Blood Brothers: stage directions

Blood Brothers: stage directions

General Understanding of Stage Directions

  • “Blood Brothers” is a play by Willy Russell which heavily utilises stage directions to enrich the drama.
  • Stage directions are instructions given by the playwright to indicate the action or movement of characters. They also provide key details about the setting, props, lighting, sound, and costume.
  • In “Blood Brothers”, stage directions are vital for understanding the characters’ emotions and driving the plot forward.

Stage Directions for Setting, Characters and Symbolism

  • The play opens with an explicit stage direction involving the positioning of characters and props, demonstrating the socio-economic contrast between the families. The Johnston family’s home is shown as warm but chaotic, whereas the wealthier Lyons family’s home is portrayed as cold and sterile.
  • Russell weaves in stage directions to essentially demonstrate the transition of characters from childhood to adulthood. This is evident in scenes like when Mickey and Edward first meet, where their childlike innocence is indicated by Russell’s direction to perform in a ‘childish’ manner.
  • There are symbolic stage directions in “Blood Brothers”. For instance, the use of the Narrator who lingers ‘in shadow’. This suggests his omnipresence and his role as a reminder of the tragic destiny that awaits the brothers.

Stage Directions for Characters’ Emotions and Plot Progression

  • Russell also utilizes stage directions to illuminate the characters’ internal thoughts and feelings. This is visible in the stage direction ‘she looks younger, less worn’ showing Mrs. Johnstone’s hope and optimism at the prospect of a fresh start.
  • The end of the play is particularly important where the stage direction ‘they move towards each other as if drawn by an invisible force’ underscores the inexplicable bond between the twins and the tragic inevitability of their fate.

Other Uses of Stage Directions

  • Stage directions also help to set the mood and atmosphere of the play. For instance, the usage of lighting to depict the change in time or emotional state of a character, or the use of sound like the ‘heartbeat’ to build suspense and tension.

Importance of Understanding Stage Directions for Examination

  • Keep in mind that while revising “Blood Brothers”, understanding the purpose and effect of Russell’s stage directions is crucial, as this will enable an in-depth interpretation of characters, plot, and themes.