‘Blood Brothers’ is a very dramatic and impressive enactment written by Willy Russell. In my essay, I am going to discuss the final scene, in which Mickey charges into the council offices where at the time Edward is delivering his speech. Mickey has the main role in the final scene; he has Edward at gunpoint, as is not at all sure what he is actually doing. Throughout my essay I am going to explore numerous factors which contribute to the success of the production, this will include, stage set, lighting, characterisation, performance, general theatre, the mass recession on the 1970s, I am also going to write about Willy Russell.
The main purpose of my essay is to depict good directing skills and present a clear understanding of the play. Willy Russell was born in Whiston, just outside Liverpool, in 1947. Russell didn’t enjoy his education and so left school unqualified, he then became a ladies hairdresser. In 1969, Russell returned to education as a mature student. As an adult learner he made excellent use of his new education and took time to look around and explore. Russell wanted to become a pop or folk singer as he thoroughly enjoyed performing.
This then encouraged him to write a musical. He had no previous record of writing musicals for the theatre and during his school days, he hadn’t shown any interest in music. Years before ‘Blood Brothers’, Russell had performed as a singer and a songwriter in clubs and public houses whilst also working during the day. The enactment was well accepted when it was first performed in a secondary school in Fazakerly, a suburb of Liverpool, despite the fact that the school stage lacked special effects such as lighting and surround sound.
Just a year later, Russell then turned this minor play into a globally established production. One summer ‘Blood Brothers’ was shown on Channel Four. After that, in 1988, Bill Ken Wright opened a new west end production of ‘Blood Brothers’ Russell has produced many other successful productions, which includes Educating Rita, which was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1980, and given London’s SWET award for best comedy. Shirley Valentine was also a nominee in 1988 for the Tony Award and drama Desk Award for best comedy of the year. Both of these films were non-musical.
‘Blood Brothers’ is the intertwined story of two families, and how their lives contrast due to the era the enactment is set in. Miss Johnstone is from a working class background; she has seven children and twins on the way. The children’s father does not live with the family. During this period men worked and women were usually housewives. This also meant the family had no male protection and the children were not disciplined as well as they should have been. When Miss Johnstone’s twins are born, she is forced to give one of them away or consequently have one of them taken away by social services.
Miss Johnstone works for Mrs Lyons (who is from a wealthy background), cleaning her house. Mrs Lyons is barren. She has always wanted a child of her own, when Mrs Lyons hears about Miss Johnstones dilemma she begs her to give one of her twins away (to Mrs Lyons). Mrs Lyons makes Miss Johnstone swear on the bible that she would give her a child. Miss Johnstone later hands over one of her children. Miss Johnstone thinks she will live a better and more contented life if she moved to Skelmersdale. She has a menial job, and lives on the ‘never, never’.
She is forever paying bills and thinks a fresh start would be a good move. In contrast, the Lyons are a middle class family with much more money that Miss Johnstone, so could therefore afford to send Edward to a private school. The twin brothers are separated, not knowing about each other and leading very contrasting lives. I am going to perform my enactment in the round, I assume the audience will feel more involved, this also ensures the actors are able to interact with the audience enthusiastically.
I feel that if the production was performed in a proscenium theatre the audience would find it difficult to engage in the play, as they are more likely to feel less involved. In the round blocking would occur, this happens when the actors face one section of the audience and would result in the opposite sides view being restricted or blocked. Some of the disadvantages of using a proscenium stage, in my opinion would be that the audience would be seated further away from the actors; I feel that this would make it more difficult for the audience to engage in the production.