The Shoehorn Sonata

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The Shoe-Horn Sonata
by John Misto
The opening scene, with Bridie demonstrating the deep, subservient bow, the kow-tow, demanded of the prisoners by their Japanese guards during tenko, takes the audience straight into the action. As the interviewer, Rick, poses questions, music and images from the war period flash on the screen behind Bridie, and the audience realises they are watching the filming of a television documentary. The time is now, and Bridie is being asked to recall the events of fifty years earlier. This scene establishes who Bridie is, and introduces the audience to the situation: the recall and in a sense the re-living of memories of the years of imprisonment. Characterisation

TASK: Re-read the play. Go through and highlight specific characteristics of our two protagonists – ensuring that you can provide evidence from the play (The evidence could be lines or phrases of dialogue, their actions, current or past, or their body language as described in the text.) Character| Specific Characteristics| Evidence from the play| Bridie| | |

Shelia| | |
ACT & SCENE| Spine Summary (3-4 lines)| Quotations|
Act 1, Scene 1| | |
Act 1, Scene 2| | |
Act 1, Scene 3| Eg. Women find themselves in the water and the song ‘Young Jerusalem is sung by young Sheila …. | | Act 1, Scene 4| | |
Act 1, Scene 5| | |
Act 1, Scene 6| | |
Act 1, Scene 7| | |
Act 1, Scene 8| | |
Shoe Horn Sonata Act ONE Analysis
Re read each scene and write a short summary outlining the ‘spine’ of the scene (What keeps it together). Write in full two of the main quotes from the scene that supports the spine summary. Do this for AT LEAST 3-4 scenes PER act Shoe Horn Sonata Act TWO Analysis

ACT & SCENE| Spine Summary (3-4 lines)| Quotations|
Act 2, Scene 1| | |
Act 2, Scene 2| | |
Act 2, Scene 3| | |
Act 2, Scene 4| | |
Act 2, Scene 5| | |
Act 2, Scene 6| | |
Act 2, Scene 7| | |
Re read each scene and write a short summary outlining the ‘spine’ of the scene (What keeps it together). Write in full two of the main quotes from the scene that support the spine summary. Do this for AT LEAST 3-4 scenes PER act Characterisation

Characterisation can mean two things:
1. The nature of a particular character as it is presented in a text. This would include age, appearance, temperament, past life experiences, personality traits, characteristic ways of expression, values and ideals, motivations, reactions to circumstances, responses to other characters. 2. The methods the composer of a text has used to project this character to the audience or reader. These would include, among other things, the words they use or others use about them, their decisions and actions, their body language, responses to others’ words and actions, the motivations they reveal.[See Activities] The play’s structure is based on the differences in character and temperament between Bridie and Sheila which are gradually revealed to the audience. The action of the play revisits their past hardships and terrors, but the final focus is on the trauma they have suffered afterwards. The revelation of the crises they have each faced is presented as a healing action, which leads to the resolution of their differences and a satisfying closure to the play. Misto’s own motivations for researching these events and writing the play is made clear in his Author’s Note (p.16). His perceptions of Australia’s neglect to honour such women as Bridie is suggested when she says: “In 1951 we were each sent thirty pounds. The Japanese said it was compensation. That’s sixpence a day for each day of imprisonment.” Introduction to Play

Sheila’s arrival at the motel from Perth introduces immediately one source of friction between the two: they clearly have not been in touch with one another for many decades. Each is just finding out basic information as whether the other ever married or had children. The audience...
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