Daylight Robbery - Task 3: Writing your own script for the events
How do we know what happened at William Cooper's house on 23rd May 1816?
You are now going to write your own script based on the account of events you produced from the original documents.
- Review the animated video 'the Case'. Look carefully at the speeches of George Watts, William Cooper and the speech from Aaron Layton that immediately follows.
- Refer also to the notes you made from video and the original documents in task 1 and 2 to to help you write your script. You can find a full transcript of the animated video here to help you find information for your script.
Remember the animated video, the video script and the account you wrote in Stage 2 are all interpretations of history, accounts written long after the events they describe. Interpretations are make up of a mixture of fact and fiction, imagination and points of view. Remember that the video and video script were written to take into account the following factors;
- Some of the location drawing were made up. It was not always possible to find locations that looked authentic.
- The video had to be seen by children of any age, so careful decisions had to be taken about what to show.
- The actors did not speak in thick Fenland accents; this would have made them harder to understand for people living outside Fenland.
- There video had to be short enought to play in a lesson so decisions had to make decisions about what to include or exclude.
- They used imagination in creating characters with the names of the original people but where we have little evidence for what individuals looked like, how they spoke and the way they normally acted.
- Think about the contents of the animated video and answer the following questions:
- If you had to judge the script and the video as interpretations of history, is the interpretation closer to fact, imagination or point of view? You can download a diagram here to help you assess this.
- How much fact does the script and video contain? Does the script sympathise with the rioters or does it defend Cooper? Look back at your notes from the original documents to help you access this.Look back at your notes from the original documents.
- How much imagination does the script use in deciding what Aaron Layton's point of view might have been?
You can view another intepretation of the events based on the same script that was made as a video by the Cambridgeshire Advisory Service here. This video used real actors rather than animated pictures. Compare the two videos:
Lastly - write your own script of the same events of the morning of May 23rd 1816. You could write it as dialogue for a large cast. You could use the letter of Aaron Layton to his wife while escaping Ely after the riots click on Aaron Layton's Letter here to help you write dialogue in the dialect or accent of the Fenpeople of 1816. You could give bigger roles to people like John Dennis or the one woman charged with Layton, Sarah Hobbs. Then try filming your script. In writing or filming you will have to take into account the same factors that shaped the making of the website video.
- How does using real people change the intepretation?
- What extra problems or limitations may this cause?
- What advantages can it provide?
- How many characters will you include?
- What kind of setting, props and costumes can you manage to find?
- How will your actors speak and act?
- Will your film be sympathetic to Layton and the rioters or William Cooper and George Watts? Will you try to be neutral and objective?
- How close to the original documents will your script stay? Do you trust one more than another?
- How much imagination will you use?
- Who is likely to see your video?
- How long will you make it?
- What will you include or leave out?
Return to: Tasks Menu
Back to Aaron Layton - The Ely Rioter homepage