To see the written script come to life on stage was wonderfully pictured. The use of the images in the script was clearly taken into account, for example the use of the image depicting Blackwood’s wife healing Sal was one used in the play. It the same props, angles, and positions for the characters used the image and in the live action play itself. The director used non-naturalistic devices for the reference to the indigenous people, for example the spears that were used by the indigenous people, dropped from the sky. Most of the naturalistic devices were used in the dialogue between the white people. The director used each of these devices to show the spiritual connection that the indigenous people have, and that the white immigrants have no connection to the land that they now claim to be theirs. It also aimed to show the social differences between different cultures, and the roots of Australian civilisation. The costuming showed the difference in classing, and in culture, for example how the indigenous people often wonder naked, where as the white settlers are dressed in London clothing. As an observer I saw these clear themes through the symbolisation, narrative and design. IT made me more intellectually aware of the indigenous people’s violent history, and why they are the way they are in society now. Emotionally I was able to understand the pain of a civilisation, and how the brutality of the English settlers affected the native Australian culture. This emotional sympathy was more evident in the play, with use of music and voicing of the actors it made the emotional feelings of the characters more present than it did I the script.
The social and cultural context was shown strongly in the play through sound design and co...
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...of the fire. The sound design varies from scene to scene. There is a recurring sound that happens when the Thornhills encounter the indigenous people, that creates an intense mood. There is also use of sound to represent actions, such as Dick being whipped, the men shovelling, and the water of when the Thornhills are sailing. I felt the marketing gave a glimpse into what the play would be about, and what the audience were expecting. The impact of that marketing was seeing the play expanding on what is expected in the play.
The Secret River was very successful. It perfectly balanced the pain of a culture and the clash of two races. One of the scenes that lingered my mind was the final epilogue of when Ngalamalum refuses to move, and Thornhill cannot understand why. This play is painful, but it tells the real story of a painful nation, a story that needed to be heard.
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