (i.e. leading the interviewee towards a particular answer)? Have you any views on the 'tone' of the interview, for example, in establishing and maintaining rapport?