No Sugar, the revisionist stage drama written by Jack Davis, is about the mistreatment of Aborigines in Australia during the 1930's. More specifically, it is about the Millimurra family, and their struggle against white protection' and being treated like objects in their own land. The stage drama is mainly set in Northam, and Moore River, in Western Australia. Davis explored issues surrounding the treatment of Aborigines during this period, and reflects his own ideas about these issues.
One issue that is highlighted about this period in No Sugar is how Aborigines were discriminated against, for no reason other than having coloured skin. An example of this is in Act One, Scene One, when Cissie is complaining because when her and her brother go to buy apples they get given bad, shrivelled up ones, and the white children get big, juicy ones.
"Aw Mum, Old Tony the ding always sells us little shrivelled ones and them wetjala kids big fat ones." Act I, Sc. (i). Page 16.
Davis uses dramatic techniques to bring his ideas about issues like this to life. In this example, he uses dialogue and, in a way, characterisation. He uses dialogue to make the reader feel sympathetic towards Cissie because of the desperation in her voice when she says fat' during her description of the apples the white children were sold. Characterisation is also mildly used in this example, making Old Tony' seem unjust and cruel to children, which creates an emotive response in the reader, already forcing them to dislike whites and the way they treated Aborigines.
Davis' idea about discrimination is that it should be overrun by justice. He brings this idea to life using characterisation, more specifically, the character of Jimmy. Jimmy Munday is one of the more outspoken characters in No Sugar. He is characterised as the activist and lone Aboriginal voice that constantly challenges dominant white principles for justice. He constantly rebels against the prejudiced attitude towards Aborigines. He will commonly sacrifice himself to reveal racism in white authority, in the end being the martyr to the Aboriginal cause of justice, and dying in an act of patriotism towards his people
Another big issue that is explored in No Sugar is assimilation, the eliminating of one culture or race by absorbing it into another. This happened a lot in Australia in relation to Aborigines, with their women being forced to have intercourse with white men, and their children being taken away and murdered, so as to eliminate their colour and to abolish all traces of their culture. Davis evidently believes that assimilation does not work, and at its worst causes hopelessness, confusion, and loss of identity. An example of this is the destruction of Billy's tribe, and the way that, although they were, in one way or another, assimilated into white society, their culture still lives on. This is shown when Billy, Bluey, Jimmy and Sam were still singing and dancing like they used to before they were assimilated into white society.
SAM: [Pointing to Billy's body paint] Eh! Eh! Old man, what's that one? BILLY: This one bungarra, an' he...