A mega copy-and-paste of some great feedback and conversations I’ve been part of this evening.
If you are reading this the night before (or morning of!) HOPE IT HELPS!
Drama 2007 HSC Exam Paper
Characterisation is SINISTER, which helps create the Gothic tone.
Characters are also portrayed as HYPOCRITICAL (e.g. using dialogue, cyclic and otherwise), which is a social criticism of suburbia I think. e.g Dulcie says that “Every good home has a Bible” – but what ‘Christian’ values are on display in this story? They are horrible, selfish, uncaring neighbours! Also, they often criticise Veronica, but are also seduced by her (we see this in Ray), which also characterises them as hypocritical.
I love/hate the line in Veronica’s scene, to Ray: “You keep your wife medicated, don’t you?”
It’s so sinister – so ‘Stepford Wives’, but with a creepy twist!
Characterisation = the everywoman, yes (so, the significance of having no name or fixed identity means that she represents the collective struggles of Aboriginal people)
BUT ALSO what the character stands for and represents CHANGES episode to episode. In ‘Murri gets a dress’, she is cheeky, lively, and the tone is humourous. In other episodes the character is far more sombre. Consider scenes like sobbing, where sound (not words, but sobbing) is used to build emotion, and words are projected onto the character’s body explicitly displaying the range of emotions involved. How does this help us to paint a picture of the Aboriginal experience?
STRUCTURING YOUR ESSAY (SSE)
You need to be clear in signposting/signalling to the marker VERY EARLY ON (ideally in the introduction) WHICH techniques or approaches you are going to focus on. You should focus in on two or three of the following, for example:
- The participatory nature of the style – involving the audience as artists/performers
- Rejection of restrictive, and elitist, conventions – by abandoning the stage and in particular by performing in open air
- Rejection of restrictive, and elitist, conventions AND the social goal of environmental sustainability through the use of cheap and recycled materials. (We did plenty in Dreams and Nightmares to refer to there.)
- The use of size and spectacle to engage the audience
- Returning art and ritual to everyday life, and adding a less formal, more celebratory tone to significant rituals and ceremonies such as weddings and funerals.
Take time to set this up early, and weave your identification of these things into answering tomorrow’s SPECIFIC question.
AUSTRALIAN THEATRE NOTES
It is important with both Aust plays that you can discuss what makes them ‘Australian’. This can be the use of Australian imagery and cultural/social/historical references, or it be the way in which they portray issues of concern to Australian audiences.
If you are short on examples, I think that one very important technique to cite for SSOG is the use of Aboriginal language at the start of the play in ‘Purification’, and later, in ‘Black Skin Girl’. What is significant about this? Is there a social aim here (to make many in the audience feel a sense of alienation? What would this achieve?) How about an artistic one (to portray Aboriginal language, heritage and culture as strong and artistically relevant/valuable in contemporary Australian theatre?).
Or, for Ruby Moon, what typical Australian themes is it picking up on? The scary side of the suburbs – absolutely. (It does this using conventions of gothicism, absurdism and fairytale)
But we can go further – is it critical of typically suburban, middle class values and lifestyles? Check out the image at the end of Scene Two (page 15) where they use the mannequin to form a creepy family portrait. Fakers! What about the references to Ruby being less than innocent (e.g. Dulcie on pg 12). What family values!? They didn’t even know their own kid! Or, in Dulcie’s scene there are also references to Every good home having a Bible, and the teaching of Christian Blessings to the parrot. Hypocrites! Love thy neighbour – pfft!
And…how does Matt Cameron use uniquely Australian imagery to help evoke, for an Australian audience, a feeling of being trapped and oppressed? Look at the extract from the book that Ray reads (page 5, in the Prologue). Also references to Flame Trees (iconic Australian imagery).
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE? ADD IT AS A COMMENT. (But it’s pretty late ay? Go to sleep!!)
GOOD LUCK TOMORROW!!!
YOU CAN DO IT
Categories : Exams, HSC, HSC Theory