Michael Gow's "Away". Essay

1462 words - 6 pages

Drama is a genre that is deliberately written for performance, and therefore, the reader's understanding of the characters and issues is always improved by its staging."Staging" in Drama means the process or manner of putting a play on stage. This refers to the positioning of the characters and props, the way the actors move, the way they use their voice and how the character looks. Gore Vidal once said, "A talent for Drama is not a talent for writing, but an ability to articulate human relationships." By this, Vidal meant that to convey a play properly, association between the characters has to be real, dynamic action that captures the attention of an audience.Away is a charming play that deals with family, relationship, life, growing up and death. It depicts the final months leading up to the disintegration of the condition of Tom, a boy dying from Leukaemia. In the final stages of his life, he is desperate to achieve all that a normal person would in his short lifetime. Emily McPherson of the Age newspaper says, "This moving play prompts us to consider what is ultimately most important in our lives," and also considers how relevant it is to Australians, even today, noting that "Every Australian can relate to this play and learn about the deeper meaning to life".One factor of staging is Stage Directions. These are the way the playwright communicates with the director in regards to movements and actions of characters, positioning of props, and types of sets. These aspects affect the way the audience views a scene, as they can reveal issues, power relations, social positioning, and relationships between characters. In the last Act of Away, an entire scene is performed only through Stage Directions, yet it is a major scene in the conclusion of Away. This scene depicts the returning of Coral to her husband, Roy, and the subsequent resolution of their differences. Jim and Gwen are reconciled as well. In the case of Roy and Coral, the audience sees their reconciliation through the symbolic offering of the shells to Roy from Coral. With just stage directions, we can tell that this is Coral offering herself, her old self, to Roy. She is asking for forgiveness and we know through Roy's kissing of the shells and Coral herself that he has accepted her apology. The directions on the positioning of the characters on stage have to be effective to avoid audience confusion, as there is often split scenes.The way the set is used ("use of space") is a useful medium to show conditions of the scene. These can include time of day, where the scene is set, the time period of which the scene was set, and the motives of the characters. Props are often included to add reality to the scene and often offer symbolism relating to the character that uses them. On Christmas Day at the campsite that Gwen's family is staying at, Gwen, rushes onto the scene with a 12-inch fake Christmas tree and announces "If you want to have a Christmas you'd better get started now so we can...

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