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About the Writer Willy Russell

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About the Writer Willy Russell

William Russell was born in Whiston - just outside Liverpool, in 1947.

At primary school he enjoyed reading, football and gardening, these

were the only subjects he likes, but at secondary school he was

consigned to the factory fodder D stream. It was in this surprising

environment that he conceived the idea of being a writer. His only

experience of factory work caused him to fail to obtain a printing

apprenticeship, so his mother suggested he trained to be a women's

hairdresser. He trained and worked as a women's hairdresser for five

years, eventually running his own salon. After this he was seeking a

career that would give him a greater opportunity and understanding of

being a writer. He decided to become a student, having now passed O

level English at night classes. No local education authority would

give him a bursary, so he spent some time girder cleaning at Fords in

order to fund his college O & A level studies. He only did this long

enough so that he could afford the course; he spent no time extra

doing this job as climbing up on dirty, oily girders was a very

dangerous job which many of his colleagues were injured on.

You can see in the play that Russell is commenting on society as

Russell is almost like Rita, she lives near Liverpool with little

education and works in a hairdresser, trying to get the opportunity to

have choice by getting an education. During the play, Russell shows

that the class system is a part of modern society and Rita wants to

change classes, from working to middle, but has little education. She

wants Equal opportunities in that the way that women are expected to

have babies and stay at home all day, but in his play Rita breaks away

from everyone else and gets an education and he shows in the play, how

hard it really is to get an education and all the troubles that

someone of a lower class has to go through to achieve there goals.

I think that Russell wrote this play because he had a hard time in his

own life, and he wanted to express to other people that you need to

have a choice or you will begin to experience a feeling of being

trapped in society. I think that Russell used humour in his play

because it would make the audience watching the play understand the

issues brought up. I think the play runs better as a comedy, with the

humour aspects of the play rather than a more serious drama.
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