Is the stage drama "Away" a realistic portrayal of life? Michael Gow "Away"

Essay by dcx1eHigh School, 12th grade April 2004

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One does not create a stage drama or any kind of entertainment with the intent of portraying life in a completely realistic manner. In saying this however, there need to be real universal issues within the production to allow an audience to understand and engage with what is happening. These issues need to be displayed with some form of non-realistic element to engage the audience, let them create their own meaning, and ultimately make the issues interesting by being displayed differently to reality. The stage drama Away makes use of non-realistic elements to comment on the issues of conservatism and materialism, which are valid issues in today's society, but if portrayed realistically would be quite monotonous to an audience. Stage dramas are not real, so there is no possible means by which they could realistically portray life. They can only provide non-realistic elements like resolution, character interaction, and stereotypes to make a narrative about real life, leaving the issues open to interpretation.

As with all stage productions, Away contains many conflicts, which ultimately build a narrative where the main objective is to resolve these conflicts and restore normality for the characters and their situations. Gwen is an example of a person who values material possessions thinks less of people who are less wealthy than her. In Away there are many examples of Gwen's materialistic nature; "We've got a brand new caravan. Everything you could want." In response to hearing that Tom Vic and Harry are camping in a lean to she makes the comment "They shouldn't be going on holiday if they can't afford one." This shows how Gwen prides herself on having more than other people, and that her material possessions are what she uses to raise herself in the social hierarchy. Gwen's materialistic nature creates tension...