The importance of scene 35 (the cliff scene) in Willy Russell's Our Day Out

Topics: Our Day Out

A class from a school in Liverpool set off for a school trip to a castle in Wales. Four teachers and a class seems normal and this play is basically about an every day school trip kids getting told off on the bus all seems normal. But when they arrive in Wales (after stopping off at a service station) it all turns wired, the kids…. ‘revolt’ and the teachers take sides with them. The only ‘sane’ one left is Mr. Briggs who decided to go.

The class and the teachers go to the castle as planned, but Mrs. Kay decides to alter the plan, and instead of going back to school, she pity’s them and lets them have a day out.

Mr. Briggs is furious as he learns that that the children and the teachers join forces to have ‘Our Day Out’. Summary of the main characters Mr. Briggs Mr. Briggs is negative about his colleagues the students don’t like him and he is very abrupt.

Mr. Briggs thinks that you have to risk not being like by the children to teach them anything. Mr. Briggs jumps to conclusions a lot and confronts Mrs. Kay about the way she does things and he thinks all things like trips must be planned and executed. Mrs. Kay Mrs. Kay is quite the opposite of Mr. Briggs, she is laid back and lets the children do what they want.

Mrs. Kay is caring and trusts her students. Mrs. Kay worries about her pupils and pity’s the students when she feels sorry for them.

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Carol Chandler Carol is a student from the progress class and she is very forgetful and isn’t that clever. She doesn’t know if Wales is in England. “Will we have to get a boat? ” She is not afraid to express her opinions and she wants to better herself and live in a nice place. Carol is from a lower working class background and has never seen the sea before therefore when she goes to Wales she doesn’t want to go back.

Analysis of the Stage Directions conveyed through the 3 characters Mr. Briggs is one of the key characters in the play. Conveyed through the stage directions we get the impression that Mr. Briggs is a much more organised man. We see this in the stage direction of “the kids are tumbling off the coach, Mrs. Kay pulls out a flask, and Briggs is frantic. ” The use of the word “tumbling” shows that there is no order in how the children exit the vehicle and no organisation or administration in the day trip. Briggs obviously cannot stand to see this as he as “frantic”.

Mrs. Kay pulling out her flask does not help the situation; this point shows that she is calm, tranquil and relaxed in what the children do. You can clearly see Briggs admires his orderliness and being in control. This is stated in the stage direction “Briggs with ordered children. ” This shows that he is in control, in charge and the children respect him. As well as being a control freak, Mr. Briggs is extremely boring when this side is show. The use of the stage direction “at the back, the kids are stifled with boredom by Briggs’ presence”.

The fact that by Briggs being there and that the children are stifled with boredom shows that he is a monotonous, mind-numbing person to be around. Even though Briggs has a dreary, unenthusiastic side to him as shown in the points above, we also see a change throughout the trip. We see him change to a man who cares about and for the children’s welfare and education. This is portrayed in the stage direction “he wraps his arm around her. ” This is where we see the caring side of Briggs, he is affectionate towards Carol when he realises she could be in danger and could be hurt.

Another quote that shows his new emotion is “Briggs slowly holds out his hand” the use of the word “slowly” shoes his affectionate side. He obviously means no harm to Carol. Mrs. Kay is a very important character in the play as well as Mr. Briggs. In the play Willy Russell portrays her as being a relaxed, pleasant and careless person, which isn’t a good approach for a teacher. These points are shown in the stage direction “Mrs. Kay sits on a bench. ” This action suggests that she has immense trust in the children, or is just not concerned. By Mrs. Kay sitting on the bench shows her lack of concern for the children.

This also links in with the stage direction “pouring out another cup of coffee. ” The use of the word “another” shows that she has done this numerous times on several occasions when the children need supervision the most, especially in the shop scene and the zoo scene where the children get up to no good and steal sweets and chocolate from the shop and attempt to kidnap small zoo animals such as rabbits and even a baby goat. Mrs. Kay also has the motherly touch. This is shown in the stage directions “they look more like mother and daughter” this implies the fact that Mrs.

Kay is more of a friend to the students than a common, strict teacher. This is also shown in the complimentary stage direction, “she quickly lifts him so she is carrying him cradle fashion out of the water,” this implies that she is an entertaining and compelling person to be around. The use of the phrase “carrying him cradle fashion” shows that she is not only an exciting person but secures the situation at the same time. This point also is associated with the previous point of being tranquil and unperturbed. As well as being a motherly figure, all the children like her and prefer her to all the other teachers.

