AUDIENCES ARE NOT ONLY ENTERTAINED THEY ARE MADE TO ENGAGE WITH THE SOCIAL CONCERNS EXPLORED IN PLAYS. DISCUSS THIS VIEW WITH REFERENCE TO YOUR STUDY AND EXPERIENCE OF TWO OF THE TEXTS SET FOR STUDY.
For centuries, drama has acted as a mirror for culture and society. Through the power of dramatic form, we have been invited to be entertained yet also engaged in the social concerns, which can both be provocative and surprising. Both 'Stolen' by Jane Harrison and 'A Beautiful Life' by Michael Futcher and Helen Howard address contemporary social concerns and issues in Australian society. Stolen employs dramatic styles, techniques and conventions to portray the social issues caused by the stolen generation. On the other hand, A Beautiful Life again employs dramatic styles, techniques and conventions to portray the unforgettable story of a refugee family who escaped the hardships of Tehran Jail, only to find themselves suffering racism and injustice in the High Court of Australia.
Stolen addresses the Stolen Generation and the social concerns surrounding the impact of individuals and the Indigenous community. Harrison splits up the action between five diverse characters, tracing their independent stories from childhood to adulthood. We have the sexually and physically abused (Ruby); the hopeful turned hopeless (Jimmy); the stolen child who in turn has her children stolen from her (Shirley), the lost (Sandy) and the 'black' girl in a 'white' man's world (Anne). In a workshop of the opening scene, 'Arriving' (pg. 1) in which the characters speak in the 'stream of conscious style' the difference in what each actor produced to portray their particular character was very noticeable. Harrison's use of a wide breadth of characters is effective in reflecting the broad spectrum of social concerns the Stolen Generation faced: physical, sexual and mental abuse, 'I promised not to tell' (Ruby: pg. 8); high suicide and depression rates, 'I can't fight' (Jimmy: pg. 34);...
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