English - Stolen

Topics: Barry Humphries, The dozens, Sexual abuse Pages: 3 (878 words) Published: August 24, 2007
Dialogue reveals how spoken language expresses meaning not only at the spoken level but through the implied meaning. It can be said that what's left out of a conversation is sometimes more important than what is put in. Jane Harrison's Stolen is an honest and compassionate play that follows the lives of five aboriginal kids who have been stolen from their families as part of the governments' assimilationist agenda. Harrison employs a range of theatrical and written techniques to highlight the notion of a traumatic environment. Dialogue is also evident in Jamie Oliver's cooking special where on stage he uses up beat and joyful dialogue to interact with the audience. Edna's hymn by Barry Humphries is a satirical hymn about an old lady who tells us how good Australia is.

Stolen is a powerful play that highlights the trauma and alienation felt by the children both as children and as adults. The opening scene ‘Arriving' is particularly effective due mainly to the lack of dialogue. Harrison employs mime, pause, body language and facial expressions to convey meaning in the unintended dialogue. ‘Arriving' begins with the children standing diagonally across a sparse stage with a didgeridoo droning ominously in the background. The characters stand diagonally with the whitest at the front to symbolise the categorisation and racist environment. In an optimistic tone Ruby says "My mums coming for me" but through the context of the play and Ruby's body language we know that she won't see her mum for a very long time, if ever. This dialogue and its simplicity reveal the nature of the Aboriginal experience.

Most scenes reveal the underlying themes of trauma, violence, abuse and racism. "Unspoken abuse 1, 2, and 3" highlights through repetition of the title the frequent abuse of these kids. In "Unspoken abuse 1 and 2" Ruby is confronted with the probing chants of the other kids "What did he do to ya", Ruby responds literally refusing to give into their torments "I...
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