Stage Directions And Dialogue In Billy Liar

1681 words - 7 pages

Stage Directions and Dialogue in Billy Liar

In the play ' Billy Liar' the central character, Billy, has three
different girlfriends. Each girl has a dramatically different
personality, and the stage directions give a clear indication as to
the nature of these differences. The dialogue also gives a clear sense
of character, with each girl speaking and interacting in a distinct

Firstly the character of Barbara is quite peculiar, the narrator had
described her as being a nineteen year old girl, who is large and well
built, dressed in a tweed suit with flat-heeled shoes, she is also
carrying a large handbag. From this description we are given, the
reader would have presumably had an image of an unattractive girl,
also with the types of clothes she wears, there is no evidence that
she is in to fashion. From the way Billy approaches Barbara, her body
language seems to be quite stiff and well reserved, this is shown in
the following lines in Act 1 (p.23):

[IMAGE][IMAGE]Billy-(moving to kiss her)

[IMAGE][IMAGE]Barbara-(moving away) stage directions

This is an example of a dramatic action within the play because the
character is making insignificant body movements, to stay away from
Billy. Billy reaction to Barbara's attitude is very slick, in order to
make Barbara a bit livelier, he is giving her passion pills. This is a
reaction by Billy towards Barbara's lack of concern for Billy. When
the character Barbara, is actually introduced, the reader would be
able to tell from her speech that she has 'no passion' and 'no
warmth'. The most peculiar behaviour of Barbara is her constant
'bovine- like' eating of oranges. At the time this play was written,
subsequent to the Second World War, people were quite new to fruit and
many crops and so they were treated as being unique, and so Barbara
has quite a strange behaviour.

So Barbara's unattractiveness and peculiar behaviour is probably due
to the way the author would like us to see the character, or simply
just to give a general opinion. From analysing Barbara's speech, we
notice that she shows no affection for Billy, this is once again shown
in her body language. The character of Barbara in general reflects
that she does not show any sign of youth, she is more like a
middle-aged woman who just dreams about her own cottage with roses,
this is shown in her speech:

Barbara- Let's talk about our cottage

Barbara- About the Garden. Tell me about the garden

Barbara- Do you think the pond is safe? What if the kiddies wandered
too near and fell in?

In these examples of Barbara's speech, she is already thinking about
after marriage, talking about the cottage and even the children. These
are the kind of things middle-aged women talk about. She talks about
her dream of a cottage in a very mature manner in addition to 'going...

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