The play, After the Ball by David Williamson, is primarily about the disappointments and realities that test a suburban Australian family in a time of mystifying social revolution. Much of the dramatic action within the play derives from misunderstandings between characters and their opposing beliefs about what it means to be Australian. These differing beliefs lead to tension of relationships between the characters Stephen, Judy and Ron. The conflicts and dilemmas within these relationships lead to Stephen's progression to enlightenment. This action can be analysed through the elements of drama. However for the purposes of this essay, the focus will be on the human context and tension, and how they worked together to create the whole experience of dramatic meaning within the playtext, After the Ball.
Each character within the play has a relationship with their ideas and beliefs. The common factor found in all of these beliefs is that they are about Australia and all are in direct conflict with each other.
For instance, during the play we see that Ron doesn't like Australia's shift in focus towards financial success rather than friends or the increasing number Asians that have immigrated to Australia. Stephen however, believes 'that Europe has generated a priceless artistic heritage' and chose to live there 'rather than live in an Australia that he sees as progressively turning its back on its heritage.' Judy disagrees with both her father and brother; she feels that Australia is developing an identity that is beyond that of Asia or Europe, a unique identity that she would 'no more leave [it] than stop breathing'. Furthermore, it is these contrasting ideas that cause tension in the relationships between Ron, Stephen and Judy.
The tension in relationships between characters and characters exists because of the misunderstanding of ideas between each...