This is shown in the stage direction “she moves a short distance and all the kids follow her. ” The use if the expression “short distance” implies the fact that no matter how far she goes, the children definitely want to be around her that the other teachers. Our first impressions of Carol are shown at the beginning of the play. The first paragraph tells us that she is a child from a misfortunate background. This is shown when the stage direction reads “wearing a school uniform which doubles as a street out fit and her Sunday best” implying that she cannot other clothes apart from her necessary school uniform.

Carol also cannot afford essential items such as a school bag; in the play it quotes that she is “clutching a supermarket carrier bag. ” She is eating a half eating sandwich on her way to school, which indicates that she has not had breakfast but yesterdays left over. Carol represents deprivation and the idea that she is poor because of the points made above. All this compares to the end of the play because at the end, Carol is still the same person that she was before the trip. The only difference is that she knows about a different place and life rather that Liverpool and has a goldfish grasped in her hand that she won at the carnival.

Dramatic Tension Dramatic tension shows the mood of the scenes. Also, creates a cliff-hanger. In the cliff scene there is a lot of tension. This is reflected in the line: “Briggs begins to tell her off and she moves to the edge of the cliff threatening to jump. ” This is tense because you wonder if she is going to jump or not. It leaves the audience on a cliff-hanger, on the edge of their seats. Another line to show the tension is: “Carol slips on the edge of the cliff. ” This is tense because it makes the audience jump from their seats.

The audience also wonder if she is going to survive or not. I think that dramatic tension is important in a play like this because without it the play would be rubbish, for example Carol says in scene 35, “Don’t you come near me! ” If Carol had just said, “Don’t come near me please” it would have no enthusiasm to it and therefore there would be no tension to it but because she shouted at Mr. Briggs it brought tension to that specific part in the scene of the play. The audience was left thinking what will be Mr. Briggs reaction and how will Carol react back to it. When she shouts at Mr.

Briggs she is out of character it’s not like Carol acts in the rest of the play this also creates tension. The cliff-top scene is one of the most dramatic parts of the play. It is also the scene where both Briggs and Carol have a change in their personality. Carol becomes rude and rebellious (like Linda) and starts calling him “Briggsy”. She begins to use unfamiliar words and phrases… “friggin” and also has a change in attitude, from being well-mannered to being cheeky in a cocky sort of way. She also begins to ignore him at times, which she wouldn’t have done previously.

Briggs however, becomes somewhat more considerate and develops empathy for Carol and her classmates. To begin with, he expects to be obeyed, but later realises that he is not getting the desired response from the children. After Carol tells him how selfish he is, he takes it into consideration and tries a different approach by smiling at the children. The constant camera changes from Briggs to Carol and vice versa, create tension, as does the scene where Carol steps towards the edge of the cliff. The use of tension in this scene, creates questions in the readers mind will she jump? will Briggs fall? Analysis

I think the tension level is quite high in the beginning of scene 35 due to the teachers worrying about Carol’s whereabouts as she has wondered off on her own. The stage directions state that Mrs. Kay is shouting, “Carol, Carol” it also states that, “Colin is searching the far end of the beach. ” As the audience we feel all the teachers’ anxiety and concern to find Carol therefore this heightens the tension that extra bit more. I also think that the setting in this scene is important when creating dramatic tension. It describes in the first line, “Below the cliff-top the sea is breaking on rocks in a cave mouth. ”

It also states that, “Carol is standing on top of the cliff watching the wave below. ” This states that Carol is dangerously stood close to the edge on the cliff because she can see the waves below her. The audience wonder why she has put herself in this position. What has possessed her to do it? At the beach, another one of Mrs Kay’s bonus stops, Carol Chandler flees to the cliff without anyone knowing. This is the most important scene in the play this is because all the disagreement has built up so high and comes to a head, that Mr Briggs has a turning point and becomes someone different. Someone who he thought he would never be.

Carol wanders off to the cliff, as she does not want to go back to her deprived home life. Mr Briggs finds her he is the wrong person to have found her. As he sees her he approaches her whilst shouting at her, he asks her who gave her permission to go to the cliff. This is the wrong approach and Mrs Kay would have handled the situation much more calmly, being able to relate to Carol. The tension is building up and up. Carol threatens to jump if Briggs comes near her and she really means it. You can tell how hazardous the situation is that she is in, she really would jump if it saved her from going back to her home life.

