Cuban Missile Crisis - Sample Essay

The difference these techniques make to the play is immense. Instead of a play with ordinary dialogue, Lochhead has stepped out to break new ground, entertaining her audience with a variety of rhythms and types of language. Time within the play jumps a lot. We start off with B. with her box on the stage, and then it seems we go back in time to see what B. is talking about. We get retrospective flashbacks. There are three main storylines, which go on throughout the play.

The story of Barbara’s crush on Mr Shaw and the Cuban Missile Crisis entwine them selves around the main storyline, Barbara and Bernadette’s friendship. This is the first thing in the play to be established and is also the last to be mentioned, the other stories weave in and out of them. However, when we near the end of the play, all three storylines come together to create a wonderful, dramatic climax. Barbara and Bernadette’s friendship is tested when they get into trouble and, when Barbara doesn’t own up to what she’s done, Bernadette takes the blame, getting expelled.

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Their friendship breaks. When Mr Shaw tells the headmaster about what the two girls have done, Barbara’s liking for him becomes less. Her crush on him also breaks. The tension of the Cuban Missile Crisis has been building up. All the characters onstage would have been thinking ‘Is the world going to end? ‘ But when Khrushchev gives in, the tension breaks. All three storylines all have a moment when tension is caused.

In Barbara’s highly emotional speech about the horse in Nagasaki, she is in Mr Shaw’s class and part of her reason for crying is because Mr Shaw is going to marry Miss Arthur. When the naval quarantine is announced on the radio by the Chorus, the tension is very high. This, unlike the other two stories’ build up of tension, is early on in the play, where as the others are nearer the end. For Barbara and Bernadette’s friendship, the build up is at the end when they’re waiting for the conclusion of the graffiti.

This play, full of variety of text and rhythms is difficult not to admire. The information it gives adds to the wonderful poetic writing Lochhead has given us. Because it was written so well, the audience bonds with the characters. They want certain things to happen to them and they get an understanding of how the characters are feeling during the performance. The play doesn’t lack in keeping the audience entertained, mainly because of Lochhead’s many language techniques and the use of characters. Lochhead has broken new ground purposely to entertain us.



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