Blood Brother

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Blood Brother Performance Essay
On the 14TH June 2012, we watched Blood Brothers, by Willy Russell, at the Phoenix Theatre. The play ‘Blood Brothers’ is set in 1980s Britain; it deals with numerous themes such as fate, the class system, insanity, superstition and division. The genres of the play are drama, tragedy & comedy-to an extent. Something I found particularly interesting was how the genre of comedy became less and less apparent as the play went on, whereas the genre of tragedy- became more and more apparent as the play went on-the opposite. The play was a musical. I didn’t have any expectations of the play prior to watching it, as I believe art and especially performance art revolves around an experience, a new experience, that one must freely allow to affect them in whatever way it will, and therefore its essential to not ‘expect’ anything. However, I suppose there were things I instantly imagined would happen in the play, with the title being ‘Blood Brothers’; I imagined it would be very violent. The narrator’s role was tremendously significant, he was an interventionist narrator, his role was to be the voice of superstition, the force who injected the sense of superstition into the characters spirits; he was responsible for the sense of superstition-which was perceptible throughout the play, and for it being so significant and strong. The narrator did not have a set location on the set-like most narrators would, he always-surprisingly appeared in random spaces on the set, at the beginning of the play he stood in the centre of the stage, and at other points he appeared in other spaces. He often appeared on the centre balcony, above all the other characters and at several different spaces on the stage. This was highly effective as it caused the narrator to be perceived as a higher force-a force with an upper hand, someone spiritual-like a voice of conscience. It also made him seem tremendously powerful. He was invisible to all the characters, yet they were visible to him. This really enforced and strengthened the theme of superstition. The narrator spoke in a very bold voice, with a lot of texture- so much that it filled the auditorium; this was effective as it caused everything he said to be perceived by us as significant and to stick in our minds, which was essential as we could then apply all he said to the other parts of the play; every part of the play was connected to a superstitious message of the narrators. The narrators facial expression remained emotionless, throughput the entire play-even when he sang, this was part of the actors characterization in-becoming the intriguing figure of the play, who was the source of all superstition, who showed no concern or emotion toward the superstition and its effects. The narrators costume remained the same throughout the play, I believe this was significant as nothing about him changed throughout the play: the way he moved, his facial expression, his tone of voice; all these things remained the same throughout he play. Before the play began, the narrator undid a button on his blazer and when the play ended he buttoned it back, he closed the blazer. This was significant as it symbolized the beginning and the end of the story and gave it a feeling of completion. The narrator opened his blazer in a calm manner and closed it in a calm manner; this-to me, was absolutely ironic owing to the fact that so many tragic events were to occur after he calmly unbuttoned his blazer and so many tragic event had just occurred before he calmly closed his blazer-one of those events being the death of the Johnston twins. The opening and closing of the blazer marked the opening and closing of the play. Miss Johnston was played incredibly well. The actress’s characterisation and overall portrayal of Miss Johnston was great. Her commitment to portraying Miss Johnston-throughout the play, was astounding and apparent, through her adaptation of her accent. Miss Johnston’s struggle and...
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