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In the play, 'Brilliant Lies', David Williamson uses a number of techniques to expand on the concepts introduced in the title. He uses characters and their back stories to build a supporting argument to compliment the text's overall theme that everyone lies to protect themselves. Susy's sexual harassment claim contains the most evident form of lies throughout the text, however Vince and Gary's relationship, Susy's family history, and even Marion's favouritism with clients all help to identify the main themes to the reader.
All through the play, there is an epic battle between Susy and Gary. Susy is _____. Gary is ______. Susy claims that Gary sexually assaulted her and Gary strongly denies it. At various points in the text, in mediation sessions with Marion who is a _____, we are told many variations of what happened between the pair. In the first scene, Susy tells Marion the Gary grabbed my breasts and said something sick and when I turned around Gary's member was inches in front of my nose. The next day, I was fired.' In the next scene, Gary tells Marion that she was fired because her work was unsatisfactory.'
In the first mediation meeting between Susy and Gary, Susy lies about telling Katy, her sister, everything that happened between her and Gary. Katy lies by saying that Susy suffered seven months of vicious sexual persecution' and Gary lies by saying that the claim is utter bullshit.' At this stage in the play, the audience is unsure as to who is telling the truth due to the fact that everyone is lying, and this is a statement that Williamson makes about personal and business relationships and how society operates. He is saying that everybody needs to lie in order for them to look out for their best interests, no matter who gets hurt.
It is not until the climax of the play that we think we've uncovered the truth as to what really happened between Susy and Gary when Susy admits to having sex with Gary on several occasions. She says that we would drive to my place and be gone before my sister got home' and that it was only when Susy decided to end the relationship that Gary became obsessed and began making dirty phone calls to her. Gary settles the case and Susy is awarded $40,000.
In the final scenes however, the viewers learns that Susy still embellished the truth while testifying against Gary.
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It is through this story that Williamson is commenting on the relationship between men and women and the fact that lies are the glue that hold society together.
Gary is possibly the biggest liar in the play. He lies to Vince, he lies to his wife, and he lies to Marion. In Scene 2 of Act One, Gary lies to Marion about sexually assaulting Susy, saying the claim is absolute rubbish,' and later lies to Vince, his boss, about the same thing. Gary maintains the lie about his office romance all throughout the play, and even in the end when Susy confesses, he still denies it.
He also lies to his wife during the text about his previous affairs saying that I've given her no cause to doubt me from the start'. The truth is revealed however, when Susy confesses that Gary told her he had cheated on his wife four times prior to his adultery with Susy.
The relationship between Gary and Vince is symbolic of the business world of the nineties. Williamson is saying that to succeed in business today, you have to be able to lie and be good at it.
Susy and her family have a dysfunctional relationship and don't get along particularly well. Brian, the father, is a drunk who has had a series of women since the death of his wife, all to the dismay of his children. He is not well respected and this is because of the fact that he molested his two daughters, Susy and Katy, when they were younger. The pair confront him on the issue, and he flat out denies every word, saying he was only giving his daughter a playful tweak' and noticing their development'. It is this lie that divides their family and tears them apart, however Williamson suggests that lies are essential for a family to function properly and people's feelings to be protected.
Marion claims that she is on the side of the truth; however she admits to Katy that she often takes sides even when she is supposed to be neutral, because of the powerlessness of most of her female clients. Marion represents wider society, commenting on the way that people often subconsciously chose between two options, whether they say so or not. An example of this is that many children prefer one parent over another, however they would never dare voice this fact.
Throughout the play, there are many brilliant lies' told. Susy and Gary both lie about the harassment case, Marion lies about her allegiances between clients, Katy lies to protect Susy, and Brian lies about molesting his daughters when they were young. Williamson is critically analysing the relationship of business and family members and is suggesting that in order for society to function properly lies must be told and that everyone, given the opportunity, would lie to protect themselves.