blood brothers by willy russell

Focussing on the scene where Mrs Johnson agrees to give one of her unborn babies away to Mrs Lyons, explain how you would direct this section of the play so that the major issues Willy Russell was concerned about are made obvious to the audience. Blood Brothers is a Play that was commissioned by Paul Harman’s Merseyside Young People’s Theatre Company for Secondary school children. It was first performed at Fazakerley Comprehensive, Liverpool in November 1981.

The play itself is set in Liverpool in the 1960’s and it is intended to represent the class divide of the time, the division is portrayed through language, imagery and music.It was Willy Russell’s way of commenting on Thatcherism. It is about an impoverished working class woman called Mrs Johnstone who is a single mother with many children and is now expecting twins. Because she is already in serious debt and social services are concerned about her children, she decides (with help! ) the best option for one of the twins would be to give it up to her employer, an upper middle class lady called Mrs Lyons who is infertile and can’t have children of her own.

My task is to explain how I would direct the fateful scene of the play where the two women create the binding agreement that will change their lives.The distinction of Upper middle class and working is class is kept clear throughout the play, so I have to make sure that the audience will be able to see the differences between the two women’s classes while watching the play. In this scene, to show the different classes, I would have Mrs Johnstone wearing a plain, faded shapeless dress and an apron, she would also have shoes that had small heels and looked like they hadn’t been polished in a year, her hair would be hanging loosely around her face and she would be wearing pale foundation to show that she is tired.Mrs Lyons would be wearing full make up, a fashionable pink silk dress with a matching coat and gloves, she would be wearing high heels and be holding a leather handbag.

Her hair would be styled in a bob above her shoulders and you would be able to see her pearl necklace glistening against the spotlight. The scene is set in Mrs Lyons’ living room. The wallpaper would be fashionable for the time; there would be an emerald green sofa with matching cushions that looked expensive but uninviting.There would be a bible sitting on a table with a small spotlight shining on it for the whole scene, this would imply to the audience that it has some relevance in the play.

The floor would be covered in a brown carpet that was clean enough to eat off of. The lighting would be warm and inviting. This should give the room quite a cosy but suspicious look for the audience. I want the audience to think that Mrs Lyons looks like a well mannered, calm, responsible lady and Mrs Johnstone seems like a paranoid and superstitious, depressed woman who also tries to be a kind and loving parent, a lot more loving than the sensible Mrs Lyons.

At the beginning of the scene, Mrs Johnstone would be polishing the table so much it was as if she was burning a hole in it and staring bewildered into space, and then Mrs Lyons enters the living room looking very confident and poised with an immaculate hairdo. She sees that Mrs Johnstone looks distracted, she asks, “Mrs J. how are you? ,” she will say “Mrs J” to show that even though she likes Mrs Johnstone she doesn’t respect her as an equal because she is a single mother in a working class family.Then Mrs Johnstone will say While staring into a random part of the theatre to show how shocked and overwhelmed she is, “With one more baby we could have managed but not with two.

.. They say I should put some of them into care. But I won’t.

I love the bones of every one of them. ” Mrs Lyons will initially look confused and concerned, but then she realises what has been said; “Twins? You’re expecting twins? ” The stage would go black except for the women who would freeze, with two spotlights shining on them.Mrs Lyons’ face would look thoughtful and excited showing the audience that she has a plan. Mrs Johnstone’s face looks tragic.

The narrator would then appear from the side of the stage he would be wearing a black tuxedo with a billiard cue, his voice would be standard English with an upper class accent because I want it to show that he has a link to Mrs Lyons and the way she is low and manipulative towards Mrs Johnstone, so the narrator could look like Mrs Lyons conscience, I want this to make the audience think that he is the evil side to her, maybe the only side to her.As he walks on, motion sensor up lighters would shadow him against the back of the stage which would create an eerie effect. He would stop in the centre of the stage with a white up light on him, this would shadow his face and make him seem more sinister and evil. The narrator could then walk up to Mrs Johnstone (while he was saying his lines in a rhyming voice) and pretend his billiard cue is a gun and shoot her in the stomach, (dropping hints of the tragedy that will later happen).

I want to make the audience wonder what he was implying by his actions and his malevolent words. The narrator would walk off stage and the lights would return to normal, the women would unfreeze, Mrs Lyons almost inaudibly would say “give one to me” (this would imply that she really is a desperate woman) she would then step closer to Mrs Johnstone in excitement.Mrs Johnstone would initially be shocked by Mrs Lyons suggestion; Mrs Johnstone would then back away from Mrs Lyons, this would show Mrs Johnstone’s fear and concern of Mrs Lyons power over her. You can see by the way Mrs Lyons is talking to Mrs Johnstone, she thinks that because she is the employer and higher up the social ladder she has the idea that she can almost certainly bully and manipulate a way to getting the baby.

