Dramatic Elements in No Sugar

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Certain ideologies in the past continue to have consequences in the lives of many today. This is the case with Western Australia's policy of resettlement for Aboriginal people during the 1930's. Jack Davis, an Aboriginal playwright, constructed the play No Sugar to challenge the view that this resettlement is acceptable. Davis uses dramatic techniques such as costume, setting, movement and symbolism to confront an audience of the injustice of resettlement and therefore initiate the process of attitudinal change towards the current Aboriginal situation. Drama is an effective medium for instigating this change as it is a multi-sensory experience and engages the audience more effectively than the written word.

It is true, of course, that novels establish well developed character relationships. However, drama is a more effective vehicle for building character relationships as it allows for non-verbal communication as well as dialogue. In Davis' No Sugar, the tension between the Millimurra family and the ‘white' authorities is amplified by the uncomfortable way in which they move around each other. This is also seen when representatives of the ‘white' establishments and culture exercise their ‘authority' over the family. An example of this is when Mary gets whipped by Mr Neal. His movements are angry, vengeful and malevolent, whereas her movements are of pain, terror, yet still quietly defiant in the face of her adversity. Actions become much more effective when they are acted out, rather than described. In addition to that they appear less deliberate and more unconscious. For example when Jimmy challenges Neville for a train fare, he juts out his chin to defy all of Neville's racist attitudes presented. This described in a novel may be seen as deliberately mischievous however acted out, could be interpreted as an unconscious movement, and therefore supports Jimmy's whole persona as the trouble maker.

Movement can also be used to reinforce loving relationships....
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