Blood Brothers - Form, structure and language

1

Read this extract and then answer the following questions.

MRS JOHNSTONE
What will I do? How are we gonna live without my job?
MRS LYONS
Yes, well we’ve thought of that. Here, here’s... (She pushes the money into MRS JOHNSTONE’s hands.) It’s a lot of money... but, well...
MRS JOHNSTONE
(thinking, desperate; trying to get it together.) OK. All right. All right, Mrs Lyons, right. If I’m goin’, I’m takin’ my son with me, I’m takin’...
(As MRS JOHNSTONE moves towards the cot, MRS LYONS roughly drags her out of the way.)
MRS LYONS
Oh no, you’re not. Edward is my son. Mine.
MRS JOHNSTONE
I’ll tell someone... I’ll tell the police... I’ll bring the police in an’...
MRS LYONS
No... no you won’t. You gave your baby away. Don’t you realise what a crime that is? You’ll be locked up. You sold your baby.
(MRS JOHNSTONE, horrified, sees the bundle of notes in her hand, and throws it across the room.)
MRS JOHNSTONE
I didn’t... You told me, you said I could see him every day. Well, I’ll tell someone, I’m gonna tell...
(MRS JOHNSTONE starts to leave but MRS LYONS stops her.)
MRS LYONS
No. You’ll tell nobody.
(Music)
Because... because if you tell anyone... and these children learn of the truth, then you know what will happen, don’t you? You do know what they say about twins, secretly parted, don’t you?
MRS JOHNSTONE
(terrified) What? What?
MRS LYONS
They... they say that if either twin learns that he once was a pair, they shall both immediately die. It means, Mrs Johnstone, that these brothers shall grow up unaware of the other’s existence. They shall be raised apart and never, ever told what was once the truth. You won’t tell anyone about this, Mrs Johnstone, because if you do, you will kill them.
(MRS LYONS picks up the money and thrusts it into MRS JOHNSTONE’s hands. MRS LYONS turns and walks away.)

What do the stage directions reveal about Mrs Johnstone here?

2

What do the pauses in Mrs Johnstone’s speech suggest about her state of mind?

3

What do the stage directions suggest about the relationship between Mrs Johnstone and Mrs Lyons?

4

What do the differences between Mrs Johnstone’s way of speaking and Mrs Lyons’ way of speaking remind the audience of?

5

What does Mrs Johnstone’s line Oh no, you’re not. Edward is my son. Mine. suggest about her character at this point in the scene?

6

Read this extract and then answer the following questions.

(We see MRS JOHNSTONE hustling MICKEY to school.)
MRS JOHNSTONE
You’re gonna be late y’ know. Y’ late already.
MICKEY
I’m not.
MRS JOHNSTONE
You’re gonna miss the bus.
MICKEY
I won’t.
MRS JOHNSTONE
Well, you’ll miss Linda, she’ll be waitin’ for y’.
MICKEY
Well, I don’t wanna see her. What do I wanna see her for?
MRS JOHNSTONE
(laughing at his transparency) You’ve only been talkin’ about her in your sleep for the past week...
MICKEY
(outraged) You liar...
MRS JOHNSTONE
‘Oh, my sweet darling...’
MICKEY
I never. That was – a line out the school play!
MRS JOHNSTONE
(her laughter turning to a smile) All right. I believe y’. Now go before you miss the bus. Are y’ goin’?
(We see LINDA at the bus stop.)
LINDA
Hi-ya, Mickey.
MRS JOHNSTONE
Ogh, did I forget? Is that what you’re waitin’ for? Y’ waiting’ for y’ mum to give y’ a big sloppy kiss, come here...
MICKEY
I’m goin’, I’m goin’...
(SAMMY runs through the house, pulling on a jacket as he does so.)
SAMMY
Wait for me, YOU.
MRS JOHNSTONE
Where you goin’ Sammy?
SAMMY
(on his way out) The dole.
(MICKEY and SAMMY exit.)
(MRS JOHNSTONE stands watching them as they approach the bus stop. She smiles at MICKEY’s failure to cope with LINDA’s smile of welcome. The ‘bus’ appears, with the NARRATOR as the conductor.)
CONDUCTOR
Come on, if y’ gettin’ on. We’ve not got all day.
(SAMMY, MICKEY and LINDA get on the ‘bus’.)
MRS JOHNSTONE
(calling to her kids) Tarrah, lads. Be good, both of y’ now. I’ll cook a nice surprise for y’ tea.
CONDUCTOR
(noticing her as he goes to ring the bell) Gettin’ on, Missis?
(MRS JOHNSTONE shakes her head, still smiling.)
CONDUCTOR
(speaking) Happy are y’? Content at last?
Wiped out what happened, forgotten the past?
(She looks at him, puzzled.)
But you’ve got to have an endin’, if a start’s been made.
No one gets off without the price bein’ paid.

How does Mickey feel at the start of this extract?

7

What do the stage directions suggest about the type of mother Mrs Johnstone is?

8

What impression is given of the character of Sammy in this extract?

9

What does Mrs Johnstone’s Tarrah, lads. Be good, both of y’ now. I’ll cook a nice surprise for y’ tea. suggest about how her life has changed in Act Two compared to Act One?

10

What does the Narrator’s metaphor No one gets off without the price bein’ paid mean?