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Analysis Of The Cliff Scene In Willy Russell's Our Day Out

2845 words - 11 pages

Analysis of the Cliff Scene in Willy Russell's Our Day Out
The title of the play is 'Our Day Out' Willy Russell wrote it in 1977.
He was born in Whinston Lancashire. He grew up in Knowsley; a model
village set in the countryside outside Liverpool. Once Russell had
qualified as a teacher he worked at Shortfields Comprehensive School
in Liverpool where his experiences lead him directly into the writing
of 'Our Day Out'. While it was written in 1977 its roots were firmly
planted In Russell's experiences at Shorfields comprehensive. Clearly
all the vital elements of Russell's play were implicit on the day trip
for the remedial department at Shortfields. It has many fast moving
scenes. Some humorous others even depressing. The story is quite
powerful and get you thinking about many things. It was designed for
television in 1977 and made into a musical in 1983; there would be
many difficulties to put it onto stage. The problems would consist of
Mr Briggs car approaching the zebra crossing, having a lot of children
on the stage at once and having the buildings on the stage especially
the school etc

The play is set in Liverpool in a very run down area and extremely
deprived, the behaviour and problems that the children have are very
visible throughout the play.

The play is about a progress class, which consists of children who are
not very intelligent. They are in the progress class, as they do not
have very high standards and are below average when it comes to
intelligence. Their teacher is Mrs Kay. She is taking the progress
class to Conwy castle in Wales for a day trip. The play is emphasising
how run down and poor the children are and how when they go on a trip
it's really exciting and they become extremely vigorous. While the
children are on the trip they cause a lot of chaos and mischief. They
do many things that they shouldn't be doing. They really enjoy the day
though and don't want to go home. The trip and class frequently bother
Mr Briggs throughout the play. Mr Briggs is not used to the type of
children who are on the trip that he is supervising, he was asked to
go on the trip by the headmaster. He teaches the children in the main
part of the school who are more intellectual. The headmaster asked Mr
Briggs to assist Mrs Kay on the trip as he thinks Mrs Kay is not
capable and has the control to take the children on a trip. She is
more like a mother or a friend to the children than the teacher she is
meant to be. 'She always reminds me of a mother hen rather than a
teacher'.

At the core of the play the contrast lies between Mrs Kay and Mr
Briggs and their respective educational philosophies. Mr Briggs is
more concerned that the trip, in which he had no part in organising,
should be an educational experience for the pupils...

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