The friction is really building up between Briggs and Carol. The pressure is on Mr Briggs to talk her out of not jumping. He is very confrontational and does not really understand the problem and what is going on. Carol tells Mr Briggs ‘Don’t you come near me! ‘ which is extremely out of character for Carol. Throughout this scene Russell pauses several times causing tension to build up and up. Briggs thinks that he can’t take anymore stress and that the incident with Carol has just pushed him to his limits. He has had to put up with an awful lot during the day.

First it was the theft of sweets at the roadside cafi?? etc. Then he had trust in the children at the zoo, but they betray him by taking many of the zoo animals aboard the coach. Giving a bad name to the school and the school been banned to go there on future trips to that zoo. ‘ I’ve had just about enough, and I’m not putting up with a pile of silliness from the likes of you’, this also shows that he does not regard her as an important person. Her disobedience is really getting to him and he is starting to take it personally ‘ just what are you trying to do to me’.

You can tell that she is really despondent at home at home and that it really means a lot to her if she stays ‘I wana stay her. Where it’s nice’. Even though she is in the progress class, she is acting quite intelligent. She can see through Mr Briggs ‘That’s why briggsy! So stop going on you hate me’. Carol is clever enough to know that she will never have the chance for her aspiration to come true ‘Don’t be friggin stupid’. Then Mr Briggs starts to talk to Carol as his new self and it makes her realise that it wouldn’t be any good staying.

She also knows it would be hopeless plan, down to her specific disabilities getting in the way. ‘If I stayed though, it wouldn’t be no good’. Even though she has realised she can’t stay she still feels really desperate ‘I’m not goin’ back though’. Then Briggs says something that is really out of character for him to say to a student ‘please’. Then all of sudden he started to sound like Mrs Kay and that is the beginning of the turning point for Mr Briggs when he turns into a new him. ‘ You’re as though you given up on life already. You sound as for you life is just ending’.

Carol then moves very close to the edge. Mr Briggs very aware of the danger holds out his hand to her, which is showing that he is not threatening her but showing a peace gesture. This makes her feel reassured and she starts to see the funny side of what is going on. ‘Carol looks at him and a smile breaks across her face… Sir, you should smile more often y’ look great when y’ smile’. She still wonders what will happen to her when she gets back to school for causing trouble, ‘but what about when we get back t’school? ‘. She has almost given in but is still holding strongly onto her worries and wonders.

Just as she gives in she ‘ slips. Briggs outstretched arm grabs out quickly and manages to pull her to him’. He holds on to her with all his strength. Fortunately he manages to pull her up and she is secure. When Mr Briggs seems to turn into someone new, the children love it, but unfortunately for them it’s not a permanent fixture. When the coach comes back to Liverpool, it hits Mr Briggs. ‘Briggs with Andrews asleep next to him sees the familiar surroundings and the kids hanging about the streets. He sits up puts his tie back to normal goes to straighten his hair and feels the cowboy hat’.

Its home to Mr Briggs when the coach arrives into Liverpool and makes him realise the responsibility and concern of his reputation. In the film the camera shot of the school behind Mr Briggs emphasises his feelings of responsibility, his concern and reputation. Also when the camera snaps Mr Briggs singing on the back of the coach with all the children. There is a sudden fade out and echo of the music and noise, which could symbolise that Briggs changed attitude, is just a snap shot and will fade just as the film exposed to the light.

The film contained many pictures of Mr Briggs enjoying himself. That’s why he exposes it to the light, as he wants it all forgotten with no memories left remaining. It seems as if he is disappointed with himself, as he has relax with the children. The Play ‘Our Day Out’ is not really relevant today. Special need classes are not all about fun for the pupils. The pupils are educated just the same as other pupils their age just with more help. The teachers are not like Mrs Kay and believe there is no point teaching them. As teachers today usually believe in trying to educate everyone.

Although, there is still run down areas in some places so the story could be half-relevant to today. My view on the play is that it is very good and extremely well written, it makes you feel as if you are they’re watching every scene happen. This is a good thing and means that Russell has done very well at describing the scenes. The play keeps you gripped and hooked right until the end. It makes you feel as though you can’t put it down and every scene is left at a cliff hanger, making you want to read on and find out what bizarre thing happens next.

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The importance of scene 35 (the cliff scene) in Willy Russell's Our Day Out. (2017, Oct 09). Retrieved from

The importance of scene 35 (the cliff scene) in Willy Russell's Our Day Out
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