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Drama Coursework – Response Phase Essay

As part of our drama course we are studying the play “blood brothers” by Willy Russell. Blood Brothers is about twins who were separated at birth because their mother could not afford to keep both. As they grow up they meet, become friends and eventually blood brothers. However they both fall in love with the same girl and this conflict ultimately leads to their tragic deaths. First we read the play blood brothers as a class, then our teacher, Mrs O— asked us to choose and then act out three or four scenes which we, as a group thought were most important.

In my group were S—, G— and N—. The first scene we chose was when Mr Lyons asks Mrs Johnston to give away one of her babies, we thought this was a crucial moment in the play because in this scene we see how the brothers first got separated. We also see the differences between the middle and the working class people, which was important as it is a main theme in the play. I was playing Mrs Lyons and N— was playing Mrs Johnston.

We started our performance with a freeze frame; our freeze frame was useful as it showed the audience what scene we are going to perform. Nicola, playing Mrs Johnston was looking down holding her stomach as if she was pregnant. I was standing on her side holding a bible pushing it towards her. We wanted to show the part where Mrs Lyons was asking Mrs Johnson to make a binding agreement, we used facial expressions to show which characters we were trying to portray. As I was Mrs Lyons, I stood with a smug arrogant look to show that I was the wealthy one, while N— was looking sad, worried and a little scared.

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Our role-play started with Mrs Johnston working and Mrs Lyons coming in to see how she was doing. As Mrs Lyons I spoke with a posh accent boasting about how big my house is and looking down at N—-. We used thought tracking to get inside the characters mind and see what they are really thinking. When N—- was telling me about how she can stop getting pregnant and I can’t have any babies thought tracking was useful as I got to show the audience how I was actually jealous and thought that the babies would be better off with me. We also used it to show that N— did not like Mrs Johnston showing off and thinking she was better then her.

After the visit to the doctors, N—- acted like she was nervous and panicking that the welfare will come and take her children away and worried about how she would cope with two more babies. At this point I used thought tracking to hint to the audience that I was thinking about asking for a baby. When I did ask for a baby I started to act more mean and scary grabbing hold of N—- and begging her to give me a child to show how desperate Mrs Lyons was to have a baby. N—- used thought tracking to show the audience that she was thinking about agreeing to give me a baby and also to show that she was a little scared of me. I was shouting at her doing all I could to make her agree and getting a bible and forcing her to make a binding agreement.

We also used hot seating in our performance; this helped the audience to get to know more about the characters. Our teacher, Mrs O— first asked us questions and we had to answer staying in character. The audience got to know about how N—-‘s husband left her and how she has to look after all the kids by herself. We also used it to show that she was considering giving a child a baby to Mrs Lyons, as she could not afford to have any more kids. The hot seating helped me show how Mrs Lyons’ evil side and how she did not care if it was wrong all she wanted was a child and she does not care how she gets it.

For our second scene we choose the part when the brothers meet for the first time. This we thought was another key scene as it shows how they meet and become blood brothers, not knowing that they were actually real bothers. G— was playing Edward and S— was playing Mickey. In this scene we see how better off the rich one, Edward is that Mrs Lyons is looking after him.

The freeze frame for this scene was when the two boys were crossing fingers and Mrs Lyons in the background. We made it clear what scene they were going to perform was when they first meet because it was the part when they became blood brothers. They were both smiling and happy to have made a new friend while Mrs Lyons stood in the background with her arms crossed looking angrily at the two of them.

We added a bit of comedy to this part because they are seven year olds and we wanted to show that. Shikira was sitting on her own making funny gun noises looking very scruffy and G—- walks in acting very posh. When S— taught him swear words he was shocked and amazed at all the “smashing” things that S— says. We used thought tracking to show how G— had never meet a boy like him but actually liked him. The hot seating gave the audience a chance to see that G—- has not got a lot of friends as they all bully him but not S—-. They audience also got to see that S—- never meet a posh boy like him but they became friends.

In the second group were K—, M—, M— and B—-. The first scene they done was when Mrs Johnston gives one of her babies away to Mrs Lyons. K—- was playing Mrs Johnston and M— was playing Mrs Lyons. Their freeze frame was of K—- down on her knees scrubbing the floor and M—- crossing her arms looking down at her. It was obvious what scene they were going to do and what characters they were playing by using body positions and facial expressions. M—- looking arrogant and like a snob and showing how she thinks she is above K—– just because she is richer.

Their performance was very well organised and they all knew what they were doing. M—- was very good at acting arrogant and as K—– cleans she was looking down at her and used good thought tracking to show how she felt. K—– did well as Mrs Johnston acting like she is happy to work for her but suing thought tracking show that she secretly did not like Mrs Lyons and that created tension between the two of them. I thought that they lacked thought tracking as the play went on and could have added more towards the end of their performance.

Their use of hot seating was good; although I thought when they answered they could have gone into more detail and let the audience find out more about their characters. From the hot seating we learnt that M—– does not think its wrong to take K—-‘s baby and that K—- has no money to look after any more children. I thought that M—– could have improved her performance by added more thought tracking and speaking louder but I thought she did well at showing she was Mrs Lyons by the way that she spoke and her attitude towards K—–. K—– acted confidently, and used good thought tracking to show what she was thinking at the start of the play. She would have improved her performance by adding more detail to her answers in the hot seating and more thought tracking at the end of their performance.

In the third group were G—-, T—–, S—- and T——. One of the scenes they acted out was the last scene; this is an important scene in the play because it was when Mickey finds out about Linda’s affair with Edward. Mrs Johnston’s secret deal with Mrs Lyons is also reviled and both brothers end up dead. T—– played Mickey, C—— was Edward and Grace played Mrs Johnston.

Their freeze frame was off the end of the play when Mickey and Edward were dead. T—– and C—- were lying down on the floor dead and G—- was standing over them. They did well to show the tragic ending of the play and g—— used good facial expressions to show that she was shocked and upset at what had just happened. She stood with her head slight down and looked like she was crying out in disbelief.

They stared with Mickey who was played by T—— going crazy wandering around the stage looking for the pills. She used thought tracking to tell the audience what she was looking for and how she angry she felt that she did not have them. When she found out about Linda and Edward’s affair she acted good and confidently showing how angry and frustrated she was. She used thought tracking telling the audience how she was thinking out killing him when she went to get the gun before storming out to find Edward.

C—– playing Edward was doing his job making a speech acting normal when suddenly T—— barges in pointing a gun in his face. The use of hot seating at this moment let the audience know how scared Edward was and how T——- was not thinking straight and how she was just angry. I thought that this group also could have spoken in more detail to explain to the audience how they feel.

At this moment G—— runs in trying to stop T——. She used thought tracking to say how she was thinking of telling them the truth. G—– trying to stop Mickey shouts out to not to kill Edward because they are brothers. But this just makes T—- even more angry thinking that he could have ended up like C———- with a good job and a great life. G—- in a final attempt to stop Mickey pushes his hand but the gun shoot and kills Edward. The police then shoot T—— and she falls to the floor, leaving G—– in crying in shock. I thought that in this part they could have been more organised and put more thought tracking in but all in all they had a great performance.

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