He even manages to use black humour to make us laugh at the death of a child’s mother. This is an effective way of showing real life issues in a light-hearted manner. We are shown some of Willy Russell’s key ideas through the conflict between Mrs. Kay and Mr. Briggs. They clearly have strongly opposing views about teaching styles and methods and are used deliberately to cause a contrast. Mrs Kay is very laid back. She doesn’t believe that being strict with the children will help them in and way or make them enjoy it more, so she allows the children to almost treat her like another student.
She even implies this to Mr. Briggs, when he arrives at the coach she says “Well I think we’ll be safe now you’ve come to look after us. ” This means it appears as if she considers herself to be one of the children, rather than their teacher and supervisor, the words ‘we’ll’ and ‘us’ being key words in showing this. She is playful and friendly towards the children. She jokes about with them, even chasing one of the children and ‘glaring in mock seriousness’ as if she doesn’t quite take herself or her authoritative position seriously.
At one point, in the film, we can compare Mrs. Kay and Carol to mother and daughter, as she spends the majority of her time with Mrs. Kay and can be seen sleeping on the coach, cuddling Mrs. Kay in a typical loving mother and daughter way. Her teaching style is calm and informal, whereas Mr. Briggs’ teaching style is much more strict and formal. It often appears as if he sees the children as worthless and a waste of space. This is probably because he is used to working with a more intellectual set of teachers and to some extent, the students.
Eventually, their opposing views become an argument. Briggs storms up to Mrs. Kay during mid-conversation between herself, Carol and Andrews. He rudely dismisses the children, who were previously having a civilised adult conversation. He states his views on her teaching style and tells her that he thinks that the way that she is handling the trip is wrong and that he thinks that she should do something about it. Mrs Kay attempts to control the situation by talking calmly and quietly to Mr. Briggs, explaining that the children are having a good time and enjoying themselves.
Mr. Briggs accuses her of sticking up for the children in saying ‘You are on their side aren’t you? ‘, to which she unexpectedly replies ‘Absolutely’. This takes Mr. Briggs by surprise as he is clearly expecting her to deny his accusation. Stunned by this, he asks Mrs. Kay to sort out this ‘chaos’. As the argument develops, Mrs. Kay begins to lose her temper; her outburst allows Willy Russell to bring the situation to a dramatic climax and to use her as a mouthpiece to get across his views on the state of Liverpool and its children to the audience.
We can see that this is a very important part in the play, as what is said is changed in the book from what was originally said in the film, showing changing times and the importance of Mrs. Kay’s speech here. Section 3 Willy Russell uses detailed stage directions throughout to illustrate the actions of the children and the teachers in the play and to give maximum impact upon the audience. He shows the lack of opportunity, lack of education and deprivation in these stage directions. A good example of stage directions that show the lack of opportunity that the children have had is:
‘The cafe is alive with activity: the shutters are coming down, the ‘Coaches Welcome’ sign is replaced by ‘Absolutely no Coaches’ and the ‘Open’ sign by the one saying ‘Closed’ The doors are locked and bolted. ‘ Watermelon This direction is showing the audience that the cafi?? workers know that the coach full of children from Liverpool have a reputation of stealing things and causing chaos, so they deny them the opportunity and frantically shut up the cafi?? before the children get the chance to go in.
An example of where Willy Russell uses stage directions to show how the children have been deprived is where Briggs destroys the film of their day out. “He looks at the film and then up at the school. He pulls open the film and exposes it to the light, crumples it up and puts it into his pocket. ” Section 4 Willy Russell uses visual metaphors to make us think a lot more deeply about the issues at hand and to see them from different points of view. He uses one particular visual metaphor to make us think about the situation of the children in Liverpool and the causes and effects of this.
This is at the zoo when the children are looking at a ‘captive bear’ in a pit and talking about it to Mr. Briggs. It is used as a metaphor for the children in Liverpool because the bear is held captive in a pit, the children of inner city Liverpool are held captive by the poverty of their surroundings. The bear will probably be stuck in the pit for the rest of its life, as will the children probably be stuck in Liverpool for the rest of their lives in a vicious cycle of poverty. This is the only thing that the children and the bear know of and will probably ever know as their life, which is shown when Girl 1 says
‘How do you know? Sir’s just told y’ hasn’t he? If it was born in a cage an’ it’s lived in a pit, well, it won’t know nothin’ else so it won’t want nothin’ else, will it? ‘ This almost exactly describes the situation of the children living in poverty in Liverpool. Section 5 Willy Russell brings the play to a dramatic climax towards the end. It is dramatic because Carol threatens to jump off a cliff, which puts Mr. Briggs in a very difficult position and makes the audience fearful for Carol’s safety and for her life.
It is also dramatic because nobody else knows where she is and are all looking for her. It is almost ironic that it is Mr. Briggs, who doesn’t really care about the happiness of the children, is the one who finds her on the clifftop. Carol is considering this because she has been deprived of all of the luxuries that she has found here and doesn’t want to go back to all of the deprivation and dirty, rough streets of Liverpool, she would clearly much rather stay in the clean, open countryside of Conway in Wales.
It is a big contrast and Carol has realised that in saying ‘Why can’t I just stay out here, eh? Why can’t I live in one of them nice white houses an’ do the garden an’ that? ‘ She can see the contrast between the countryside and the city and she uses this as an example to explain her thoughts to Briggs, who clearly hasn’t understood her reasons. When he tries to approach Carol, she takes a step back, which makes us fear for her safety even more. As he pleads with her, his serious personality begins to soften.
Eventually, Carol gives in and just as she does so, she slips, which makes the audience think that she may not survive anyway and so they fear for her safety and panic, which keeps their attention. Briggs saves her just in time and hugs her, which is out of character for him, and so we can see that there may be a change from then on. Ending Briggs becomes more fun towards the end of the play and begins to change. He begins this be saying ‘Anyway, you can’t come all the way to the sea-side and not pay a visit to the fair’ In the film, we see the fun that they are having and the pictures that are taken at the fair and getting back on the coach.
This seems like a change for the better and we are led to believe that he has changed until right at the end of the play when Briggs says that he will develop some photos of the trip. These include photos of him having fun and letting go a bit at the fair and on the coach, but Briggs doesn’t feel that he can let these photos be seen by the entire school, or remembered by the other students because he doesn’t with to lose any of his authority. He exposes the film to the light and then crumples it up and puts it back into his pocket, destroying all evidence of him having fun.
At the very end of the play, we see Briggs driving past Carol, as he always does, as if nothing has changed now that they’re back in Liverpool. The only thing that is different is that Carol is carrying home her goldfish, which Mr. Briggs won at the fair. This is a privilege for Carol and a reminder of the fun that they had on their day out. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section. Download this essay Print Save Not the one? Search for your