The Script

Here is a short excerpt from the script of Liver Birdsong – The Liverpool Blitz Musical

ACT three, SCENE 1

EXT. outside the durning road air raid shelter.

The stage is re-set after the Interval with various indications of the devastation, following the direct hit on the Durning Road AR Shelter. 

The ensemble are scattered across the stage in small groups, some as victims – living and dead – others as helpers, ARP Wardens, MPs etc. and including Hal, in his Chaplain’s garb. 

The stage is furnished with small piles of rubble, timber, masonry, draped bodies and tableaux of
people mourning, engaging in help, rescues and laying-out bodies. 

Each person or group is frozen until they come to life, in turn, for their sung phrase and scenario.  The phrases follow one another in swift, staccato order, with mini-scenes possibly picked-out by lighting spots.  One of the vignettes features Carla, who has been mortally injured in the first bomb blast.

The stylised performance is further augmented by the ensemble singing the chorus en-bloc, whether
living or dead, victim or helper.  The final chorus is delivered in the style of a Greek chorus, at the end of which they resume their places,  as at the beginning of the scene, at which point Maggs re-enters. 

The whole Act Three Opener should give the sense of time passing and being collapsed, from moments after the bombing to sometime after the remainder of the play has concluded.  The audience are given the impression of a severe trauma affecting the city, which will have lasted for many years. 

During the scene, the names of 147 of those identified as having died at the Ernest Brown Junior Instructional Centre are back projected onto the screen (see Appendix).

Opening song sequence: moving between death and life.

Over here…This one’s gone…Sip some water…It’s my son

Please, get clear…Just hold on…She’s my daughter…Weighs a ton!

Is there hope?…What’s that noise?…Pass the rope…Pull now, boys!

It’s too dark, here, to grope…The whole shelter’s destroyed!

Ensemble chorus

(All turning to audience, where they stand, kneel or lie, the dead as well as the living.)

Moving between death and life, we carry our memories’ echoes.

Feeling time cut by a knife; the city must honour its heroes.

Each has a personal story, of suffering, saving or pain;

Framed in a picture of mourning, the rescuers battle in vain.

Dig deep down…they’re all gone…Let them sleep…kill the hun

Did they drown?…who can tell?…there’s no sound…rot in hell!

We must pray…what’s the point?…make Them pay…please anoint.

I can’t see…to survive…let it be!…god, Forgive!

(On the final staccato phrase, one of the survivors picks up two nails from the ruins and forms a sign of the cross.)

Before the final, modified chorus, which places the scene in the past tense, the entire ensemble – both living and dead – group as in a Greek chorus to sing.

Moving between death and life, we carried our memories’ echoes.

Feeling time cut by a knife the people all honoured their heroes.

Each had a personal story of suffering, saving or pain;

Framed in a picture of mourning, the rescuers battled in vain.

Each had a personal story of suffering, saving or pain;

Framed in a picture of mourning, the rescuers battled in vain.

At the close of the final chorus, the ensemble resume their exact places, as at the start of the Act, to indicate that no time has passed, and that the preceding sequence was ‘out of time’.