‘Blood Brothers’ by Willy Russell is a modern drama that expresses the ‘raw’ social issues that were around in the 80’s.
This play links with the ancient Greek tragedies and the power and understanding is given to the audience by the important use of a narrator. Not all plays use a narrator. The fact that ‘Blood Brothers’ does, connect the play with the ancient Greek tragedies.
Greek tragedies were always sad, avoidable and were brought on by human errors. They were written from peoples mistakes.Superstition often played a part in the Greek tragedies as well as in Blood brothers-died when they found out they were brothers. This play connects with Greek tragedies by both brothers dying when they found out they were brothers, however this would not have happened if the mothers did not interfere with there lives.
The narrator comments on what is going on in the play to the audience, throughout the play. This creates understanding and power. Act 2 scene 1 is 7years after the boys had been separated and the narrator fills in the gap saying what has happened, the narrator does this many times.It keeps the audience up-to-date with the story and more involved which gives power to the play. Is the fact that the narrator is the first to speak in the play show importance? The narrator speaks in idiomatic English rather than formal BBC. This make the narrator seem more normal maybe more like the audience. Narrator talk’s directly to the audience, these things connects the narrator and the viewer. The narrator first words are ‘so did you ever hear the tale of the Johnston twins? ‘ this gets the audience involved with the story which is effective and gives power.
The narrator introduces Mrs Johnston by saying ‘woman with stone in place of heart’ and this confuses the audience as they do not expect a sympathetic person, but by the narrator saying this it questions the audience. In the end of act 1 scene 3 the narrator talks about superstitions this is a way of telling the audience the play will end in sorrow. He reminds the audience of this again by saying ‘a debt is a debt.
And must be paid’. In act 1 scene 3 the next message from the narrator is about Mrs Lyons and Mrs Johnston’s pact.The narrator explains this in the play that you may not understand and repeats them this is an effective and practical technique.
For example in act 2 scene 1 is 7years later and the narrator fills in the gap and also reminds the audience that the devil will take revenge and evil will come. An other example is in act 2 scenes 11 the narrator reminds everyone moving to the country was a bad idea and the tension increases form this point on and the narrator also explains that they will never escape from the devil and evil.The narrator says ‘devil hardly visible, he took a holiday’ this suggests that evils still there and things will change to worse.
In act 4 scene 2 ‘it was one day in October when the sun began to rain it seems the devil hadn’t left he’d only found a different name’ is a weird statement said by the narrator but it suggests things have become bad. These are examples of how the narrator uses the devil to create suspense and effect. In act 5 scene 1 Linda speaks as the narrator to show the audience her point of view.It also shows how Linda seems to be more like the mother (Mrs Johnston) at the start of the play. She talks about how her and Mickey’s lives have came with more reasonability for example a job and children to care for.
She explains how her life is become much harder now she has married. I think it’s a good effect using a different character to play some of the narrator because the character still is there however they speak a bit like the narrator does to which is an interesting technique. This happens again in act 5 scenes 2 however this time the mother has taken over narrator.And she talks about how her dreams have been crushed now she is older but there’s still a little girl inside her determined to break free. In the scene leading up to the big final scene the narrator build tension and suspense by suggesting something bad is going to happen but narrator does not say what this thing is.
For example in act 5 scene 5 the narrator tells the audience the worst is about and the worst was about to happen. The last speech by the narrator is a cleaver one because it is the same as the begging one except the last sentence which gives a satisfying and powerful end to this play.The narrator says; ‘So did you ever hear the tale of the Johnston twins? As like each other as two new pins, how one was kept, one given away, They were born and they died, on the self same day. ‘ I found this the most effective thing said in the play.
The narrator makes the play more dramatic for the audience by creating tension, suspense and excitement. This is done in many ways but I feel the narrator is very important if not the most important character in the play as it keeps up the understanding of the play in an interesting way.