In this comparative essay I will look at two texts. The two texts are, my devised performance Billy Liar and I will be comparing it with Chicago. I will shown that both of the performances have similarities and differences between them. There are a number of similarities and differences between the two plays one being the date. Billy Liar was written in the 1960s and it as set in Yorkshire. On the other hand Chicago was written in the 1920s and set in America.
The 1920s was referred to as the “Jazz Age” or the “Roaring Twenties”. The first television has made in 1925 and the Warner Brothers produces the first movie with a soundtrack. The fashion entered the modern era. Women began to wear more comfortable clothes such as short skirts or shorts. Men abandoned formal clothes and began to wear sport clothes. In the 1960s the first computer game was released also the first bank was opened this was Barclays Bank in London. Mary Quant invented the mini-skirt, which became very popular in the late 1960s. The hippie movement introduced clothing such as bell-bottom jeans, tie-dye, and batik fabrics, as well as paisley prints.
The cultural elements for the plays are very different.The culture of Yorkshire evolved over the county’s history, taking influences from the cultures of those who came to control the region. Yorkshire people have been said to hold a strong sense of regional identity and have been viewed to identify more strongly with their county than their country. In contrast Chicago’s culture is known for various forms of performing arts, such as comedy, music and Chicago blues and soul.
The city is also known for various dishes such as, the deep dish pizza and the Chicago style hot dog.Crime was very high in the 1920s in fact 500 people were killed by gangs per year. Crime plays a big part in Chicago and because there was so much crime when Chicago was written the writer was influenced by this. Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly both kill someone that they know. Also blues and soul is shown through out the play this shows that Chicago is a musical as well as a comedy. The only thing that influences Billy Liar is when Billy wants to go to London but his mother does not want him to go, as she does not to keen London and Yorkshire is a very close county.
Billy Liar has a genre of comedy this fits in to the performance in many ways. Comedy is shown when Billy puts his arm around Barbara, she does not like it so she always pulls away from him, even through they are engaged. It is not only the actions that makes Billy Liar comical, it is Barbara’s facial expressions that make it funny. A comedy is generally intended to amuse, especially in television, film, and stand-up comedy. In comparison Chicago is also a comedy but unlike Billy Liar is also a musical.
Throughout the play Roxie has dream sequences, and each of the sequences there is jazz which the characters sing and dance to, this shows that there is an element of a musical in Chicago. There is also the odd element of comedy put in but not much and not equal to Billy Liar. This is shown when Roxie gets ignored by the press, because a new girl called Kitty has been brought to jail for committing a murder, so Roxie falls over and says “I’m okay I just hope that the fall didn’t hurt the baby.” This is unexpected I feel this is funny. A comic musical is a mixture of comedy and music put in to a film, play or west end performance.
The themes in Billy Liar are, lies, rivalry, romance and family. Lies are shown when Billy is caught out. This is shown when Rita comes to see Billy about the ring, and he lies about were the ring is so that Rita does not come to the house, and sees Barbara with it. Rivalry is shown when Rita and Barbara have a fight in Billy’s house about Rita’s ring. Romance is shown between Billy and his three woman. Barbara loves Billy but does not show it and doesn’t like to be touched, as she believes that you have be marry before sex or joint holidays. Rita is not romantic and I feel that she does not love Billy as she seems to talk about the ring not in a sentimental way but about the monitory value of the ring and in one part of the play she even sets her brother on to Billy to get her ring back and she wont let him forget it, the writer puts Rita across as easy.
Liz is very romantic as she wants to go to London with Billy so they can start a new life together. Family is shown when Billy introduces Barbara to his father, mother and nan. Billy does not always have a great connection with his father as they have a big row about Billy’s well being. The themes in Chicago are, lies, betrayal and rivalry. Lies are shown by Billy and Roxie. Billy lies to get people out of jail, and he has never lost a case.
Roxie also lies in court with Billy so she can get out of jail. Betrayal is shown by Fred Casely, as he says to Roxie that he knows the owner of a club and says that he will talk to him so that Roxie can get a part in the show. This is a lie as well as betrayal as he only says it to get in bed with Roxie. Rivalry is shown by Roxie and Velma as they both want to be the top headline in the papers, and they both want Billy to take on there case. The things that are similar are the lies and rivalry between the characters. The dissimilarities are, Roxie does not have a family but Billy does, his family play a big part in the performance.
The style in Billy Liar is naturalistic, this is because my performance does not have, montage, soliloquy’s, symbol, music, action before narrative or symbolism. If I look at the film in general it shows dream sequences like Chicago, but I’m only looking at my performance as it has no dream sequences , so Billy Liar is naturalistic. In comparison Chicago is non- naturalistic as it has a number of dream sequences in the performance. It also has a lot of jazz and music so this also shows us that Chicago is non-naturalistic. Billy Liar and Chicago’s styles differ because they are opposite to each other.
There are many similarities and differences between the characters also. I’m going to compare Billy Fisher from Billy Liar and Roxie Hart from Chicago. I feel that both of the characters have a lot in common with each other. Billy lies to many a people about whom he is engaged to, where he was on the night of the dance and were Rita’s ring is. Likewise Roxie lies to the whole of Chicago about the shooting of Fred but they both reached for the gun. She also said she is pregnant with Amos’s baby. Both Roxie and Billy cheat on there partners this shows that they are both similar.