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Consider the playwright’s stagecraft- what would make “Journey’s End” entertaining for an audience.

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G.C.S.E English Literature Coursework. 20th Century Drama "Journey's End" (Rough Draft) TITLE: Theatre managers and producers hesitated to stage "Journey's End. They felt that a play about war, set in one dug out with an all male cast was unlikely to be popular. When it was finally staged, it was a runaway success. Consider the playwright's stagecraft- what would make "Journey's End" entertaining for an audience. Journey's End Theatre managers and producers hesitated to stage Journey's End for many reasons. Journey's End, written by R.C Sherriff is about ten young men in the trenches on the Western Front in the spring of 1918 awaiting a huge German attack. It was rejected by most of theatre managers in London, on the grounds that the public wouldn't find it interesting to watch a play about war and a play excluding women, wouldn't be popular. The play consisting of an all male cast containing no actresses could mean that the play would attract fewer males to watch the play as many might be interested in the actresses, rather than the storyline itself. This would lead to problems for the producers as the total number of tickets sold would be low. ...read more.


The company is anticipating a German attack that could be disastrous if mishandled. In charge is the brilliant young Captain Stanhope, an apparent superman with the capacity to endlessly with little sleep. Subject to unpredictable and frightening mood swings, he still has the support of his battalion and close friend Osborne. Stanhope's ego is shattered when the younger brother of his girlfriend back home is assigned to his company. He Fears the boy will report his deterioration to the girl, Stanhope becomes unhinged and decides to censor his letter. He then realises that Raleigh promotes his reputation further. We also realise he likes things tidy and organised; at the beginning of the play Hardy quickly makes an escape prior to seeing Stanhope. Osborne acts as Stanhope's close friend throughout his hard times and unpredictable mood swings and as I read the play I assume he has done a thousand times in the past. Osborne, who is referred to all the other characters lightly as 'Uncle', seems to be a respectful and loyal to friends. On page 11 he describes Stanhope as a "splendid chap". He instantly becomes close friends with Raleigh and seems to be the perfect listener and friend. ...read more.


Apart from these minor exeptions the dialogue is easily understood. The factors of Journey's End that made it such a hit is the conflict and tension between the characters in the dug-out, and the use of dramatic irony during the play. I believe Sheriff had extraordinary talent in this. We first get a sense of unease and tension when Hardy and Osborne are discussing who should be in command. When Hardy describes the damage done by minnies he replies. "a dug-out got blown up and came down in the men's tea, they were frightfully annoyed". This is an example of hardy underst. The audience loves dramatic irony and we first come across it when Raleigh "hero-worships" Stanhope. He then describes when Stanhope caught people with whiskey and he hit the roof. The audience knows Stanhope's drinking problem although Raleigh is unaware of it. Just before Stanhope finally meets Raleigh he orders a bottle of whisky from Mason. Stanhope sees Raleigh and there is a silence and in a low voice Stanhope says "how did you - get here? Tensions also rise when Hibbert pretends to be ill. When Stanhope refuses to let him go he strikes Stanhope which could is a serious crime. Hibbert's cowardice is dealt with when Stanhope offers his own problems as a comparison. ...read more.

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