Speech and dialogue

The play is largely naturalistic. The characters seem real and speak in a realistic way.

When reading the play, it is important to remember that it is primarily intended to be performed.

Di Mambro uses speech to hold the audience's interest and as a means to develop character and theme.

Glaswegian dialect

Much of the speech used by the characters is in Scottish dialect. This makes the characters believable as the language is realistic. It helps the audience to relate to the characters. The working class Glaswegian dialect creates a strong sense of place.

Italian language

The Italian language is also used in the play. Characters like Rosinella often blend Italian phrases with Scottish dialect. This reminds the audience of their dual identity. We see this in Rosinella's speech when she says:

I've no seen my man since they took him out of here. (Near hysterics) Oh marito mio. Marito mio e morto.

The different languages are used to reflect the characters' relationships with Scotland and Italy - particularly when Lucia refuses to speak English.

Language barriers

In Act 2 Scene 11, Luigi and Rosinella speak in Glaswegian dialect. The audience understand that this represents them speaking Italian and that this is a device used by Di Mambro to allow us to understand what the characters are saying.

Using dialect rather than standard English distinguishes between what they are saying 'in Italian' which Hughie cannot understand, and the standard English Rosinella uses when she speaks to Hughie directly.

Massimo's monologue

Act One Scene 14 is very different in style to the rest of the play. Massimo’s long monologue breaks with the naturalism of other scenes. Instead this stark scene reflects on genuine incidents of Italian experience in World War Two.

Di Mambro has stated this relates to her own father’s experience. It could be seen to act as a memorial to the Italians who died on the Arandora Star.