The structure of the play is chronological. It is easy for the audience to understand the sequence of events and how these events shape the characters.

The play begins in 1936 and ends in 1955 - it covers the growth of Lucia and Hughie into adulthood as well as allowing the depression of the 1930s and the years of World War Two to be explored.

'Filmic' structure

Although the play takes place over a period of nineteen years, there are significant gaps in time. This propels the story on and helps keep the audience engaged. Some have described this approach as 'filmic'.

Like a film or TV drama, the play quickly moves between key moments, missing out unimportant detail.

It also sometimes 'cross-cuts' between scenes - moving back and forth between different settings where events are taking place at the same time. For example, Hughie is playing at being a fighter plane while the adults in the shop discuss the war.

This format reflects the style of writing that Di Mambro also uses in her work for film and television.

Disruption and reunion

Both Acts involve disruption to the family unit. In Act One, Massimo and Rosinella are parted by his arrest, but then reunited in Scene 17. In Act Two, they are separated by Rosinella's actions. But again the Act ends when they come back together.

Cyclical structure

There is a cyclical structure as the play begins and ends in Italy and there are parallels between the elopement of Rosinella and Massimo, and Lucia and Hughie.