To prepare ourselves for this unit in class, we read two plays; ‘Find Me’ and ‘Equus’. We also read two poems; ‘What Ever Happened To Lulu’ and ‘I Heard It On The News’. To begin, we studied a wide variety of different newspaper articles and stories, because ‘Find Me’ was originally written after Olwen Wymark saw a very brief and small newspaper story, and then investigated behind what the media and newspaper portrayed. The story we chose to develop was agreed on by the whole group, and found in the ‘Daily Mail’.
The story chosen was about a mother that abandoned her six year old child at a train station, apparently drunk. This small news cutting inspired us to create a chilling explanation to why a mother would do such a thing. The story we had chosen, seemed to suddenly become nothing more than a guideline, as our eerie, and somewhat psychologically thrilling, tale began to develop and unfold before us.
Every member of the group wrote a monologue for their character, to show the thoughts, feelings and emotions, we kept the monologues short and effective, with a chorus of ‘What’s going on’ at the end, as in certain parts of the play there is a large amount of in-depth dialogue. We wanted the acting scenes to appear as natural and realistic as possible, despite the very strong connection with the supernatural and extraordinary within. The viewpoints varied as time went on, and characters started to question the odd goings on around them, and their sanity regarding such things. Much like in ‘Equus’ , which proved very useful as a base for our own interpretations of our characters.
We also used the idea of judgement. Much like in ‘Equus’, we used a psychiatrist as the main voice. Their sensationalised view of events was in contrast to the real sadness, and in many ways, ordinariness, of the characters and their lives. In ‘Equus’, Alan is always portrayed as being guilty, but in ‘Blood Brothers’, there is a journey leading up to, but not past, the events. There is nothing afterwards, and this is the way we decided to go with our play. We wanted the audience to wonder what would happen next, so we ended the play at the train station, again, without going any further than the mother regaining some form of sanity, and because of our broken timeline, begs the question, what happened in between that, and seeing the psychiatrist (as shown in the beginning). Using an open ending and leaving the audience wondering allowed each member of the audience to have their own different opinions, thoughts and predictions as to what would happen, which could then spark discussion.
We set our play primarily in the present day. We used the 2007 film Nuptials of the Dead, and 1999 film The sixth sense, as a stimulus for the characters. The pressures on the twins in ‘Blood Brothers’ are made worse by their difference in class. Linda cannot betray her class and marry Eddie, even though it would be better for her. In our play, the children, (dead and alive), seem to somehow compete for everything, even if unaware at the time. The living child (gfgfd) constantly craves the love of her mother, and tries to get it by imitating the previous child. Unknown to her this caused major upset in the family, and was the basis of many arguments, not only between the mother and daughter, but also between the parents. This was also a reflection of some other reading and research we did on the behaviour of child deaths, and the way they can upset the balance in a once happy household, and the effect they can often have.
The issue of mental health was a big one in both the source plays, and also in ‘Blood Brothers’. In our play, we also used the idea of a mental break, to explain some of the actions of the characters. There are elements of obsession, competition and depression in both the mother and daughter, but more so in the mother, constantly reminded of her previous grief, and ends up going mad through her obsession. This is very similar to Mickey, who always had the misfortunes and never gets the rewards.
The telling of the stories in all the plays and in ours is a central theme. It is part of the modern mythology that stories are told, embellished and reported. The way in which the news is reported is sensationalised and exaggerated, but it is only when we conduct research and look behind the news that we really start to see the real story, along with the real circumstances, feelings, thoughts and emotions of the real people involved.