Australian Contemporary Theatre Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 13 February 2017

Australian Contemporary Theatre

Australian Contemporary Theatre is a form of Theatre which addresses the concerns and aspirations of Australian audiences; with the use of diverse and complex characters Australian Contemporary Theatre is able to connect with the audience making them reflect and challenge identities. This is shown clearly in the texts Ruby Moon written by Matt Cameron and A Beautiful Life written by Michael Futcher and Helen Howard which we have studied throughout topics.

The Characters within Ruby Moon are all very different from each other while at the same time they chow that everyone is different behind closed doors. Ruby Moon addresses the ideas of the Suburban streets you will be safer however, Matt Cameron looks to shows the other side of this life style as it affects the population of Australia. Matt Cameron states ‘human nature isn’t determined by geographical location’ saying that no matter where you live people don’t change and everyone has their secrets; the characters within the play display human nature.

In class we have acted out scenes of the play in an attempt to understand the characters, one scene which was acted out included the character Dawn. Dawn is attempting to let Ray Moon in on a secret though as no character in the play is truly understandable Ray becomes nervous ‘what’s in the case Dawn’. It turns out to be dolls which this somewhat crazy teenager uses to play with as she played with Ruby. The moment before the case is opened is intense as the tension created through mistrust is imminent. Within Ruby Moon Ray and Sylvie don’t rust any of the neighbours or each other.

In A Beautiful Life mistrust is present though it is a mistrust of the system. Australian Contemporary theatre is about addressing core concerns which are present in the lives of everyday Australians, an aspect of A Beautiful Life which is a part of Australian living is that of immigration. Hamid, Jhila and Amir immigrate to Australia to escape persecution though they are still being prosecuted in Australia as at the time this play was written the fear of terrorism was imminent so there was mistrust in everyone.

Brandon in Scene 3 says to Hamid ‘It looks like you’re part of a global plot mate’ thus displaying the mistrust not only of Brandon himself but the media. This is brought on by the characters actions at the beginning of the play during the chaos which transpired in the riot (scene 1). This is where the characters display parts of their personalities During the riot there is action occurring in every corner of the stage displaying the chaos which society is in.

To draw the audience’s attention to a particular section of the stage flashlights are used. This is used in both this scene and the Press conference as there are so many characters and actions in this scene it is important to focus the attention on what highlights the issues being addressed in the play. The riot was used in our performance of the play as it displays the core concerns of the play drawing the audience’s attention and interest.

Lighting is not only used to focus on a particular section of the actions on the stage but also sometimes used to draw attention to the darkness. Matt Cameron said that ‘sometimes the surrounding darkness is just as important as the light’. He uses this in his plays as the main characters, Ray and Sylvie, each move from house to house. While it is important to note that they are moving to a different location therefore the characters themselves are changing, it is also important to register the darkness surrounding the single spotlight on Sylvie or Ray.

This Darkness is metaphorical, referring to the question which was needing to be answered by Australians ‘ what is out there? ’, ‘ Who is out there? ’ these people (characters) are part of our lives but do we know and understand them. This is what the Darkness represents. It draws the audience’s attention to how little we know about the world around us and that these characters who the audience try to understand are perplexing. Parts of who these characters are can be understood though so many aspects of their personalities are confusing.

Matt Cameron used this confusion to make the audience understand that even these characters aren’t what they seem. Australian Contemporary theatre is a tool to address those thoughts which are a part of Australian life. It plays on the fears and insecurities of the audience using characters which people, although they may not wish to, find connections to. These characters provide a medium in which to translate the many ideas of the lives of the audience

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 13 February 2017

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