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Stolen: Indigenous Australians and Optimistic Tone Ruby Essay

Australia is a well known for its bad treatment towards the indigenous population. The policy to take children away from their parents was a cruel decision made by the people. The play, ‘Stolen’ by Jane Harrison shows the suffering caused by the policy. Line up 1 and the scene ‘Adult Flashes’ which shows the great hardship of the children. The emotional experience to the audience that Jane Harrison wrote about showed the hardship of the Stolen generation.

Dialogue reveals how spoken language expresses meaning not only at the spoken level but also 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.

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.

Stolen is a powerful play that highlights the trauma and alienation felt by the children both as children and as adults. This really shows how much people hated and alienated the indigenous and really makes you think about why and how.


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