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Our Day Out, by Willy Russell - review

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Introduction

Draft English Coursework "Our Day Out" is a 20th century drama play. It is written by Willie Russell and is based around a school trip from Inner city Liverpool to Conway Castle, Wales. During the play we see visible differences between the two leading teachers Mrs Kay and Mr Briggs (whose name in the play was just seen as BRIGGS). Although attitudes towards pupils differ greatly and both teachers believe in a different way of teaching and they disagree in the ways which the other one behaves and conducts activities, both teachers finish at the same point - both believe that when they speak, they speak on behalf of the majority. Mrs Kay is portrayed as a kind, warm woman who treats children as if they are on the same level as here as people, but talks down to them as stupid. She reinforces throughout the book that the children are the 'progress class' and although are human beings, can still be seen as young children and to a certain extent stupid. Whilst thinking she is trying to be helpful with the children, it is clear to see how she belittles them. To me a clear example is on page 31, just as Mrs Kay has announced a trip to the zoo. "But Progress Class, we're very lucky today to have Mr Briggs with us..." ...read more.

Middle

During the children's visit to the beach it has been noticed that one of the children, Carol Chandler is missing. Carol was mentioned earlier on in the play whilst being on the coach with Mrs Kay. It seemed that during the coach trip Carol saw through the wall Mrs Kay had built around them and showed an interest in the 'outside' world. In a way could be seen as an interest in the world outside of Liverpool, where most of the children in the play seem destined to stay for the rest of their lives. Carol "Isn't it horrible miss?" Kay " Mm?!" Carol " Ya know...I like them nice places..." Kay " Which places?" It clearly shows Mrs Kay day dreaming. Further on in the conversation Mrs Kay seems to be between worlds whilst holding a conversation with Carol. Carol asks Mrs Kay if she thinks that she could live in one of ' them nice places' which is responded by a simple "I suppose so love" type reply. Her lack of interest in Carol's conversation could provoke an event that happens later on in the play. However this relaxed and laid-back attitude can be seen as two things: disinterest in Carol or just Mrs Kay humouring Carol. However in the part of the novel, which is probably the highest in tension, it involves Briggs having to speak to Carol as an adult. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is an odd thing for Briggs and clearly takes him by surprise, as he is not portrayed throughout the play as a fatherly figure. Yet he seems pleased by this and the last part of that scene on the cliff closes with Carol and Briggs hugging. Yet as soon as they return to the beach the fatherly figure seems to disappear as Mrs Kay, who instantly fusses over her, greets Carol. Mrs Kay " Carol! Oh the worry you've caused. Oh......love" Yet in a last attempt to be seen as the 'good guy' Briggs announces that they should go to the fair. After this the coach journey back catches Briggs out. Mrs Kay takes a photo of Briggs with the children, who does not seem to too thrilled at the thought of Mrs Kay placing them around the staff room. So as the end of the play comes to a close the coach arrives back at Liverpool and things return to normal. Briggs offers to get the photos developed for Mrs Kay. Yet he thinks of the day he has had, and decides to destroy the film. This is a significant ended, as the trusting Mrs Kay returns home and so does Briggs. This shows that like Carol and the other kids, the lives of Mrs Kay and Briggs are a normal routine and it will never change. Sarah Cundy 11A 30/01/03 ...read more.

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