Our Day Out!!!!

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Writers are influenced by the historical times in which they live.

Everyday of their lives, what they say and the way they act is influenced by the time in which they live.

The 70s influenced Willy Russell in his writing. There are many examples of this in Our Day Out such as the style of the fair and the shop, the way the characters speak and the things that are going on, for example the description of the economic slump at the time.

One of the reasons for Britain’s industry being in decline was, that it was unable to be competitive on price against other countries who had new technology. The technology increased productivity and reduced costs through the use of less labour. As a result, some of the main industries in Britain had great financial difficulty and had to close down or reduce the work force causing a loss in jobs and high unemployment. This caused poverty and meant that people could not afford decent property and had to move into council homes.

Class differences occurred, dividing people who had money and decent homes from people with little money and poor homes or no home at all.

Willy Russell’s writing was inspired by experiences when he was a teacher at a comprehensive school. Whilst he was a teacher at the school, he accompanied a teacher of a remedial department on a trip to Conwy castle and a zoo. At the last minute a deputy head of disciplinarian behaviour also joined the party creating a potential recipe for disaster. During the course of the day the deputy head relaxed and enjoyed himself, only to revert to his usual self at the end of the day. In doing so, he destroyed all the positive achievements of the day.

This play is about a progress class, which go on a trip for the first time. Mrs Kay cares for the children a great deal and just wants them to have fun as long as they don’t hurt anyone or themselves. The deputy head who joins the trip unexpectedly changes this and believes they should be quiet and not have as much fun in order to learn.

As the day goes on the children get up to all sorts of mischief including stealing. Eventually the deputy head finds out about this and his attitude towards the kids deteriorated even further. Mr Briggs just wants to get them back to school as soon as possible.

When put in a situation however, with one of the children threatening to jump from a cliff he loosens up and takes the class to the fair, where they have a great time. However at the end of the day Mr Briggs takes the negatives of him having fun and exposes them to the light.

At the start of the play you learn a bit about the children and the type of lives that they live. They are living in the inner city of Liverpool, which comes across as a poor area and where council houses are situated. The first character introduced to us was Carol, a younger girl who explains what the progress class is and that they are going on a trip. She seems to lack intelligence and it doesn’t seem as if she is taught much at school. She also seems to have a very strong accent.

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CAROL “Don’t y’ know what the progress class is? It’s Mrs Kay’s class. Y’ go down there in the week if y’ can’t do readin’ or sums or writin’. If you’re backward like.”

LES “By Christ, I’ll bet she’s kept busy. They’re all bloody backward round here.”

At the start we also meet two other main children, Reilly and Digga. They used to be in the progress class.

REILLY “Yeh, well, we used to be in the progress class didn’t we?”

SUSAN “But Brian, you’re not in the Progress Class any longer, are you? Now that you can ...

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