“Drama and theatre in their content and style reflect the society from which they spring” – To what extent is this true of contemporary Australian theatre practice?
Theatre is a direct reflection of life and society. Any script is written, including their themes and genre, in the attempt to draw on and display our surrounding world to ultimately impact audiences. Our unit of drama including Matt Cameron’s Ruby Moon and Jane Harrison’s Stolen does exactly this, but more specifically reflects on contemporary Australian culture and events. This combined with our experiential learning proved that theatre indeed is a mirror to society.
Ruby Moon’s depiction of suburbia and its “dark underbelly that lurks beneath an idyllic, picture-perfect veneer” serves as the main content of the play and a powerful comment on Australian society. Growing up in suburban Melbourne, playwright Matt Cameron reflects his childhood experiences through contemporary theatre. This involves an abandonment of genre classification through a deliberate pastiche of styles, creating dramatic tension and stimulating audience. Non-realism, the fractured fairy tale, absurdism, horror, gothic, crime, humour, vaudeville and surrealism all combine to create ambiguity and therefore unpredictable tension. In addition, Ruby Moon is typically non-realist and non-traditional, and this ambiguity is evident in the unresolved ending of Ruby’s existence; “was there a child, Ray?...or are we just having the same nightmare?” Leaving the audience with more questions than answers opts out of the traditional resolution and rather mirrors the confronting complexities of contemporary Australian society, we are not the “lucky” or “perfect” country, rather as Cameron quotes; “a picture-perfect veneer”, a paradox that the seemingly suburban proximity that defines Australia does not equal “intimacy, fraternity, community”. This is especially evident through experiential learning, the...
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