Discoveries and discovering can offer new understandings and renewed perceptions of ourselves and others. This is evident in Away by Michael Gow which focuses on aspects of discovery including realisations within oneself which can uncover further perceptions of ourselves or others. Gow also includes concepts based on the idea that the recognition that death is inevitable forces people to discover the meaning of life. Emotional turmoil and heartbreak may be a catalyst for discovery and acceptance of a situation and similarly, it must be discovered that healing can occur through love and reconciliation. Realisations within oneself can uncover further perceptions of ourselves or others. During the play “Away”, Gow portrays Gwen as a distraught woman as she has a meltdown. This is as a result of her obsession with social status, wealth and material possessions which has turned her into a cynical, angry woman.
Gwen’s initial realisation occurs when Vic, who saw a lost woman in Gwen, suggests a walk and uses the inclusive pronoun “us girls” to provide a gentle approach. Walking is used by Gow as a catalyst but also a metaphor for progress and change. The walk up the beach helps Gwen to realise the elements of life are more important than her concerns over wealth and after being unable to take the BEX powder, she is no longer able to find consolation in such simplistic solutions which implies that Gwen has come to the realisation for more sophisticated thinking. The BEX powder is a symbol for Gwen’s attempt to artificially create happiness. “I want to take it and I can’t”. Gow has expressed the discovery of Gwen as very confronting yet rewarding as these new perceptions of herself lead to new perceptions of her relationship with her family and others. The recognition that death is inevitable forces people to discover the meaning of life. Coral is battling with the loss of her son in the Vietnam War, which also portrays a controversial issue at the same time.
Coral’s detached attitude to life clashes her ironic statements, such as “aren’t we lucky to live in such a rich country” and “there is a price to be paid of course”. The play within a play is a cathartic experience for Coral. “I’m walking, I’m walking, I’m walking” is shown in a metaphorical and literal sense and symbolises the evident reconciliation with herself and for her son’s death. Tom has made a significant impact in Coral’s life which has caused her to change her perspective and reconcile with Her interaction with Tom and the recognition that he will die allows Coral to overcome her intense mourning. Emotional turmoil and heartbreak may be a catalyst for discovery and acceptance of a situation. Harry and Vic are hoping the camping trip will help them overcome the shock of learning that Tom will die.
“A few weeks just with ourselves. Just with you. It’ll be good.” Tom and his parents have accepted his inevitable death; however, there is still uncomfortableness between them in some situations. “Harry: when you’ve got your own family- Tom: do you want a drink or not?” In this scene, Gow uses the pause in Harry’s dialogue to the show the tension which has been created. Their tent symbolises their social status but also their lack of concern for material possessions as they are more focused on improving their relationships and spending time together. This makes them a happier family than the other two presented in the play. It must be discovered that healing can occur through love and reconciliation. Roy has been in conflict with Coral over her “strange” behaviour as he feels it is affecting his professional standing in the community.
After losing a son in the Vietnam War, Roy has been impacted deeply but has, however, moved on whereas Coral is weighed down with a continuing grief which has caused struggle within the relationship. “Do you want me to arrange shock treatment?” Roy is obviously irritated with Coral’s detached and “ghostly” behaviour but it is not until Coral discovers reconciliation that she finds her happiness. During the dumb show, there is a visual representation of reconciliation as Roy buries his head in the shells and kisses Coral’s hands to symbolise the resolution of conflict.
Therefore, discoveries and discovering can offer new understandings of renewed perceptions of ourselves and others as shown evidently within Away by Michael Gow. Gow has demonstrated a use of concepts within the play which reflect a theme of discovery as they can offer new understandings of ourselves and others, leading to renewed values and ideas and future possibilities. This is shown within the relationships between characters throughout the play, including Roy and Coral who find reconciliation portrayed in the hat of shells, Harry and Vic who discover and accept the inevitable death of their son and Gwen who, within herself, rediscovers happiness which allows a new perception of her relationship with her family and others.
Courtney from Study Moose
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