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Our day out - Willy Russell

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Our day out The play our day out, by Willy Russell was written during the 1970's. The play is set in Liverpool, which in the 1970's was not holding well economically, which had the population on a low morale. For example during this period of time Britain had become part of the European market, which left the docks in Liverpool desolated and no longer in use. This now left the city, which was once known throughout Europe for its great docks very deprived, and in recession with the coal industry also dying out and leaving the country yet more grief economically. The play is on the subject of a progress class (which is a class consisting of children with poor literate skills e.g. reading and writing etc). The class has a trip arranged to Conwy in Wales. On the way to their destination the audience are entertained in the midst of hilarious acts of cunningness and stupidity (a good example of this would be when the children visit the zoo on the way to Wales and end of stealing various zoo animals). In addition to the funny side of the play the audience also learn a serious note to the play, which I will comment in detail later in this assignment. The main characters in this play consist of two teachers and one young girl at the age of thirteen. Carol is the young thirteen-year-old student attending the progress class; she is branded for being shy and for possessing delicate feelings and emotions. She has a mother and daughter relationship with Mrs Kay, although her correlation with Mr Briggs is very rocky as in his view all the children in the progress class as forever puerile and frivolous children, who have no hope in the world. Carol is a curious and ambitious character. The following quote distinguishes her ambitious side. As her thought on living in the glorious sunny locations she watched on her T.V. ...read more.


However as the story progresses and John and Mac hurriedly check the tills to cash in their loot when they find to their astonishment, horror and disbelief that the till remained basically the same as how it had been just before the children arrived into the shop. This could visibly mean one thing now ... the children had outsmarted the shopkeepers and were now on the bus laughing at them. Both shopkeepers were furious that their furtive plan had been converted into the favour of a bunch of witty youngsters from Liverpool. The simple following quote will portray the utter disgust of the shopkeepers and the hatred they feel towards the children. 'The thievin' little bastards!'(page 25) After such a high climax in excitement the anger from the keepers is not surprising as after being brought straight back down is not pleasant at all. Another humorous scene in the play is when the children visit the zoo as a rest bite from the bus journey in scene 24. To begin with the children are escorted around the zoo with the teachers. However the children manage to persuade the teachers (even Mr Briggs) that they should be able to make their own ways around the zoo. The request is accepted and the teachers go off for a coffee in the zoo caf� whilst the children begin to become physical with the animals. As the play progresses and the children are called back to continue the journey they swiftly take hold of an animal and hide them from view, as they enter the coach. However just as Mr Briggs become slightly impressed with the children's behaviour on entering the coach a frustrated and hurried looking zoo keeper enters the bus fuming. He claims that the children had stolen the missing animals. The complaint leads to the children having to be searched or own up. The threat of being individually caught it too embarrassing. ...read more.


All these techniques used by Willy Russell bring the viewer(s) great entertainment lots of laughs, and intense suspense through the dramatic irony. The humour keeps the reader and audience happy and cheerful and gives them a little giggle once in a while in scenes such as the zoo and shop scenarios. The dramatic irony on the other hand keeps the audience interested in the outcomes of again the zoo scenes and shop scenes. The cliff scene also provides a sort of suspense as the audience are left keen to find out what Carol decides as they are not aware of the fact that Briggs can be pleasant towards the children which would never allow them to predict that a good ending may come from the encounter Carol has with Mr Briggs. The play makes the audience think about how lucky the children today are when compared to the children in progress classes in the 1970's. Today we do not have 'progress classes' which gives an even chance for everyone to make something of himself or herself. Whereas the children of the progress class in those days were doomed to an unpleasant future full of misery and suffering etc. All children now can have dreams and make them come true unlike Carol who was certainly not going to have her dream of living in a place like Conwy as she was a 'liverpudlian' and a pupil of the progress class which are the perfect mixture for a future of hard factory work and financial suffering etc. Children now have a better future because as mentioned before they all have an even chance, which means they can have dreams of living somewhere pleasant and actually have it come true through hard work. In all basically the play made me personally feel how lucky I am to be a student of the present as I have all the facilities for success and a bright future if I take them to my advantage unlike the students of the depression Britain had during the 1970's. ...read more.

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  1. Our Day Out - character study of Mr Briggs

    Carol just cant relax because shes dreading going home. Although Mrs Kay knows her well, she doesnt realise how serious Carol is. A funny scene with Colin Susan and Reily but its only important because Briggs has been watching them and disapproves of their behaviour. He totally mis understands whats going on and later threatens Susan with reporting ehr behaviour.

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