A comparison between the opening scenes of A Day in the Death of Joe Egg and Daily Specials

A Day in the Death of Joe Egg was written by Peter Nichols in 1967 and is about a couple raising a handicapped child. Our polished improvisation, Daily Specials, set in the present day, is about many different people visiting a cafe but it uses similar non- naturalistic techniques such as multi-rolling. However, in Joe Egg the character multi roles and not the actor, whereas in Daily Specials we as actors multi role. Another similarity between the two plays is comedy.

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Joe Egg uses dark comedy to convey a serious message whereas we use light-hearted comedy throughout our piece. In Joe Egg stereotypes are used to convey comedy as well, for example when Bri pretends to be a German doctor and puts on a strong accent. For example when he says “l say your daughter vos a wegetable? ” This is similar to Daily Specials because all the characters are based on stereotypes resulting in the comedy for example the Builders have strong northern accents and the teenage girls are very gossipy.

In both Daily Specials and Joe Egg, the characters use humour to communicate and both plays show marriage to be hard. In Daily Specials, this is shown through a muttered argument which causes tension, whereas in Joe Egg it’s shown through Bri nd Sheila lying to each other and not telling each other how they feel. The main similarity, however, is when Bri talks to the audience in the opening monologue and the audience is needed to fill in the gaps.

This also happens in Daily Specials, the audience only see snips of conversations of the people in the cafe so the audience is expected to fill in the gaps and also to imagine that the cafe is full. Another similarity between the two plays is the style. In Daily Specials the style is more physical theatre then Joe Egg because there is more multi- rolling. However in Joe Egg the Brechtian style is used when the actors use monologues to break up the narrative and ‘break the fourth wall’ and at the end of Act 1 when Joe appears as a ‘normal child’.

Both plays use this Brechtian technique to distance the audience and remind them they are in a theatre; they also use naturalistic acting with non naturalistic techniques. In both plays there is a common theme of unhappiness. In Daily Specials the married couple are both struggling to keep each other happy and don’t share their feelings with each other. For example the wife, Susan, holds back her feelings about Rob working all the time. This is very much like Joe Egg because Sheila gets upset at the fact that Bri doesn’t share his feelings about Joe with her.

She also gets irritated when Bri accuses her of having an affair Piou and Freddie together- yes”, much like too much time at work and not enough time with her and their family. The social messages of each play are very different because they are both written at different times. Joe Egg was written and set in 1967, when disability was still rare and hard to cope with whereas Daily Specials was created and set in 2010 where the message of taking things for granted is realised everyday.

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