Choose a production you have seen during your course that made a strong emotional impact on the audience. A production I went to see recently was Blood Brothers, performed at the Alhambra theatre. Overall, this was an excellent play, and fully enjoyed by all. The whole play was excellently done, and I thought that the whole of the story made an emotional impact on the audience.
The story begins with a woman, Mrs Johnstone, who falls pregnant with twins. She cannot afford to keep them both, so she decides to give one away to Mrs. Lyons, the person she works for, and who cannot have children herself. She gives the child away and he grows up in a middle class environment. He is called Eddie. The son she keeps is called Mickey, and he grows up in a working class environment. Mrs. Lyons sacks Mrs. Johnstone, and they agree never to tell their sons the truth. But, as the sons grow up they become friends, and even blood brothers. This is quite ironic, because they are actually real brothers.
They keep in contact; Mickey gets married, but is very unhappy. Eddie loves Mickey’s’ wife, Linda, so Mickey plans to kill Eddie. It all ends with a big finale, where both brothers end up dead. Because we are shown the final scene at the beginning, we know that as the play goes along it is building up to a big and sad ending, so we are left wondering all of the way through how its going to end. The story takes us through the two boys growing up so we feel that we really know them and their lives. We feel all of the emotions they feel, like we are involved with the characters in some way.
The story is built up gradually, basically following the lives of Eddie and Mickey, and how different they are, and how social class divides them, even though they are really brothers. This play is a musical, and the music tells a story in itself. Some of the key lines and ideas are sung in the songs- the music is a major feature of the performance. It is of a high standard, and it really captures the dramatic tension of the play.
One scene, which really had an impact, on the whole of the audience and me, was the final scene. Eddie is at a council meeting, and Mickey is coming down to see him. Mickey is suffering from depression at this point- his life is in shreds. He has lost his job, and is losing the one love of his life-Linda. Eddie has also always loved Linda, and he has been meeting with her and talking about her problems with Mickey. Mickey sees it as though Eddie is taking her away, and plans to kill him.
The setting for Eddies meeting is quite good- walls are lowered down and different props are used to set the scene. Then Mickey rushes onstage with a gun, his pace is already getting the audience nervous, and the gun provokes fear. By this stage the audience are caught up in the action. The costumes are really good- we can see the difference in class; Eddie is wearing a posh woollen long coat and looks middle class, whereas Mickey is wearing a dirty and scruffy t-shirt. All the people at the meeting rush out when Mickey appears; it is a shock that there is someone with a gun. Mickey speaks to Eddie. His voice is loud, nervous, and out of control. There is so much anger and bitterness in his voice, and this is what is driving him to do this plan of killing Eddie. All the attention is focused on these two main characters. Eddie tries to keep his voice cool and calm, at a low pitch, to control himself and hide his own shock and fear. Mickey uses the stage excellently, moving around Eddie with the gun held high.
Suddenly, Mrs Johnstone runs on. She brings on more feelings of panic, she is scared and shocked at the scenario, and cannot control the emotion in her voice…as she tells Mickey that Eddie is his brother. All through the play the audience have been waiting for this moment, but we still feel like it’s a shock, as if we have only just realised it, and the dramatic tension is getting greater and greater. All of a sudden, there is a loud blast of noise, and policemen come rushing up onto the stage. The clever thing is that they come onstage from the back of the theatre- so they run through the audience. This is brilliant, as it really makes the audience feel part of the action, as it’s happening off the stage as well as on. In the confusion, there is a very loud gunshot noise, followed by a second shot. Mickey accidentally shot Eddie, and then the police shot Mickey.
The sound from the policemen dies down, and we come to realise the full impact of what has just happened. Both brothers lay, motionless, side-by-side. Their mother joins their hands together- this is very symbolic of the time when they made the deal to be blood brothers, and they joined hands, and how much has passed since then. The lights also dim, until there is just a spotlight on the two brothers, as they are the main focus. Mrs Johnstone begins to sing, and the emotion comes out in the music- the sadness and pain she must be feeling. We feel her emotions like they are our own. Then some of the other characters join in the song, and we feel that a great loss has affected so many people, and how all the different people involved in the brothers’ lives have just lost a loved one. The atmosphere is overwhelming, and the audience are totally emotionally involved in the tragedy.