In a Theatre in Education context, Bridges is intended for performance by three young professional actors. There are three characters in the cast - 2 male & 1 female
Matt - 15
Mike - 15
Sarah (Mike's sister) - 17
Matt is the “comic” of the M&M partnership. For the most part he appears to be a happy-go-lucky, typical “lad”. He is constantly looking for the next joke or laugh.
He in many ways envies Mike who he sees as successful, intelligent, confident and attractive to the opposite sex. He does not think very deeply about himself or his own talents. His apparent modesty about his own artistic skills may indicate the low value he places on them. Given his “laddishness” he might feel somewhat sheepish about having an aptitude for an activity that lacks – in his eyes - sufficiently macho kudos.
He tends to accept things at face value. Even when troubled by some of the things that Mike says, Matt is reluctant to dig deeper and prefers to divert attention on to another joke or play fighting. This is less a conscious response but rather an automatic defence system cutting in. He finds it much easier to think up an easy joke than dwell on the nature of his relationships. He does not expect to encounter “emotional problems” – life for him is something that you just “get on with”
He is not totally insensitive. He recognises the danger that Mike is putting himself in on the bridge and is disturbed by his friends actions. He does not, however, find it easy to verbalise his concerns or his feelings so subconsciously chooses not to.
He has a very active interest in girls. He is not, however, looking for a girlfriend. He is after a “snog” and a grope: he is not looking to build a relationship.
He likes dance music and “having a good time”. He likes life best when it is as uncomplicated as possible. The events that he encounters during the time span of the play, however, do impact on him, bringing out other elements of his personality and effecting change upon him.
Mike appears to have everything going for him. He is a good looking young man who seems to be considered something of a “heart throb” by the girls in his school. He is intelligent, bright and widely tipped to do well in his examinations. He enjoys drama and is given prominent roles in school productions. He is even Captain of the school football team.
For all of his success, however, Mike envies his best friend, Matt. He envies Matt’s easy self-assurance, natural confidence and uncomplicated nature. In fact, apart from Matt, Mike appears to have few close friends and could be seen as something of a “loner.” He can be broody, dwelling on thoughts and going over them in his head. He can get lost in over-complicating things: he has difficulty in “seeing the wood for the trees”.
His future – academic success leading to university and a good solid job at the end of it all – would seem to be secure and mapped out. Mike is not at all sure that he shares the view of the future that appears to be set out for him but can also see no real alternative to it. At times he feels that his life is not his own but rather is a life that he is living for other people.
Others feel that Mike takes all of his success in his stride. Mike, on the other hand, is only too aware of how much effort is involved in balancing the various strands of his life. He tends to take things on himself – feeling that it is up to him to sort things out. He finds it difficult to share his troubles with others and can only hint obliquely at his worries and doubts.
Sarah is Mike’s older sister. When they were younger, she enjoyed a close relationship with her brother but as they have got older they have drifted a little apart. Sarah is a highly competent young woman who clearly sees herself as an adult. To emphasise this she feels she wants to have little to do with the “adolescent” world that she feels Mike inhabits.
She has a strong sense of moral duty and loves her parents dearly. She is, however, also jealous of Mike – feeling displaced by his success. She feels that he gets more of the attention at home than she does. She is not proud of the way she feels. She feels that she should be able to rise above her feelings – but she can’t. She becomes frustrated when others do not share her sense of duty.
She is clear and straight-forward, direct and to the point. Her parents would probably call her “sensible”. She feels that she is “in control” and is well balanced emotionally. At times, however, she is still very much aware of the “little girl” that is inside her.