Playwrights have various conventions at their disposal to position the audience to respond to the themes and issues that are presented. Nick Enright’s play Blackrock depicts the lives of teenagers in a community. Enright uses various techniques such as characterisation, dialogue, the plot and the setting to elicit a response to the issues. This includes the issue of youth culture, violence against women, masculinity and double standards. Blackrock positions the audience to see how the youth culture in society has become a major social issue.
Through the plot we learn how teenagers are able to purchase alcohol and host parties which are unsupervised by adults. In scene six, Toby is able to purchase, “a supermarket trolley stacked with beer,” for his party. From viewing this scene we learn that it is socially accepted in society to purchase and supply alcohol at a party. Enright positions the audience to question how teenagers are easily able to attain alcohol and why no adults intervened to stop the party. We are also positioned to predict an upcoming conflict as In many cases alcohol can lead to other issues such violence.
A major issue in the play is that of violence against women. Through Enright’s use of characterisation and dialogue, we discover that it is a prominent issue throughout the play as it appear in numerous scenes. In scene fourteen we discover that Tracy Warner had been murdered after being sexually assaulted by three men. While later on in scene twenty-one, Ricko threatens Tiffany with violence. “You looking for a smack in the mouth?
“ These scenes elicit a response from the audience to again question why men would resort to threatening women, let alone assault them. They are also encouraged to view violence against women as pathetic because characters such as Ricko are weak. The theme of masculinity is prominent throughout the play. Physical strength and other male attitudes are revealed The audience are positioned to respond to the theme through Enright’s use of drama conventions such as the setting and characterisation. The setting in scene nineteen is in a local gymnasium where two males are boxing. Boxing is stereotyped as being a masculine sport as men fight to prove who is stronger and more powerful. As the audience we are positioned to see how males feel the need to be masculine to impress their friends by being stronger.
The theme of double standards again appears throughout the play. Women in numerous scenes are treated differently and marginalised to males simply because of their gender. Enright’s use of dialogue and characterisation positions the audience to see how women received different treatment to men. In scene five Cherie is unable to attend the party because she would be unable to defend herself as she is a woman. As the audience we are positioned to feel sympathetic towards her. Another example of double standards is in scene sixteen. “Jared can take care of himself.
Cherie’s got to learn the way the world works.” Here we are positioned to see how women are seen as weak and fragile and that only men can look after themselves. Playwrights are able to use many drama conventions which can be used to postion the audience to respond to ideas, themes and issues. Blackrock by Nick Enright represents the issue of violence against women, the youth culture in society, masculinity and double standards. Enright’s use of drama conventions such as characterisation, dialogue and the setting is effective in positioning the audience to respond to these issues in scenes throughout the play.
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