Stage Directions and Dialogue in Billy Liar Essay

Stage Directions and Dialogue in Billy Liar Essay

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Stage Directions and Dialogue in Billy Liar

In the play ' Billy Liar' the central character, Billy, has three
different girlfriends. Each girl has a dramatically different
personality, and the stage directions give a clear indication as to
the nature of these differences. The dialogue also gives a clear sense
of character, with each girl speaking and interacting in a distinct

Firstly the character of Barbara is quite peculiar, the narrator had
described her as being a nineteen year old girl, who is large and well
built, dressed in a tweed suit with flat-heeled shoes, she is also
carrying a large handbag. From this description we are given, the
reader would have presumably had an image of an unattractive girl,
also with the types of clothes she wears, there is no evidence that
she is in to fashion. From the way Billy approaches Barbara, her body
language seems to be quite stiff and well reserved, this is shown in
the following lines in Act 1 (p.23):

[IMAGE][IMAGE]Billy-(moving to kiss her)

[IMAGE][IMAGE]Barbara-(moving away) stage directions

This is an example of a dramatic action within the play because the
character is making insignificant body movements, to stay away from
Billy. Billy reaction to Barbara's attitude is very slick, in order to
make Barbara a bit livelier, he is giving her passion pills. This is a
reaction by Billy towards Barbara's lack of concern for Billy. When
the character Barbara, is actually introduced, the reader would be
able to tell from her speech that she has 'no passion' and 'no
warmth'. The most peculiar behaviour of Barbara is her constant
'bovine- like' eating of oranges. At the tim...

... middle of paper ...


In the play 'Billy Liar', the characters show a lot of dramatic
action, including changes of attitude, resolutions and in some cases
insignificant body movements. These are all partly due to the stage
directions and also how the author wants the personalities of the
characters to be. The characters dialogue with others has also been
significant throughout the play because it gives the reader a clear
idea of what is happening in the play. We also see that characters
like Rita use slang and dialect to position her in the play with other
characters like Billy. There are a lot of strong characters in the
play 'Billy Liar' for example Rita and Barbara. The purpose of
including these types of characters is to create dramatic tension in
the play together with making the play more interesting and with more

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