Drama The Right Thing To Do: Synopsis,Setting, Characters, Themes, Moral Values, Point of View, Tone and Mood, Language and Style, Literary Device
A man is lying in the street. He has a heart condition. Three passers-by encounter the man but they are not bothered about him. They all feel it is not their responsibility to help the man. Then the woman in blue arrives. She reprimands them for their inaction. She orders them to get help for the man. The three passers-by are stunned by her manner and orders. Yet, they do what she has told them to do. Then when the ambulance arrives, the woman in blue walks away. The three learn that the fallen man is the famous TV chef, Michael Scott. The three congratulate themselves on having saved his life. As for the woman in blue, the three speak ill of her for having “done nothing”. Is this a fair judgement?
At first, Rebecca, Patrick and David take an uncaring attitude to the sick man. They did not want to help himas it was not their problem. It is the woman in blue who awakens them to take up their civic responsibility. This shows that we must be civic-minded and help people in need.
The play shows that leadership/initiative can transform people. This is especially true of leadership by example. The woman in blue is the catalyst that sparks a change in the others who are apathetic towards the man in distress.
Spirit of voluntarism
The play shows that prompt voluntary action by citizens is essential in society. Imagine what would have happened if no one had given the sick man his pills and water. What would have happened if no one had called for an ambulance? This shows that we must take action voluntarily when there is a crisis at hand.
The woman in blue
• She is the conscience of the play. Although she is nameless, she is firm and assertive in her demands
• She is the moral anchor of the play and embodies its central message that we must care for the needy in our midst.
Rebecca, Patrick and David
• They are all passers-by who at first do not want to get involved in helping the fallen man.They all try to escape responsibility until the woman in blue orders them to get things done.
• However, after they discover that the fallen man is Michael Scott, they congratulate themselves on their good deed.
• They also speak ill of the woman in blue and take credit for helping the man on the street. They agree it is the right thing to do.
The play is a simple one with only one scene enacted in an open street. The play is patterned on the story of the Good Samaritan. It is superimposed with the mystery of the identity of the woman in blue. The audience is made to examine its conscience by evaluating the behaviour and actions of the protagonists. A man is lying on the street. First a woman, Rebecca walks past him and stops. She hesitates to help, walks off and goes back to the man again. Then another man, Patrick walks past and stops to look at the man. They argue over who should help the man first. Then, David walks past and asks about the man. All three of them argue over who should help him. They are reluctant to help as it is not their problem. A woman in blue comes and barks orders at the three of them to help. She tells David to call an ambulance. Next, she asks Rebecca to get some water from a nearby house. Then she tells Patrick to feel the man’s pulse. The man stirs and says ‘pills’. Patrick finds a bottle of pills in the man’s pocket. Rebecca comes back with water. The woman in blue tells Patrick to give the man his pills with water. The man finally wakes up and thanks Patrick for his help. Then, the woman in blue quietly goes away while David tells the rest the ambulance is on the way. The man identifies himself as a famous TV chef and thanks all of them for helping him. The three of them claim to have rescued the man. They speak ill of the woman in blue for not helping out. They feel they have helped the man and were there for him. They praise themselves for doing the right thing.
The play is set in modern times possibly in the 1960s to 1980s. There is no mention of handphones or computers. The urban setting of the play includes mention of cars and ambulances. The character names also suggest an English-speaking environment.
We should help the needy.
The man in distress was a famous TV chef. Does this mean we should only help the rich and famous? On the contrary, the woman in blue shows us that we should help all needy persons, regardless of whether they are rich or poor.
We should not take undeserved credit.
Rebecca, Patrick and David begin to congratulate themselves on having saved the life of Michael Scott. They give no credit to the woman in blue. They even go so far as to accuse her of walking away from her responsibility.
We should not speak ill of the absent.
Rebecca, Patrick and David criticise the woman in blue when she is gone from the scene. We do not know the real reason for her sudden disappearance. She may have gone away to help others in distress elsewhere.
Language and Style
The language of the play reflects the educational level of all the characters. The script consists mostly of an exchange of one-liners. The language turns sharp and heated when the woman in blue barks out her orders. It is also tense when Patrick, Rebecca and David refuse to help the sick man.