Comedy covers many different types of humour such as comedians making old jokes and we laugh at him not with him or a comic TV programme which has us in hysterics. Our own concepts of humour are all different and in the play Shirley valentine there are many comic parts which the playwrite Willy Russell is trying to portray a moral “comedy is the best way for us to learn” so if you make a moral funny rather than serious we will learn from it quicker such as representing it in a joke or a funny comment then our minds will remember the funny part of it and use the moral in our own lives. In the play Shirley valentine there are many different concepts of showing humour and Willy Russell uses many of them to get across the moral that life is too short and you should snap up any opportunity you have to make something of your life “I’ve lived such a little life and even that will be over soon”
There are many different techniques used to convey humour in the play and Willy Russell uses all of them very well. Ranges of one line comments are used to express how Shirley is feeling these techniques are know as verbal and visual humour sometimes Shirley would do or say something to show her unhappiness but in a funny way “It’s the eleventh commandment. Moses declared, thou shalt give the feller steak on Thursday” The funny moments in the play are mostly directed through Shirley but other characters do have comic moments such as when Gillian meets Shirley in the underwear department and Shirley makes her think she is buying sexy underwear for a lover who she is going to Greece with “oh im not buying them for our millandra, Gillian im buying them for myself and wearing them for my lover” this is know as situation comedy this is the presentation of humorous situations which happen in everyday life and sometimes over exaggerating them to make it funny.
Other funny situations in the play are linked with Shirley in an ironic way meaning the opposite of what they normally mean by use of sarcastic words “finally I was beginning to think you’d fallen down it” other types of comedy in the play are caricatures theses parts play a vital roll in Shirley’s changing as they bring out the intellectual and witty side of Shirley a side which was tucked away when she met Joe, caricatures present a person in stereotypical way even though people of their culture may not all be like that. Will Russell created the stereotypical “British family holidaymakers” Douige and Jeannette and they are important in Shirley’s character development while she is in Greece because they make her realise that the Greek culture is something to enjoy even if you are alone. Other stereotypes in the play are Costa’s the typical Greek waiter he is vital in Shirley’s change because he makes her understand that life is worth living to the full and is not something to waste. “I haven’t fallen in love with him; I’ve fallen in love with life”
But do we really learn from comedy? Jokes have been told for centuries and we do remember them if they are funny then maybe it would make us think about them more than serious. Through comedy we can learn things about our personalities and the way we live our life. Through the comedy in the play we learnt that Shirley realised that she needs to live her life to the full and seize the day (Carpï¿½ Diem) this gives the same message to the audience that we should do as Shirley does and do something that we probably wouldn’t normally do.
Shirley Bradshaw is a mindless robot carrying out the same routine everyday “what am I doing wall? She’s only been back two minutes and she’s got me running around like r-two bleedin’ d-two” Millandra and Joe expect Shirley to run around after them and Shirley does because she is trapped as the role of the housewife and throughout the play Shirley often makes jokes about how they perceive her to cope with how she lives “you? Going to Greece? What for? What the hell am I goin’ for? Shirley you are one silly bitch”
Joe changes throughout the play by learning that he should have respected Shirley because he never really knew what she did until she didn’t do it anymore. When she leaves for Greece he is left on his own “sitting amongst the remnants of beer bottles and overflowing ashtrays” at this moment Willy Russell has Joe talking to the wall so therefore there was a character swap between them and this is funny because it shows that Joe now understands Shirley position. From the fact that Shirley is learning to change her life we learn that a life is precious and we should do something once in a while we wouldn’t normally do.
I have learnt from Shirley valentine that loves a hard thing to keep alive and that it is hard work being a mum and perhaps I will not be so hard on my mum! Willy Russell is teaching his audience to think about their lives hard and if they are unhappy then change it even if they would think it too stupid they should do it life is valuable and it should be lived the way you want to! “Because we don’t do what we want to do – do we? We do what we have to do and pretend that’s what we want to do”