A teacher commented on having an interest in teaching this play and as I am working on 'Rainbow's End' at this moment, it seemed a good time to actually make another post. I think it works exceptionally well as a 'Discovery' text on many levels. While it lacks the dramatic resonance of 'Stolen', it is very accessible and provides various conceptual ideas that are outlined in the dense rubric to be explored.
These include self-discovery for each of the characters within the play as well as the exploration of aboriginality, racism and social prejudice. It prompts the viewer/reader to re-evaluate perceptions and challenge stereotypical assumptions as well as attitudes and values.
The minimalist staging has great dramatic tension as it does in plays like 'The Shoe-Horn Sonata' but the very Spartan use of props also helps reinforce the social injustice with regards to housing, employment and the social divide between rich and poor. Errol in many ways serves as an audience guide, in terms of his open-mindedness and sensitivity to the feelings and thoughts of others. He is an important lynchpin within the play but students also have a great deal to discuss in relation to the dramatic devices that are used to convey and reinforced the various layers of discovery. It is a transformative and experiential process across the two acts and while there are recurring linking motifs such as 'white shoes and gloves', the encyclops', and the wood axe, the use of lighting and radio voice overs are also important ways in which audience response is shaped.
Language use includes clichés, idiomatic expressions, overlapping dialogue, double entendre and pathetic fallacy just to name a few. Some of the scenes are only a few lines long but the pace never slackens as the audience is moved through different phases and forms of discovery. I would recommend it as a Discovery play text over 'Away' which I find is not as conceptually rich. The contrasting male and female voices in 'Rainbow's End' are very effective, especially as the sinister voice is heard but never seen, which only adds to the villainous role that is plays. The generational range of the three female protagonists also helps engage a broad audience base who will be able to comprehend the differences as well as the linking values of family, place and social justice.
I will be posting on 'Swallow the Air' next which is also nearing completion. It has a great deal to offer as well, with unusual construction, a strong subjective voice and at times, almost poetic use of language.
Appreciations for the comments made and I will attempt to post more regularly but where of where is the time going, as every other teacher trying to get ready for Term IV must be asking themselves.
I am an experienced H.T. English, author and presenter.