HCMC students relish learning English through dramas

American Literature students of HCMC Open University staged the drama “The Patchwork Quilt” by Rachel Field last Friday, through which they could gain a deeper understanding of American literature and improve their English skills.

HCMC students relish learning English through dramas
Mrs. Willis sits in a miserable dark corner while Anne and Joe (C) are discussing how to sell the house

This play is a good example of what is known as a “slice of life” drama. In the play, the old, worn patchwork quilt is a symbol of all that Mrs. Willis loves. With it, she feels secure in her memories and without it, her mind grows hazy and clouded. Locked in those memories is the location of a deed for valuable property.

There is a simple story line: Mrs. Willis’ daughter Anne and her husband Joe try to convince Mrs. Willis to tell about the location of the deed so they can sell the house and the surrounding land. However, they destroy their own opportunity to find the deed.

The play briefly yet powerfully presents a problem that is very real to the modern audience: choosing money over family love.

“The Patchwork Quilt” is one of many plays that HCMC Open University students have performed, after "Agnes Grey", "The Happy Prince", “King Lear”, “Jane Eyre” and some others.


They are part of the Theater in Education program initiated by English lecturer Le Quang Truc. Instead of reading books and writing essays as the traditional method, the students perform dramas adapted from British and American literary works in English.

The students said they love and enjoy this method very much. Speaking to the Daily, Lam Son Hung, a student who played William - Mrs. Willis’ husband, said: “The program helps me improve my grammar and vocabulary, have a better understanding of American literature, get involved in theater, improve teamwork, and have sweet memories with my classmates. I would like to give special thanks to director Khanh Hoang for his heartful support and advice.

“Although the program took place in the classroom, we prepared everything very carefully, from the sound and lighting systems to decorations, to transform it into a mini stage. It was very hard to convey the play’s content and messages to the audience, especially in English, but I saw it as a good chance for me to improve my skills.”

English teacher Truc said the program requires huge investment in terms of time, money, and effort. Thanks to great support from the university’s leaders, the program has achieved tremendous success. Through the program, HCMC Open University aims to promote new teaching methods and enhance education quality, he said. SGT

Minh Tuan

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