Touched by Stephen Lowe and Oh What a Lovely War by Joan Littlewood

Our devised work was on the theme of ‘Women at War’ and as part of our research we looked at extracts from “Touched” by Stephen Lowe and “Oh What a Lovely War” by Joan Littlewood. These two extracts were useful because they gave us ideas to base our performance techniques on and helped us to discover a setting for our devised play. It also helped me to discover what life was like on the home front for example rationing and the role’s women had to take on during the wars. The first piece “Touched” was set in the Second World War.

We know this because we witness a speech by Churchill “This is your Victory. Victory of the cause of freedom… “. On the other hand ”Oh What a Lovely War” was set in World War One. The people in ”Touched” use colloquial and informal language “You’re s’posed to be tucked up in bed. Out. No mucking about” suggests that they are lower class and have a low social status. In ”Oh What a Lovely War” the language used is also colloquial and informal “Get a good screw, don’t you? ” also suggesting they havelow social status. ‘Oh What a Lovely War” shows the roles of women in the war and how women now had to work due to the men being away “I work in the munitions factory. ”

The roles of women in the war are also revealed in touched as they have to take on the role of both man and woman. In ”Oh What a Lovely War” we can also see an anti war attitude from the character Mrs. Pankhurst. She fights for votes for women and wishes for peace “to be followed by a peace conference. ” In both the extracts we can see that they are not very wealthy and the women have to work and look after themselves while the men are away.

We also witness rationing in both of the extracts. In ”Touched” there are American influences but in ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ there are not. But in ”Oh What a Lovely War” propaganda is shown with the conversation between the two English women and the two German women. We can see that they chose not to believe the truth. Also in ”Oh What a Lovely War” we can see patriotic view by the use of Royal Britannia and the horrific effects of war are shown to us using projections.

Whereas in ”Touched” they accept the war and get on with life as best as they can. ”Touched” is naturalistic all the way through while ”Oh What a Lovely War” is only naturalistic in parts. Instead it uses song “I don’t want to be a solider”, projection “NEWS PANEL, July1… somme… British loss 60,000 men on the first day” and direct address to the audience “I can’t hear you-can you sing up? ” It explores the attitudes of girls, soldiers and the public to the war whereas ”Touched” focuses on real life characters.

Finally ”Oh What a Lovely War” uses comedy, the conversation between the German women, to put across a serious point. In studying these two extracts I explored two contrasting approaches to a performance on how women’s lives were affected by war. I learned that women had to learn to survive without men and take on their husband’s roles as well as their own. This was useful because it helped to develop my own character by realizing the attitudes women had to war.

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