Robert Strandquist's Reviews > The Knowledge

The Knowledge by John Donnelly
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Apr 16, 12

bookshelves: while-in-belgium
Read in December, 2011

"The Knowledge" is a brief high school drama that reads as if it were transcribed dialogue from a real classroom/teachers’ room and apartment, although the text gives no clues as to scene changes – merely “exit” or “enter”. This typifies Donnelly’s dependence on the audience to provide the context of the play’s culture, social class of students, time of year and innuendo. It’s urban London, tough class, mostly illiterate teens whose language and tone play to a Brit’s ear better than to my American, Midwestern one. As a former teacher, I winced on every page of dialogue due to the coarse verbal treatment among the characters – even our heroine, Zoe falls victim to speaking with her students’ style of cynicism. But Donnelly doesn’t disappoint us with a predictable denouement. Zoe decides to continue teaching at the school despite the manipulations of her students and colleagues. This reads like a one-act play written by a sensitive university-level student: engaging but not compelling.
John Donnelly
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