Australian Drama and Theatre
Australian Drama and Theatre
How could the Australian plays you have studied be staged to communicate distinctly Australian values and attitudes?
The plays `Ruby Moon' and `Stolen' can be staged to communicate distinctly Australian values and attitudes by using Australian dramatic forms, performance styles and techniques. The values and attitudes include: family and motherhood, racism, grief and loss and authority.
The play `Stolen' produced by Jane Harrison expresses the devastating effects of the stolen generation in Australia, an issue that showed the white colonization to Australia and the devastating effects this had on the Indigenous Australian's. Jane Harrison manipulated audiences to view the effects of the stolen generation making audiences understand and want to help the aboriginals.
Dramatic forms are seen through the setting of the play. It's a simple setting and the only possessions the actors own are suitcases representing how little they have. Five old iron beds are set across the stage for the five main characters; at times they become a children's home, a prison cell, a mental institution and a girl's bedroom. It was the attitude of the time to place indigenous children in these institutions where they received no love and had no possessions. The play follows no chronological order as the characters move forward and backward in time presenting their stories through monologues. Their stories reflect the values of the time the hardship they had to endure by being removed from their families.
Australian values and attitudes are viewed through the characterization in this play. All the characters were deeply affected by the stolen generation they were placed in institutions as children which at the time was viewed as the right thing to do. Sandy is a young man who refuses to forget the cultural skills passed down to him from his indigenous family, Shirley was taken as a child and grows up to see her own children taken from her, Ruby is abused and beaten because she is Aboriginal and deals with abuse as a domestic servant until suffering from mental illness, Jimmy rebels against the system and takes his own life in jail when he discovers he will never meet his mother. Anne is adopted and goes on a journey to discover her identity and where she belongs. Is she black or white?
Different themes are viewed in the play including Authority. The inability of the parents to stop the government from taking the children is a reminder of the authority that government policies have granted this department. The different levels of authority are expressed through the actions and language. The technique of voice over coming from the authorities in the children's home emphasises the power they have over the children while their harsh words express their cruelty. The children have no power or authority in the institution and line up continually to be...