This essay will compare and contrast two plays by aboriginal and Torres Strait islander playwrights. The first “in our town” by jack Davis and the second “the seven stages of grieving” by Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman. Jack Davis was born in Perth in 1917. He was brought up at both Yarloop and Moore river native settlement. He first began to learn the language and culture of his people, the people of south- Western Australia the Noongar clan, while he lived on the Brookton aboriginal reserve. He became an activist on behalf of his people and form in the years of 1967-1971 he was the director of the aboriginal centre in Perth. Following that he moved onto being the first chairman of the Aboriginal Lands Trust WA, and from 1972-1977 he was the managing director of the Aboriginal Publications Foundation. Jack was a member of the IAC (Institute of aboriginal studies) located in Canberra, and has established a course for fellow aboriginal writers at Murdoch University. Mr Davis has done other plays such as Kullark, The Dreamers, No Sugar and Honey Spot a children’s play. Wesley Enoch in Brisbane in 1969, he is a playwright and artistic director in QLD. Enoch was trained in Drama in the Bachelor of Arts (Drama) course at Queensland University of Technology where he directed and acted in many productions. He was also a founding member of the QUT Bonzani Commedia Troupe.Wesley has been Artistic Director of Kooemba Jdarra Indigenous Performing Arts, an Associate Artist with the Queensland Theatre Company, Resident Director with the Sydney Theatre Company, Artistic Director of Ilbijerri Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Theatre Co-Operative and Associate Artistic Director Company B Belvoir St. The plays that he writes and those he directs deal with issues of Aboriginal culture and the complexities of Australian race relations. Wesley attained prominence with his production of 7 Stages of Grieving (co-written with Deborah Mailman) and then with Jane Harrison's Stolen, which premiered at the Playbox Theatre and went on to tour both nationally and internationally .He has been classed as one of the best aboriginal Australian playwrights and directors of his generation. Deborah Mailman who was born in 1972 is an indigenous Australian television and film actress. She was the first Aboriginal actress to win the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. People know her best for her roles in the television shows The Secret Life of Us and Offspring. She lately worked in successful movies like: Bran Nue Dae and The Sapphires. Deborah’s career has led from film and television to stage plays to co-directing since her start in 1998 after graduation from QUT.
In shoemakers introduction to the play he states: “in our town is not just about a single location in Western Australia but refers to any town in the nation; in fact, to Australia as a whole. Viewed in this way, when David Millimurra says ‘It’s our town too’ it is a potent political statement of response-of place, culture and land”.(shoemaker,1992) “In Our Town” was set in the Western Australian country town of Northam back in early 1946. . It tells the story of David Millimurra which the character being based on Jack Davis’ brother Harold. When David returns from fighting in World War 2 battle only to come home to fight a battle in his own back yard. While away he befriends a white man named Larry who lives in his town. Both come from opposite sides of the track. Larry being white and form the wealthiest family in the district, while David is aboriginal not wealthy but he and his family live on the edge of the town on a reserve not far from the town centre. When David then takes interest in Larry’s sister Sue and they develop an interesting relationship which throws this one minded town into frenzy for gossip and sparking rumours of racism. The town’s people don’t all agree on the interracial relationship that takes place in their little town. The...
References: of essay:
Enoch, Wesley. ‘Murri Grief. ' Dialogue Issue 27 (June 1996):Pg 10 &14, 23/10.2013:.
Grehan.H, (2001), theatre research international, vol26; Faction and Fusion in The 7 Stages of Grieving, pp106-116, United Kingdom.
Pickering, K, 2003,’Tackling different kinds of play’, studying modern drama, 2nd edn, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke,pp.76-97.
Shoemaker, A 1992, in Jack Davis “In Our Town”, 1992, currency press.
The seven stages of grieving
Enoch, W, 1996, Why do we applauded?,in the seven stages of grieving , Play lab press, 2002, third ed, third revised.
Davis, J, In Our Town, Currency Press, 1992.
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