I think this is also one of the main parts of the play where Willy Russell tried to show his views of Thatcherism.Mrs Johnstone at first would act like she didn’t like the idea (she doesn’t even consider giving one of the babies away until the very end of the scene); she would show this by facial and bodily expressions, however, steadily but surely Mrs Lyons seduces Mrs Johnstone into giving one of her babies away. Throughout this scene there is a lot of dialogue and I want the audience to see the difference in social class through the accents of both women.As the play is set in Liverpool Mrs Johnstone would have an obvious liverpudlian accent, she would have a northern style dialect, this would be made obvious through the way she says words i.

e. “are y’ really that desperate” instead of “are you really that desperate”. Mrs Lyons would speak with a Standard English accent with an upper class tone to it, the same tone that the narrator uses. The different accents and tones in the women’s voices continue to show their differences in social class.

Throughout this whole scene I would have both women showing different signs of emotion through body language, facial expressions and lighting. In the middle of the scene Mrs Lyons takes a stuffed cushion and arranges it beneath her dress, she does this in front of a working class woman; this really does suggest to the audience that she would go to any lengths to achieve her goal. “..

. So, so I’m four months pregnant and I’m just beginning to show…

Mrs Lyons would assert this while picking up the pillow that she will arrange beneath her dress, then when she says “look, look. I could have got pregnant just before he went away”, (‘he’ being her husband), I would have her touching her stomach as she said this, as if there was a real baby where the pillow was, there would be an orange, yellow light on the scene now to add the effect of emotion, I want the audience to feel for her sadness but also think she is a bit illogical at the same time.Following this verbal and physical outburst of ideas, although Mrs Johnstone still hasn’t even dropped a hint that she wants to give one of her babies away, she is still quite resistant to the idea. She would be standing in a slouched stance; her facial expression would be resigned as if she knows that she has lost one of her babies already.

She could then sit down on the inhospitable sofa; this would then mean Mrs Lyons was higher than her, like she was overpowering her.I want the audience to now look at Mrs Johnstone and think she is the one that they should be feeling sorry for, as she is being tyrannized by Mrs Lyons. I would then have Mrs Lyons walk up to Mrs Johnstone and stand over her to show to the audience who is in control, as Mrs Lyons can see that Mrs Johnstone is close to breaking point she goes for her final gambit and tries to threaten her employee with the words: “Already you’re being threatened by the Welfare people. Mrs Johnstone, with two more children how can you possibly avoid some of them being into care”.

The lighting during this dialogue would be brighter on Mrs Lyons and dimmer on Mrs Johnstone, I would to this to emphasise this vision of power that I have created already for Mrs Lyons. Mrs Lyons would then stare directly at Mrs Johnstone’s face, just as the lights turned to a dark orange sympathetic colour as if to make Mrs Johnstone more agreeable. When she says “Are y’ ..

. are y’ that desperate to have a baby? “, because she has just let herself into the biggest mistake of the play there would be a red light on the stage to symbolise danger.In the next part of the scene there is a lot of singing involved, the good thing about music in this play is that it can create more emotions than lighting and bodily expressions can, so for the first lines “Each day I look out from this window, I see him with his friends, I hear him call,” I would have Mrs Lyons walk up to the window and start to sing, there would be a yellow and orange light on her shining through the window as if the sun was shining on her, then when she sings “I rush down but as I fold my arms around him, he’s gone, was he ever there at all? I would have her run to the other side of the stage and a young boy would appear and run towards her but then as she tried to grab him he would disappear into the curtains, this would make the audience feel sympathy for her, when she sings the last lines “I’ve dreamed of all the places I would take him ..

. I reach out. But as I do. He fades away.

” She would walk into centre stage and sing out to the audience, as if in her dream world. She would then turn to Mrs Johnstone and stare at the ground as if embarrassed.Mrs Johnstone would then stand up, look around the room and put it in contrast with her own house. While looking around the room she would start singing as if she could see her child living in the mansion she is standing in, as she sings the lines “If my child was raised in a palace like this one”, she would glance at Mrs Lyons then twirl around on the spot to look like a child to the audience, then carry on singing to the audience.

When Mrs Johnstone stops singing she would slouch down and sit on the sofa again, the lights would then turn into a mellow blue colour to show to the audience her unhappiness.I would have Mrs Lyons would then step back into the living room and look at Mrs Johnstone, as if to say to the audience, “this is it, the final push”, she would then sing the lines, “He’d have all his own toys and a garden to play in”, this whole next singing part is an emphasis of social class i. e. working class people don’t have gardens.

As Mrs Lyons says her lines, Mrs Johnstone would stand up, and the light would change to an orange and green colour to show to the audience that Mrs Johnstone would be getting happier but more envious of Mrs Lyons wealth and wellbeing.After Mrs Johnstone has stopped singing they would both face each other and sing the final lines “A credit to me”, as if they would both be gaining something out of it but really all Mrs Lyons is doing is conning her employee to give her one of her babies. Mrs Johnstone would then start to ask Mrs Lyons questions as if to show to the audience that she is still not sure about giving her baby away, but she knows she can’t disagree with her employer because she has more power over her.This is when she starts to ask “I will be able to see him every day, wouldn’t I”, as if she is still trying to persuade herself to give the baby away, to show there is a feeling of uncertainty in the air Mrs Johnstone would be speaking hastily .

