Comparison of Willow Pattern by Judith Johnson and Dust by Sarah Daniels

Comparison of Willow Pattern by Judith Johnson and Dust by Sarah Daniels

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Comparison of Willow Pattern by Judith Johnson and Dust by Sarah Daniels

In this essay I will compare Willow Pattern written by Judith Johnson
and performed in spring 2004, with Dust written by Sarah Daniels and
performed in spring 2003. Willow Pattern was oriental Chinese and had
a very patriotic culture where status and royalty were of great
significance. This was shown throughout the play through dialogue with
the Mandarin or Ta-Jins's mother, in which it was revealed that the
social hierarchy played a major role at the time. Dust was set in
modern times and showed the prevailing culture of the 21st century;
however it also went into ancient roman times and in both time periods
status was also very important. This became apparent through scenes on
the tube as a group of girls ganged up on Flavia and the attitudes of
the audience in the arena.

The main themes running through Willow Pattern were relationships,
true love, power, control and anger. The anger and power were explored
through the character of the Mandarin, the person that everyone but
Knoon-She (his daughter) bowed down to. He constantly and desperately
tried to control his daughter and was livid when she disobeyed him.
The main moral throughout was that true love will conquer all, despite
anyone disapproving or interfering.

A similar theme ran through Dust, although it wasn't true love, a
major theme was the value of true friendship and how this would always
win. This was shown through the true relationship between Flavia and
Achillia, and the false, shallow friendships between Achillia and
Amazon, and Flavia and Chloe. The main over all themes was being true
to yourself and knowing who you are. This was explored by the
protagonist Flavia, who constantly had her personality dictated to her
and was told by Bo and Amazon to be herself despite what others said.

One similarity between the two pieces was the idea of true
relationships, with Flavia and Amazon in Dust, and Knoon-She and Chang
in Willow Pattern. These relationships proved to be the strongest, the

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relationships that triumphed in the end. Another similarity was the
understanding of oneself. In Willow Pattern Knoon-She knew that she
wanted Chang and this was what would make her happy so she remained
true to herself, stood her ground, and followed her dreams. In the
same way that Flavia did in Dust when she decided to decline
everyone's advice, be herself and follow her heart. Another comparison
is the presence of death in both plays. In Willow Pattern Chang and
Knoon-She were murdered, and in Dust Amazon was killed. Also in Dust,
Boudicca talked about the after life. Another thing the productions
had in common was the feeling of loneliness. This was developed in
Willow Pattern when Knoon-She was fenced in and was forbidden to see
Chang, and many times in Dust when Flavia was rejected by the gang or
the girly glads, when she was stranded on the tube before and after
the explosion, and when Amazon was killed.

Willow Pattern was a tragedy. This was apparent in many parts of the
play, such as: when Knoon-She was fenced in; when the Mandarin talked
of the death of his wife; when Knoon-She was forced by her father to
marry someone against her will; the way in which the mandarin treat
the doves he had given his daughter as a gift; the promise of revenge
from the Mandarin when Knoon-She, Chang and Min escaped; and when the
Mandarins pure rage lead to the death of his daughter and her lover.
To emphasise the element of tragedy, music dance and light were used
to reflect the mood.

Dust however was a tragic comedy. The tragic elements were reflected
in scenes such as the following: the relationship problems on so many
different levels; the explosion on the tube; the monologue of the
woman with a baby in which the audience discover she actually murdered
her child through extreme poverty; and the murder of Amazon by her
supposed best friend Achillia, causing Flavia having to fight
Achillia. The comedy appeared in several parts such as: the many
routines and comebacks from the girly-glads; the entrance and
monologue of Bo; and Carpophorus being stung by a bee.

Willow Pattern used a very elaborate set, although created scenery
simply with people and cloths. The stage permanently had a small
tiered staging ensemble at the very back and the willow pattern plate,
and halfway through houses were brought on. The set remained very
elaborate though simplistic through the use of lanterns, banners and
parasols. Dancers also used ribbons, flags and fans.

The set of Dust was very minimal, consisting only of a floor cloth and
three benches. The scenes where changed by characters and using props
such as large flags to add depth and colour to the stage.

The two pieces had many differences, the most immediate being the time
they were set, with Willow Pattern being oriental and Dust being in
roman times and also modern day. Willow Pattern used two narrators to
tell the story, whereas Dust used none and told the story through
scenes in chronological order. Although both productions were based
upon a relationship, the type of relationship differed. Willow Pattern
was based around a love relationship of two people, and Dust was based
around a group of friendships. Another difference between the two was
the way Willow Pattern used dance and more music than Dust.

In Willow Pattern I played the mandarin's daughter, Knoon-She and in
Dust, a 15 year old girl called Flavia. Knoon-She was different from
Flavia in many ways. The first of which was Knoon-She's headstrong
ways. She was a very feisty character who knew her mind and remained
true to herself from start to end. She was a very lively character,
sometimes a little over excitable, and giggled a lot; she was a
generally happy person. However Flavia was very unsure of herself
throughout the play until the final scenes. She lacked confidence and
was willing to change her personality to fit in with others; she
followed the crowd and yearned for acceptance. An obvious difference
between the two roles was that Knoon-She died but Flavia did not. A
similarity was that each character finally had the confidence to do
what they wanted to do. Knoon-She braved defying her father to be with
Chang, and Flavia had the courage to put an end to her shallow
friendship with Chloe
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