In this essay I am going to compare my play with two comparatives. The play I performed was a scripted piece called “Blue Remembered Hills” by Dennis Potter, written in . The other two texts are, “My Mother said I never should”, by Charlotte Keatley, written in , and “Blood Brothers” by Willy Russell, written in .
My performance was set in 1943, in the West Country, “in the long summer holiday“. Naturalistic theatre was used, however, although it was about the events of seven children, adults play them all. War, bullying, abuse, aggression and murder are explored within the play. It was aimed at adults, as the issues it broached were in addressed in great depth, and because it was shown through the naivety of children, children would not understand. The play has historical and political context, and the political affairs of the time dictate the dialogue. The period in which it was set is reflected by the constant references to the War and “the Japs”. The circumstances of the children, as well as historical background can be seen throughout. For example, when ‘Donald’ says: “I be tired out and all, working on those saw mills. I cut me thumb off an all”.
“My Mother said I never should” is about four ‘ordinary’ mothers/daughters and is about the social changes of the twentieth century, pned over four different era’s. It is set in a variety of places according to what best represents the era. It is also naturalistic, relating to my performance. It also incorporates the idea of children dealing with adult issues but not understanding, for instance:
Rosie Mum’s got the curse. (Pause) Maybe we did it!
Doris (Pause) What curse?
Rosie The curse.
Doris Oh. Yes… How d’you know she’s got it?
Rosie You can tell.
Rosie Just can. Mum’s been cross with me all morning.
It’s also aimed at adults; adults play children in the production because they also need to play adults in the production as well as children. In this way it was similar to “Blue Remembered Hills”.
“Blood Brothers” was aimed at a broad audience, adults and children of all classes. It is also naturalistic, but also uses forms such as, narration and song. This detracts from reality but makes it more interesting. And adults play the children featured in the play yet again, linking the three pieces of theatre. It is set in the 50’s and 60’s, in the city for the first act and the country for the second, so it is of a similar era to the other two pieces.
In “Blue Remembered Hills”, there is no indication what class the children are from, but they are expected to be working class, and perhaps Angela may be slightly wealthier than the others. Similar to this is “My Mother said I never should” as they are middle/working class too. However, in “Blood Brothers” the two main characters Mickey and Edward are from two contrasting classes: upper class, and lower class. There is direct conflict between them, though they are naive due to their age yet again, for example, Edward is referred to as “a friggin’ poshy”. It addresses issues such as prejudice, class, money, status, superstition and violence.
All three pieces are similar, using adults to play children especially, this is an interesting approach, and allows the playwright to broach more serious issues and adapt them for families or adults. This may detract from reality but naturalistic movements were used, mimicking children helped present the serious issues further.
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