At this point of the play, the audience should be able to see the constant changes in emotion between the two women; I want them to see this so they can be feeling sad for one of them at one point and then dislike them next. After Mrs Johnstone has said “An’…

an’ you would look after him, wouldn’t y’? I would have Mrs Lyons place her hand on Mrs Johnstone’s shoulder and start to sing her lines with her other hand on her heart as if to show that she is kind and reassuring to her. After she has sung “I’d keep him warm in the winter” she would turn away from Mrs Johnstone and start to sing out to the audience, Mrs Johnstone would have a facial expression that suggested she could trust Mrs Lyons, there would be a warm colour shone on Mrs Lyons to suggest to the audience that she is being truthful and she actually would look after the child.As she says, “My child. My child.

” She would turn to Mrs Johnstone again; and soft light would shine on them both as if to symbolize love. As Mrs Johnstone nods (as if to say yes), a red light would shine over the stage again to suggest to the audience danger or death. Mrs Lyons would then run up to Mrs Johnstone and hug her and kiss her on the cheek, Mrs Johnstone would stand back to demonstrate to the audience that she is slightly embarrassed.During the next part of the scene Mrs Lyons would be ecstatic and overjoyed she would be bustling around the set, Mrs Johnstone would be slouching to show that she feels depressed and anxious again; her face would have a fake smile on it to hide her true feelings to her employer.

I want the audience to feel sad and melancholy for Mrs Johnstone, but feel ashamed of Mrs Lyons because she has bullied her employee into giving up one of her most treasured things. Mrs Lyons would take out the cushion from underneath her dress and place it back on the sofa.After Mrs Lyons says the lines “I’ll have to knit and buy bottles and suffer from piles”, she would stop moving around so ecstatically, and turn to Mrs Johnstone, Mrs Johnstone would then look at Mrs Lyons with a strange look on her face while saying “what? “, Mrs Lyons would then calm down and explain to Mrs Johnstone what she meant, Mrs Lyons would say the lines “Oh help me with this Mrs J. Is it in the right place”, while placing the pillow back under her dress with the help of Mrs Johnstone, she would then say “I want it to look right before I go shopping”.

After Mrs Johnstone questions her about the shopping, Mrs Lyons would then put her hat on and say the lines “Oh no, from now on I do the shopping. I want everyone to know about my baby”, when she says “my baby” she would emphasise the words to show the audience that she believes it is her baby and not Mrs Johnstone’s. Mrs Lyons would suddenly reach for the bible that was sitting on the table while saying, “Mrs J. We must make this a, erm, a binding agreement”, a heartbeat would start in the background to create the effect of fear.

Mrs Johnstone would take a step closer to the bible and raise her hand with a worried and suspicious look on her face, she would at first seem disinclined to place her hand on the book, but then she would do it, she would intimate with her tense body language that she is uncomfortable with this action. In a previous scene the audience would have seen that Mrs Johnstone is a very superstitious woman, so they would know that if she tried to break this binding agreement she would believe that she would condemned to the depths of hell.To establish this both women would freeze and a dark red light would illuminate the stage. The narrator would enter the same way he entered before but this time every time he took a footstep a loud heartbeat would follow him.

The heartbeat signifies fear and suggests tragedy to the audience. The heartbeat would get louder every time he took a step, he would walk up to Mrs Lyons, take the bible from her hand and turn to a random page, he would then say his lines.The audience would now feel a considerable amount of disrespect for Mrs Lyons because they now know she is not the woman that she has portrayed herself to be. The narrator would then close the book, put it back in Mrs Lyons hands and go and sit on the sofa as if to create the effect that he is omnipresent.

Mrs Lyons would put the bible back on the table. She would then pick up her bag and leave. Mrs Johnstone would be standing still looking at the floor with a sorrowful look on her face, she would freeze and the narrator would stand up again with intense heartbeats raging in the background.The scene would finish with the narrator ending his lines, walking up to the bible opening it to a random page and then walking off the stage.

I think I have expressed the importance of this scene within the matrix of the play. It is the first time we see both of the women’s true personalities. It is the first time the audience has been encouraged to understand why Mrs Johnstone gave one of her babies to Mrs Lyons. I have shown the differences in social class and the way the whole play links to Willy Russell’s image of Thatcherism and the recession.

"Looking for a Similar Assignment? Order now and Get a Discount!

Place New Order
It's Free, Fast & Safe

"Looking for a Similar Assignment? Order now and Get a Discount!

Hey, wait!You Don't want to miss this offer!

Before you go, let us offer you a 20% discount coupon for your next purchase.