Poverty in the UK What percentage of children in the UK do you think live in poverty? 27% (3.5 million) ‘Poverty’ in the UK means living on less than £100 per week for a single adult, or £268 per week for two adults living with two children. (That equals less than £14’000 per year for a family of four) Poor Kids and Friggin’ Poshies: An Introduction to Blood Brothers L.O. To explore the context of the play. To be introduced to the main theme of the play. Poverty and Its Repercussions Why does poverty, particularly child poverty, matter? Does it just mean not having a 3D TV and an iPhone, and not eating out for dinner? Poverty and Its Repercussions Charity ad BBC Documentary “Life is really bleak for our poorest kids” So, does poverty matter? Statistics show that, in the UK today, wealthier children will: - Live longer lives Get better qualifications Get better jobs Earn hundreds of thousands of pounds more Have better life experiences than their poorer peers. How is all this relevant? Blood Brothers, by Willy Russell, concerns two families, the Lyons and the Johnstones. One family is middle class (wealthy). The other is low class (extremely poor). The story is driven by the differences between the two families, and what they mean for their children. Themes of the play Social class and money are two key themes of the play. Make a list of everything you know about Liverpool. Liverpool is where the Writer Willy Russell is from and the setting for the play Blood Brothers. Information about Liverpool • Liverpool was a rich seaport city in the 19th century. • In the 20th century, it became a place of financial depression, which led to unemployment and strikes. •There was a big gap between the rich and the poor. Watch the video clip: how might the demise of the docks have affected Mrs Johnstone and her family? History of Liverpool docks p. 5 The World’s Most Famous Prologue Two households, both alike in dignity, •In What canwhere youweremember fair Verona, lay our scene, about the From ancient grudge break to new and mutiny, prologue from Romeo Juliet? Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; Whose misadventured piteous overthrows Do with their death bury their parents' strife. The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love, And the continuance of their parents' rage, Which, but their children's end, nought could remove, Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage; The which if you with patient ears attend, What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. N.B. Page references are from the Methuen Student Editions book, Bloomsbury (1995). Why use a prologue? • Why do you think playwrights sometimes use prologues? • Do you think it just ‘spoils the story’? • What benefits might it have? What expectations do you have of Blood Brothers? Prologue of Blood Brothers So, did you ever hear the story of the Johnstone twins As like each other as two new pins Of one womb born on the self same day How one was kept, one given away And did you never hear how the Johnstones died, never Knowing they shared one name Til' the day they died, When a mother cried My own dear sons lie slain And did you never hear of a mother so cruel That there's a stone in place of her heart Then bring her on, and judge for yourselves How she came to play this part 1. What do we learn about Mrs Johnstone’s two sons on the first page? Include quotations. 2. How do we know that the musical will result in tragedy? Use two quotations. 3. How would you describe the atmosphere at the beginning of the musical? Use quotations to explain your answer. p. 5 - 7 ‘Once I had a husband’ … to ‘And we’ll go dancing’ on p.7. Explain what life is like for: a) Mrs Johnstone b) Her children What do you think of Mrs Johnstone? Do you feel sympathy? Why? What is Willy Russell telling us about Liverpool social class? p. 7 - 9 The Johnstones vs. The Lyons • Read p. 7 - 9 • Mindmap the main differences between the two families. Use at least one quotation for each. Consider the role of the narrator. How many different characters has he played so far? Why might Russell have done this? How is he different to a traditional narrator? p. 9 - 16 The Johnstones vs. The Lyons • Read p. 9 - 16 1. What are your impressions of Mrs Lyons? (PEE) 2. Do you have any sympathy for her? 3. Do you agree with Mrs Johnstone’s decision to give up one of her babies in order to save the others? Can you think of anything else she could have done? PEE Paragraphs Point: Mrs Lyons is a _______ character. Evidence: For example, she says, “… Explain: This shows the reader that… A-grade sentence: Her use of the verb/adjective/adverb ___, in particular, shows that… What Evidence Can I Use? With plays, you can use: - Direct speech (what the character says) - What other characters say about someone - Stage directions (their actions) What kind of person does Mrs Lyons seem to be? Discuss what the following statements suggest about her. “We thought children would come along” “Oh it seems such a long time…he’ll be back in about five months’ time.” “Mrs Johnstone, with two more children how can you possibly avoid some of them being put into care?” Why are superstitions relevant to Blood Brothers? Why can placing shoes on the table be considered bad luck? Do some research and find out! Dialect vs. Accent • The term dialect should not be confused with the term accent. Accent: the pronunciation Dialect: the pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar • The so-called ‘best’ English accent: • The Received Pronunciation (RP) • It is also called the Queen’s English, Oxford English, and BBC English Accent The way words are pronounced: the way words sound. What accents can you think of? Dialect The words that are used. The language of a particular area. Can you think of any words you use that might be considered dialogue? What role do accent and dialogue play in Blood Brothers? Scouse Accent • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHfIA oF8gEc What stereotypes do we associate with dialects? Is there a particular accent you dislike? Explain why. 1. In Blood Brothers, how much do accent and dialect show a character’s social class? 2. Find an example of a ‘poor kid’ and a ‘friggin’ poshie’ statement. p. 16 - 20 • Why does Mrs Lyons want to fire Mrs Johnstone? What is she so afraid of? • Are her actions/emotions excusable? Understandable? What kind of person do you think she is? p. 20 - 22 Mickey is now a young boy. This is the first of a number of large time-leaps in the play. Why do you think Russell has chosen not to use scenes within his play? p. 22 - 27 Mickey and Edward meet and become best friends straight away. Find two ways that Russell shows their: a) Similarities b) Differences p. 27 - 29 Mrs Johnstone is alone because her husband left her. Why is Mrs Lyons lonely? Write down 3 impressions of Mrs Lyons’ character in this section of the play. Why does she react so strongly to Edward swearing? (Use evidence in your answers). p. 30 - 32 The kids’ game. Sammy Linda Kid Cowboy Sergeant Corporal Rest Professor Mickey Edward Foreshadowing. What does foreshadowing mean? Can you find any examples of foreshadowing from the play? Finishing Act I p. 33 - 37 Sammy Linda Mickey Edward Mr Lyons Mrs Lyons Policeman Finishing Act I p. 37 - 42 Policeman Mrs Johnstone Mr Lyons Mrs Lyons Edward Woman Finishing Act I p. 42 - 45 Mrs Johnstone Mickey Donna Marie Sammy Neighbour Milkman Policeman Blood Brothers – Act 1 • Sum up the events of Act 1 in 5 sentences. • Make one prediction for Act II.