Away by Micheal Gow - Staging

Essay by jasaminaHigh School, 11th gradeA-, June 2004

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Drama is a genre that is deliberately written for performance and, therefore, the reader's understanding of the characters and issues is always improved by its staging.

Explain how your understanding of Away was affected by your understanding of staging

"Does art imitate reality, or reality, art?" (Aristotle). The Australian play, Away, by Michael Gow, can be interpreted as a form or art capturing patterns and aspects of reality, trying to make sense of the chaos we are surrounded by. Gow displays this by using conventions of stage. The music, magical element of fairies from A Midsummer Night's Dream, the 'play within a play', the costume and lighting contribute to the effectiveness of staging to allow the reader to form developed understandings of characters and the issues Away deals with.

Away is a play based in Australia during the late 1960's. The play features three families. "One family deals with the death of their son in the Vietnam War, another faces the prospect of losing their son through leukaemia" (McPherson) and the other battles with over-materialistic values of the mother and their relationship as a family.

In a way the three families represent a microcosm of the society during that period. They are "imprisoned in a world in which their worth as human beings is measured in the cost of their holidays" (Akerholt). The lower to middle and upper classes are represented. Away is the story of change undergone by the characters and the realisation of what is "ultimately most important in our lives" (McPherson). Gow's play contains elements of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest and King Lear, and is even structured in the five-act form, like many of Shakespeare's famous plays. Away is a pay that "presents a picture of human nature" (Lock).

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