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“The Long and the Short and the Tall” is a play that raises important, difficult questions about individual behaviour in Wartime.

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Introduction

"The Long and the Short and the Tall" By Willis Hall Exam Brief: "The Long and the Short and the Tall" is a play that raises important, difficult questions about individual behaviour in Wartime. Such themes should be Universal in nature. Does this mean the play can be adapted to be set during any War such as the current 'situation in Afghanistan'? Discuss. "The Long and the Short and the Tall" Is a play about moral dilemma during War. It raises disturbing questions and yet offers no answers. It is set during World War 2 in 1942. A small patrol of British soldiers is sent form their base; north of Singapore, on a reconnaissance mission to investigate the movements and strength of the Japanese opposition. The 'deserted store' is of vital importance to the play as it is the set for all of the action of the play. The set creates an atmosphere, which allows different attitudes and the different characters to develop. The play allows you to peer into the relationships between the characters and watch how conflict arises and how their attitudes and their personalities change and develop. There are 8 characters whose personalities we see develop and change, they are; Sergeant Mitchem, he is in charge of the patrol, he is a fully trained and capable soldier. He is a natural leader and has obvious authority over the patrol. Corporal Johnstone is second in charge and is quick to show his authority above the other members of the patrol. He doesn't have the same sort of leadership qualities that Mitchem has. ...read more.

Middle

I think he sees the other members of the patrol gradually seeing the Japanese soldier as a human being. The attitude of Johnstone toward the Japanese soldier was that of a racialist. He had no respect at all for the Japanese soldier and treated him and spoke to and about him as if he wasn't even a human being. "It's a bloody Nip." Mitchem doesn't really have an attitude with anyone, except Bamforth and the Japanese soldier. He treated everyone as a member of the team with the exception of Bamforth who didn't really want to be a member of the team. He treats Bamforth the same way as Bamforth treats everyone else within the store. He adapts Bamforth's sarcastic remarks and uses them on him. "I've seen men who'd make a breakfast out of muck like you go in the nick and do their time and come back so that butter wouldn't melt between their crutch. Don't try and come the hardcase stuff with me, son. It doesn't work." This is one of the ways in which Mitchem shows his authority and helps restore order within the ranks. With the Japanese soldier Mitchem has a very racist attitude toward him as it becomes clear the Japanese army are in the close vicinity. He suddenly goes from not wanting to have to kill him to having to make the decision about who he has to put first, the patrol or the Japanese soldier. "It's a war. Its something in a uniform and it's a different shade to mine." "As far as I'm concerned, it's all these lads or him." ...read more.

Conclusion

I think that Willis Hall has thought very carefully about where and how the audience view this play and has therefore decided that the best way for the audience to view the play he wants it to be viewed is to be so prescriptive so that things and people are where he wants them to be when he wants them to be there. Because the play is designed to be set on a proscenium arch stage this makes his job of prescription quite difficult, as there are no ways that the actors can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think it helps an actor knowing so well where they have to be and when, it also helps the audience to view the drama as the shape of the stage creates the image of looking into a box, looking in on a microcosm. If one of the characters was changed from a male to a female, I think that the atmosphere within the confined space would change dramatically. Within the confines 'store' during the original play, there are lots of conflicting attitudes. I think that the introduction of a woman into the play would create an almost mother figure for the rest of the patrol. I think that she would do a better job at controlling Bamforth than Mitchem does and I think that there would be a lot less of the sexist remarks. With all of the testosterone flying around within the original play, I think this causes characters to think that they are greatly superior to other characters. ?? ?? ?? ?? Matthew Reeves Centre Number: 33457 Reddish Vale Technology College Matthew Reeves 10BS - Miss Huntington Page 1 ...read more.

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