Blood Brothers tells the story of twin bothers who are born into a large working class family from Liverpool called the Johnston’s. Due to financial problems and threats from the welfare to take the family into care, Mrs Johnston decides to have one of the twins adopted into the Lyons family, (a rich upper-class family who are unable to have children). The play looks at the differences and conflicts in their upbringings, their relationships to each other and those around them, and their real and adopted mothers.
The essential way we went about working on it was this. We would start off by reading the passage we would be working on at the beginning of the lesson. We would then talk with our teacher about how we should go about performing the piece and what kind of techniques we should use to make our pieces real. We would then go off into our groups and create and practice our scene and then perform it, often using many improvising during the process.
We did a lot of preparatory lessons leading up to our main scene that we would work on. These are the lessons we did:
* Liverpudlian Accent – For this lesson we started off by reading the first 2 chapters of the play. We then as a class discussed what we thought the stereotypical accents would be for each of the two classes of family. The main focus of this task was to teach us how to use the accents in our later lessons and distinguish the two accents from each other.
* Learn Lines – In this lesson we went and practiced lines from the play of a scene in groups of two or three. We then performed our scenes to the rest of the class to the best of our ability trying to remember all the lines we had learned before hand.
* Kids- role-playing in playground – For this lesson we practiced with our teacher in a whole class role-play of how to act as children. We practiced many of the features of children such as very happy and over expressed facial features and body language often doing very childlike and disgusting features that we thought kids would do in and act like.
* Mrs Lyons presents Mr Lyons – For this task we worked in boy/girl pairs that our teacher selected for us. This was a good development as it enabled us to work with people we would never usually work with and see how well we got on with each other, although for some students it was very awkward. For this scene we performed Mrs Lyons presenting the baby that she had received from Mrs Johnston and portraying our views of what we thought Mr Lyons reaction would be. We mainly focused on our body language and trying to perform as naturally and real as possible.
For our main task we focused on Act 4 scenes 1 and 2 and the transition between the two. We had to create two scenes over the period of a few lessons, which would show the first one being a group of happy young people, enjoying themselves and having fun. We would then create a second scene showing the change into a sad and depressed group of people in which nobody has jobs and everybody is unhappy.
For our first scene our group decided to use the idea of the group starting off in a car with everyone having a good time, using many happy facial expressions and body language (with me standing through the sunroof trying to fly). Then we transformed the piece into us at a bowling alley, where Tyler and me get into a fight scene but quickly make up. We then moved onto the group dancing, which involved Tyler getting ahead of himself and the rest of the group walking off and then moved onto us everyone at the beach relaxing.
We really all came up with the idea, with each of us adding pointers here and there but I think I gradually took control of the group and became the leader, as I was having to get them to listen and stop messing about and focus on what we were doing and directing them in what they should do and where they should go. We also had trouble choreographing it as nobody really knew what they were doing and we wanted to make sure we were continually facing the audience.
In the first lesson we didn’t really do anything as none of us had any ideas and there was a lot of squabbling around who should be in the group as there was a lot of us, and nobody wanted Tyler to be in the group due to his reputation for messing about and losing focus.
In the second lesson we decided to throw a lot of ideas together to see what we could come up with and eventually we came up with the idea we had with the help of our teacher. We began work on the scene and got a lot of work done that lesson.
In the third lesson we performed our piece and I think it went quite well although there was a mix-up with the music and lighting.
For our second scene we decided to start off with Tom and me doing a narrative speech to begin with, then we moved onto the manager of a company becoming redundant and having to fire all the workers. We then had all of the workers walk off unhappy and depressed and then showed Tom and me having nothing to do at home due to the lack of money.
Tom and Me originally came up with the idea and everyone else just seemed to agree. We did however have a completely different idea at the start which involved Tom and me being depressing spirits and mocking everyone as they lose their jobs, but I recommended we do something else as the scene really only focused on Tom and me and didn’t include anyone else. Everyone else agreed with this and so we did the idea we performed in the end.
In the first lesson we put all our ideas together and used the first idea and immediately got to work although Tyler and Daniel and David began to mess about a bit probably due to the work they weren’t doing anything in the scene much.
In the second lesson we decided to do the second idea, but this was very difficult as we had to use our imagination to come up with the ideas very quickly and not everybody was very happy with changing the whole thing so quickly. We then performed the piece using a lot of improvisation, as we did not come up with a lot of material in the limited time we had.
To evaluate I would say the whole two pieces were ok. We did not really concentrate as well as we could have and we often changed ideas very quickly instead of just sticking to one idea. We did however stage the scenes very well as our changeovers were very smooth and fluid and we tried to create as much stage space as possible so the audience could see us clearly. I think the first scene was marginally better than the second as we had much more time to come up with the ideas and it was quite a bit longer. I think I played quite a big role in the whole thing as I did a lot to contribute to the ideas and helped to get everyone into order.
I think next time I will try performing with other people as everyone in my group I have worked with quite a lot. Also it will give me the opportunity to broaden my ideas and get to know other people, as I do not get on with some of the people in me group.
To finish I would like to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed doing the Blood Brothers subject and I have learnt a lot from the experience and learned many new techniques. I also think that if I was in Mrs Johnston’s shoes I would also have given away my child as I would rather give one away, knowing that its going to a good home and get to keep the rest than keep them all and then lose them all. I think the play teaches us that we have to respect other people no matter what class of living they come from and always try to listen to and stick with your friends. I have much to improve on and I think the play is a very good one, and I wished I had of seen it when the drama groups saw the play in London.