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									                   GCSE DRAMA UNIT 2

                      BLOOD BROTHERS
                            By Willy Russell


During the program of study, students will be introduced to:
    Explorative Strategies
Marking The Moment; Still-image; Hotseating; Role-play
    The Drama Medium
Movement; Voice; Costumes; Sound; Lighting; Set
    The Elements of Drama
Plot; Characterisation; Forms; Climax & Anti-climax; Conventions.
    Drama Text and Live Performance
‘Blood Brothers’ script and visit to London West End Production.

DURATION: 16 lessons, 6 assessed lessons, written lessons could be


Discuss the genre of Musical Theatre. Discuss the way we accept that
they do not look realistic but that we enjoy and accept them on stage.
Explain that this is the style of Blood Brothers, unrealistic things happen
but we accept them. Stress that Performance style does not always have
to be realistic!

Read the Introduction Pg 7 – 8.

Read Act 1, Scenes 1 – 4. Discuss events and characters.
Pupils block and rehearse a section of the opening scenes. Discuss what
impact the opening of the play would have upon an audience.

H/W: Role-on-the-wall for Mrs Johnstone. Inside the character outline
write all the information they have learnt about the mother so far, on the
outside write down everything that they have learnt about the mother’s


Brainstorm expectations of ‘the perfect mother’.
Compare the characters of Mrs Johnstone and Mrs Lyons from Scene 3.

Read Act 1, scene 5.
In pairs, pupils create voices for the two women, experimenting with
different tones of voice to express different moods, attitudes and social

Discuss more comparisons between the women.

Divide the scene into 5 sections, indicating the progress and mood of the
discussion, give each section a title reflecting this.
Look at the status of the characters. On a scale of 1 – 10 (a high status
character has a high number, a low status character a low number) give
the two women a number reflecting their status in society. Now give each
woman a number in each section to reflect the changing status of the
In pairs, reread the scene, positioning themselves to show by height the
contrasts between the character’s status.
Now create 5 still-images to represent the mood, events and status of
each section.


Read Act 1, scenes 6 – 8.

Imagine five years have now past. Improvise two scenes to show what you
think life is like in The Johnstone’s and Lyon’s houses. Try to show the
differences between the relationships between the mothers and children.

Play the game Tag or Stuck in the Mud.
Imagine an 8 year old that you know. Now play the game again as an 8 year
old. Discuss the differences between children’s movement, energy, sound
etc. and adults.

H/W: Imagine you are directing an actor to play the role of an 8 year old.
What advice would you give him/her?


In small groups, role-play children playing a game of Cowboys and Indians,
including firing a gun, riding a horse, a dramatic death etc. (using advice
written in H/W)

Read Act 2, scenes 1 –3

Introduce term ‘marking the moment’
Identify a significant moment by discussion, freezing the action, using
captions, inner thoughts spoken aloud, using lighting to spotlight the
moment etc. The moment will represent an understanding, an insight or
evoke a feeling about the issue being explored.

Work on the above scenes using a technique to ‘mark two moments’.
Decide on why these are significant moments. How can they be marked?

Answer the following questions:
  1)    What do the 2 boys Mickey and Edward have in common?
  2)    How are they different? Give examples.
  3)    How might a director use costume to highlight their
  4)    Mickey and Edward are twins. Why are there such differences
        between them?

Read Act 2, scenes 4 – 11.

Discuss how the plot has developed and the structure of the play.
    What is the main storyline?
    How have the characters progressed?
    What is the purpose of a narrator?
    Look at the placing of scenes – is there any juxtaposition or
    How does the play show the passing of time?
Compare the narrator’s speeches at the beginning of Act 2 (Page 28) with
the closing of the Act (Page 48).
What is the effect of the narrator’s speeches?


Imagine 2 years have gone by without Eddie and Mickey having any
contact. Improvise a scene where they meet up again – exaggerate the
differences between them in their speech and movement.

Read Act 3, scenes 1 & 2.

Prepare questions to hotseat Eddie, Mickey and Linda.
Hotseat 3 characters at a time.


Read Act 4, scenes 1 – 3.

Look at the roles of Mickey and Eddie. What do their characters
Is Willy Russell trying to deliver a message about social structures
through this play? How does he achieve this?
Read the Information sheet concerning class difference in Blood
H/W: (Response written) Imagine you are Mickey, write a letter to Eddie
at University discussing Linda and your feelings towards work.


Read Act 5.
Discuss how the play ends on a climax. What affect does this have upon
an audience?
How could this climax be established on stage? (use of Drama Mediums)


   1. Create a storyboard to show the main Plot of Blood Brothers. This
      should map key moments – not necessarily all scenes. Highlight on
      this the role of the Narrator.

