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A Comparison between Billy Liar and Shirley Valentine

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A Comparison between Billy Liar and Shirley Valentine I have just been studying Billy Liar and performing it as part of my mock scripted drama GCSE, and have been asked to compare this theatre script to the film script of Shirley Valentine. I have already given the first difference between these two scripts; one is a theatre script and the other is designed specifically for the big screen. Billy Liar was originally a novel written by Keith Waterhouse, who with the help of Willis Hall made it into a theatre script in the 1960's. Billy is an imaginative youth who is fighting to get out of his complacent, clich�-ridden background. He was born and brought up in a town in Yorkshire and lives with his father, Geoffrey, mother, Alice, and grandmother, Florence. Billy has three girlfriends, Rita, Barbara and Liz, but he only shows genuine affection and feelings towards Liz. Billy is always fantasising and making up things which earns him the label 'liar'. At the end of the play Billy decides to leave his home and follow Liz to London but as we find out in the last scene he 'chickens' out and returns to the home he so desperately wants to escape. ...read more.


Because both scripts are designed for different purposes the dialogue in each one is very different. In Billy Liar the dialogue is quite lengthy and quite adult, proper and formal in the way it is constructed. This would be down to the time at which it was written. In the 1960's the Lord Chancellor was very tough on censorship. Any swearing or even slightly risqu� images were changed or censored completely. The strongest word used within the play is probably 'bloody' which Geoffrey says a lot and even this, is a bit 'close to the bone'. Whereas when Shirley Valentine was written there was not such a strong censorship law. In Shirley Valentine there is a lot of risqu� language and many sexual innuendoes. The dialogue is a also very brief, there is no need for such long and perfectly formed sentences because the visuals give us the information, for example there are many close-up's of Shirley which give us the understanding which you cannot get in theatre. Also because of this extra medium the audience feels much closer to Shirley as we are let into her most intermit thoughts and feelings its much more personal, and because of this we are much more inclined to be sympathetic towards Shirley. ...read more.


Where on the other hand Billy is a lot harder to relate to. We she him come back at the end of the play and unpack his suitcase placing the calendars back into the sideboard cupboard. This gives the impression that he can never escape, and the audience feels sorry for Billy because of this but we also feel a lot more detached from Billy. Billy had the chance but didn't take it, he was not brave enough, but he also left Liz at the train station having brought the tickets for the both of them. Billy is still very naive and obviously still is not sure what he wants. Another comparison we can make is through the characters Joe and Geoffrey. Both are very strong and narrow-minded businessmen. They have no consideration for the feelings of others; they are chauvinistic, antagonistic and brusque. But in the end we see that Joe is starting to 'come round' and we love him for it but Geoffrey on the other hand is still just as stubborn. This behaviour reflects in the actions of Shirley and Billy. So in conclusion I think both of the plays offers very different things but also have striking similarities. Drama Coursework - A comparison between Billy Liar and Shirley Valentine Anjali Lockett Page 1 ...read more.

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