How are the dramatic forms and theatrical techniques of the plays you have studied used to portray the struggles of the characters?
Contemporary Australian theatre employs the elements of drama as well as the conventions and traditions of many theatre movements to portray the struggles of the characters in an interesting and engaging way for both audience and performers. This can be seen in Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman’s “The Seven Stages of Grieving” (7 stages), which portrays one aboriginal ‘every woman’ and her daily struggle against prejudice, as well as this, the text explores a range of struggles aboriginal people have faced since settlement, such as the stolen generations and land rights. The play draws on a number of theatrical styles, using the conventions of epic theatre, stand up comedy and expressionism to explore these key issues. Another contemporary Australian play that portrays these themes is Matt Cameron’s “Ruby Moon” (RM) this play shows the desperate struggle of two parents to find answers about the disappearance of a child they may never have even had, using the conventions of expressionism and theatre of the absurd.
In “7 stages” the female character struggles against racist and discriminatory treatment at the hands of society. This struggle is addressed in scene 12 “Murri Gets A Dress”, delivered in the style of a stand up comedy routine the ‘every woman’ invites the audience to experience a day being black and humorously shows them the discriminative treatment aboriginals face each day. When we work shopped this scene in class we combined the conventions of stand up comedy with elements of drama to highlight these struggles. The ‘everywoman’ stood in a spotlight with a microphone, when she made a joke she paused for a second while a sound effect of canned laughter played. As she was doing this a group of students acted out what she was saying, the one playing the ‘every women’ wore a black shirt while the others wore white,...
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