   2. Describe the two moments that you ‘marked’ in Act 2. Explain how
      and why you would ‘mark these moments’ on stage.

   3. Imagine you are Mickey, write a letter to Eddie at University
      discussing Linda and your feelings towards work.

   4. Explain how the use of Role play helped you understand Blood

In groups, pupils should choose approx 3 key scenes. They must prepare
these for a performance taking into consideration:

Elements of Drama:
    Climax / Anti-climax (building and/or releasing tension in the drama
     and/or a sense of expectation)
    Characterisation (the means used to portray a role using vocal and
     physical skills)
    Conventions (using techniques such a slow motion, freeze frame,
     audience asides, establishing one part of the space as one location
     and a different part of the space as another.)

The Drama Medium:
   The Use of Costumes
   The Use of Sound and/or music
   The use of lighting
   The use of set and/or props

Things to consider:

1) Consider how you will arrange the set for the scenes.
     Do the scenes need different sets?
     Will you have scene changes or merely use different areas of the
      stage as different locations?
     Will you have a naturalistic, minimalist or symbolic set design?

2) Interpret the stage directions given by the playwright and decide if or
how you will follow them.

3) Think about the appearance of the characters, especially the use of
costumes. How will you show the difference in social class?

4) Consider the role of the characters in the scenes and how you would
bring this out on stage.
    Decide on the tone, type of voice, accent and gestures that the
       characters should use.
    Identify any particularly important lines and decide how they
       should be spoken.
    Think of the overall impact of the scenes.
5) Determine any sound effects, special effects, extra props or music you
would use – you must be able to explain why you have added these things
(if you choose to do so) and how they add to your interpretation.


    Which key scenes did you choose to develop from Blood Brothers?
     Explain why you chose these. (refer to climax and

    Explain how The Drama Mediums helped you to develop these key
     scenes. (Costume, Sound, Lighting, Set & Props)
                   BLOOD BROTHERS IN THE WEST END)

Practical Evaluation (Assessed)

Circle time discussion:
Each student says:
     1 thing they thought was excellent about the production.
     1 thing they thought was poor about the performance.

Group the pupils into groups of four. Nominate a scribe.
Evaluate the Theatre visit by discussing the following questions:

         1) What was the impact of the opening of the play?
         2) What was the impact of the closing of the play?
         (HOW was this achieved?)

         3) Make comments (good & bad) about:
                 The Set
                 The Costume
                 The Lights
                 The Acting
                 The use of Narrator
                 The Singing

         4) What message did this production give the audience?
         5) Evaluate how well you think the text was brought to life in
            the performance.

Each group feeds back into a whole class discussion.

LESSON 16.                (EVALUATION – WRITTEN)

Using your notes from the performance and the class discussion answer
the following question:

Evaluate the effectiveness of the West End performance of Blood
Brothers. (Ensure you evaluate how effectively they have interpreted the
                        BLOOD BROTHERS


Blood Brothers is set in sixties and seventies Liverpool. It reflects the
period clearly with a poor working class and a wealthier middle class living
side by side in the Liverpool suburbs.

The Johnstone family is working class. Mrs Johnstone has rushed into an
early marriage due to pregnancy. She is poorly educated and rather
superstitious. Her house is a rented terraced home situated in a poor
neighbourhood that she struggles to pay for. Conditions are basic and
cramped. She rewards her children from catalogues that offer her
clothes and toys on the ‘never never’, or hire purchase agreements, that
means she can pay for her goods weekly. If she fails to make the regular
payments, which happens frequently, the goods are repossessed. In the
play Mrs Johnstone is resigned to the fact that she cannot always afford
what she wants and that she will occasionally be visited by the bailiffs.
This is the only way she is able to provide her children with the things
she wants for them. Mrs Johnstone’s limited education means the work
she can do is restricted to poorly paid jobs and so her horizons are
limited. She is delighted when she is re-housed in Skelmersdale in a
newly-built council house. Many of the slum houses in Liverpool and other
big cities were demolished at this time and ‘new towns’ made up of council
houses were built to replace them. Mrs Johnstone remarks in the song
‘Moving House’ that she will have a home with a parlour fit for the Pope to
visit. She seems touchingly unaware that her new home is low budget and
basic. Her upbringing has shaped her own horizons to the point that she is
overjoyed about her new home.

By contrast, Mrs Lyons belongs to the wealthier middle class. She is a
housewife with no need to work since her husband can provide
comfortably for the family. She lives in a large house, can afford a
cleaner and has the time to enjoy a leisurely lifestyle. Their aspirations
are wide-ranging. Children brought up in this setting are surrounded by
books, expected to succeed in life and may attend public school. They
would be expected to ‘marry well’ and to take up a prestigious and well-
paid job.

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