The absurdist performance style is what drives the

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The absurdist performance style is what drives the play to exploring the theme human nature and coping, which is what in society calls, the 7 stages of grieving. Cameron goes further with the concept in the manor of staging, which is timeless and antique props evoking “dust covered memories”. The Mise en scene is mainly gothic, displayed through the elements of design such as use of lighting in Scene one, the solitary light on ray, the use of sound in Ruby’s spine chilling voice over in the prologue and the change of costuming by actors on stage. All these factors add to creating the atmosphere as “placeless” and abstract, allowing the notion of transformational acting to occur, which characterisation is key to portray multiple characters and thus, individual perspectives that symbolise types of people in society that might give evidence to find missing persons, Veronica the insecure sleaze, Dawn the suicidal teenager, Dulcie the senile woman, Sonny Jim the stereotypical gun nut, etc. Cameron tries to symbolise the diverse community in which could be your neighbours as well as the incompetence of people, unwilling to tell the ultimate truth. Stolen identifies an issue very close to the Australian publics hearts, the Stolen Generation of Aboriginal children from their parents. The play offers personal and individual insight into the experiences of the stolen Generation. The themes of prejudice, racism, equality and cultural belonging are universally understood by internal and international peoples which is why the play is so emotionally provoking. Stolen uses 5 central characters to represent 5 different individual perspectives about the issue, Anne representing the children adopted into white families, Sandy represents the Stolen children who were/are effected by crime, Shirley represents the parents who lost their children, Ruby represents the victims of physical and mental abuse and Jimmy who represents the non- conforming. All five characters express their stories through the theatrical conventions of a non-liner structure, almost montage, symbolising the continuous cycle of pain, memories and struggle, Harrision adopting a style similar to that of traditional oral indigenous storytelling. Actors also play multiple roles, utilising the technique of transformational acting as the actors also switch between their adult selves and younger selves, as well as authority figures like a
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matron and even Jimmy’s mother. Characters address the audience throughout the play, breaking the fourth wall, “suppose you want a happy ending from me”, trying to make the audience feel like they are a part of the issue and therefore involve themselves in understanding. Drawing from epic theatre, Harrison uses the international performance style and moulds it into an issue that an Australian audience can appreciate. The dramatic technique of chorus in dialogue is a fundamental symbol used throughout the play to express the innocence of the stolen children and then ironically their removal of innocence, “can you keep a secret and promise not to tell” and “what did he do to you”, using a child like tone of pure innocence to convey an eerie rendition of a child’s game with adult connotations. Chorus and voice over’s are also used to symbolise the authority figures who were largely to
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  • Fall '19
  • Drama, Theatre, Indigenous Australians, Matt Cameron, Sylvie, Stolen Generations

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