Term Paper: Brodie the Broadsword

Pages: 5 (2021 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Plays  ·  Buy This Paper

Brodie the Broadsword' is a play written by Alan Richardson, who is well-known for his numerous publications on various topics related to gender issues and issues of race, colonialism, and topics related to children. (Alan Richardson) Alan Richardson was born in Scotland and still lives there. He is stated to have caught the 'amdram bug' in the year 1969, after which he has been a prolific writer of drama. He initially served his theatre apprenticeship with the Edinburgh People's Theatre, and then went on to start the 'Edinburgh Youth Theater', and at the same time worked with many other groups. This may have honed his skills as a playwright, and it was after this, during the years 1978 to today, that he has been working continually with 'Mercators', which is one of the oldest Drama groups to have existed for a long time in Edinburgh.

Not only has Alan Richardson acted in several plays himself, but he has also directed more than thirty plays, and has played a very active role in another twenty-five plays. Alan Richardson has also acted as a film extra, and has even taken an important part in the 'Military Tattoo' of Edinburgh. He has won quite a few awards as a playwright through the years, including the Geoffrey Whitworth Trophy that is given away for the Best Original Play during the British One Act Festival, and his plays, especially his one act plays, have also won numerous prizes at Drama Festivals, including those of the Best Actress and the Best Actor. Alan Richardson is one of the better and he is also one of the more prolific writers living today. Alan Richardson today works as a stage director at national as well as local and regional drama festivals, and one of his most recent works was set against the eighteenth century Georgian house at Edinburgh. (Plays by Alan Richardson)

The play, Brodie the Broadsword' is one of the examples of the writer's style of writing, and the play is set in a typical Scottish setting, amidst old castles and forts, and the action is supposedly taking place during the early sixteenth century. Here it is Sir Archibold Brodie's castle near the English border that the play is located in, and the period setting is the sixteenth century. It is in this setting near the old castle that the play commences, and all is not right. The reason is not very clear, however, what is evident is that a joust is about to commence between Brodie and his adversary Sir Henry Milburn. Brodie's wife makes a comment to her young servant that Brodie is in for a 'fine mess' when he gets parted from his horse during the joust. (Brodie the Broadsword: (www.playsbyalanrichardson.co.uk)

Brodie is described, during the play, as a 'minor border Laird', whose nickname is 'Broadsword', and who, for the most part of his life, has been engaging in the trivial pursuits of raiding, robbery, as well as reiving, and this from his very English neighbor, Sir Henry Milburn. However, right now at the present time, Brody Broadsword is past his prime, and has decided to indulge in one final last attempt at what is known as a 'grand raid'. According to this plan, Brody would kidnap Sir Henry Milburn's son, and demand a huge ransom from him. However, there is definitely more trouble than was anticipated, and soon an English army starts to gather around Brody's castle walls, and he is forced to, albeit reluctantly, agree to a truce. (Brodie the Broadsword: Scottishplays.co.uk)

Brody's wife, on the other hand, is infinitely eager and enthusiastic to stop or end the ongoing feud as soon as possible. She is a most diplomatic person but is totally hampered in her efforts by a group of uncooperative persons including her husband and Sir Henry Millburn, who are two extremely stubborn men, and also one romantic individual, as well as a blackmailer, in addition to the several nondescript and unremarkable servants of the castle. None of these people make Lady Kate's task easy, and all the finer points of diplomacy and subtleties are completely wasted on this random group of individuals. Yet, with her various skills of persuasion and arguments and perhaps her wiles, she urges and pushes forward her own views and opinions in such a way that at last, there is peace between the two feuding neighbors. However, there is still one ace each up the two enemies' sleeves, and herein lays the comedy in the play. (Brodie the Broadsword: Scottishplays.co.uk)

The characters in 'Brodie the Broadsword' are all interesting and full of beans. Some of them are: Sir Archibald Brodie, who has been nicknamed 'the Broadsword', Sir Henry Milburn, the illustrious neighbor of Brodie Broadsword, Lady Kate, or rather, lady Catherine, the wife of Brodie, Ina, Lady Catherine's servant, Clarty Sim, the an-of arms of Brodie, Young Effie, another servant, Alison, the daughter of Brodie and Lady Catherine, Stephen Milburn, Sir Henry Milburn's son, and Kirsty Boyd, who is from the nearest village. As the play is set during the early sixteenth century, and close to the English border, which is where Brodie's castle is located, the language and the dress of the characters would be suited to the setting and the period. When Lady Kate starts off with making a very insightful comment about Brodie's deeds and misdeeds, by saying, "A fine mess Brodie's in this time," the audience gets a glimpse of the comedy that is yet to come during the course of the play. (Brodie the Broadsword: (www.playsbyalanrichardson.co.uk)

While the audience waits for the punch line, Lady Kate states, "Whit'll they think when see him pairted frae his horse, erse first?" And the audience cannot but help bursting into laughter at the image that has been conveyed of the not-so-young Brodie Broadsword falling off his horse while jousting with his neighbor, not too young himself, bottom first. Within the next few lines, another image is painted of the erstwhile young Brodie Broadsword when he was courting the Lady Kate. When the Lady says that she had never seen a more handsome figure than her husband when he was riding his horse at a tournament at Langham, the joke, again, is on Brodie, because the servant Ina deliberately misconstrues Lady Kate's comment "I'd never seen sic a braw handsome figure', Ina takes it to mean the horse, and says, "Aye, the horse was nice." (Brodie the Broadsword: (www.playsbyalanrichardson.co.uk)

The 'Farewell Ploy' is a one act version of the play Brodie the Broadsword, and this play, that would play for about fifty minutes, won the 'Scott Salver' Award for the Best Original Play in the 1977 SCDA One Act Festival. A sample scene from this play shows Lady Kate at her best. This is the scene when Brodie Broadsword's castle is already under siege, and a complete English force that is led by Sir Henry Milburn has surrounded the castle, and a flag of truce has finally been put up. The two enemies finally come face-to-face, what with the kidnapping of Sir Henry's son, Stephen Milburn executed by Brodie the broadsword has come to light, and Brodie is under the complete misassumption that it is he who is in firm control of the situation. Lady Catherine, however, in under no sort of misconceptions, and she knows exactly what is what, and she definitely has other ideas about the entire joust.

Therefore, when Sir Henry, his face showing anger and temper, steps forward with his hand on his sword, and Brodie the Broadsword also takes a step forward with at similar gesture, placing his hand on the hilt of his sword, and the entire audience is tensely awaiting the next move by these two old enemies and adversaries, it is Lady Kate who steps forward, with a gentle smile on her face. She even greets Sir Henry Milburn by saying that it is indeed a pleasure to meet him, a statement that bowls Sir Henry over, and makes him lose his fiery expression. He says, "to meet you again, Lady Catherine, is always a pleasure," after which he turns his attention back to the feud on hand, and to what is happening there, near Brodie the Broadsword's castle on the English border. He asks or demands of Brodie what has actually happened to his son, and what Brodie has done with him. (Farewell Ploy)

Brodie replies "Lockit awa, oot o' herm's wey." (Farewell Ploy) Angrily, Sir Henry Milburn then says that he will run Brodie through at the very place where he is standing at present, to which Brodie says that he will also do the very same thing. This is when Lady Catherine steps in, and points out to both the stubborn men that they are actually and truly standing under a flag of truce, after which Sir Henry accepts that she is right, and sheathes his sword. However, Brodie Broadsword states "Women! Aye interferin. I wis for settlin this maitter without further ado."… [END OF PREVIEW]

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