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Posts from the ‘plays’ Category

7
Jan

#AWW2019 Patricia Cornelius playwright

 

Introduction:

  1. Patricia Cornelius is one of Australia’s best playwrights.
  2. Unfortunately her artistic “hands are tied”.
  3. There’s not much wiggle room if you adapt a novel
  4. for the stage.

 

Quickscan:
  1. Jamal and Bibi have a dream.
  2. To lead Australia to soccer glory in the next World Cup.
  3. But first they must face landmines, pirates, storms and assassins.
  4. Can Jamal and his family survive
  5. …their incredible journey and get to Australia?

 

Main Characters:

  1. Jamal – (12) Afghan boy: protective of sister, Bibi. Jamal has a very big passion for soccer.
  2. Bibi – (9) Afghan girl: very courageous personality and also has a passion soccer.
  3. Omar –  Afghan boy: Jamal’s good friend, very poor and has no real family.
  4. Rashida – meets Jamal and Bibi (no parents), becomes like their mother.
  5. Andrew –  is an Australian that they meet during the campsite.

 

Structure:  30 scenes (no acts)

 

Motif:

  1. Candlestick – heirloom, represents ‘guiding light”; sold to smugglers for escape
  2. Soccer ball  –  represents future happiness

 

Conclusion:

  1. Adapted for the stage by Patricia Cornelius from
  2. Morris Gleitzman’s best-selling novel (2002)
  3. Boy Overboard reveals  a deeply
  4. …human side of the asylum seekers issue.
  5. Ms Cornelius is one of Australia’s best playwrights.
  6. Her play Don’t Go Gentle is extraordinary.
  7. My expectations were high….but this play is
  8. written for a young adult audience
  9. …and the dialogue reflects that.
  10. Patrica Cornelius  adapts a novel for the stage
  11. ….which limits what she can write.
  12. This is a play geared for junior high-school production.
  13. #PlayForNicheAudience
28
Dec

#CanBookChallenge Playwright Hannah Moscovitch

Finished: 28.12.2018
Genre: play  “Infinity”
Rating: A+++

 

Conclusion:

  1. When you least expect it….suddenly a
  2. small play can brighten my reading day!
  3. Infinity:
  4. Characters I felt for…
  5. hopscotching places and times.
  6. Carefully observed..family dynamics.
  7. Prose that moves like a cheetah.
  8. Wise but not preachy….
  9. Reading time: 60 minutes!
  10. #Bravo  Hannah Moscovitch

 

Hannah Moscovitch

  1. Born June 5, 1978) is a Canadian playwright who rose to national
  2. ..prominence in the 2000s.
  3. She has been dubbed “an indie sensation” by Toronto Life Magazine
  4. CBC Radio calls her “the wunderkind of Canadian theatre”.

 

19
Dec

#Irish Playwright Brian Friel

  • Author: Brian Friel (1929-2015)
  • Title: Philadelphia, Here I Come!
  • Published: 1964
  • Genre: tragicomedy
  • Reading time: 1,5 hr
  • Trivia: this play made Friel famous in
  • …Dublin, London and New York
  • List of Challenges 2018
  • Monthly plan
  • List of Plays
  • #ReadIreland

 

Quickscan:

  1. The play describes Gareth’s  last night in his home town of Ballybeg.
  2. He is an Irish lad about to set off for America.
  3. Friel recognizes an idea of home
  4. ….at the moment it is about to disappear.

 

Characters:

  1. Gareth is played by 2 actors: Public and Private.
  2. Friel reveals in this way the difference between
  3. how we see ourselves (lonely, emotional life)
  4. and how we appear to others (gregarious, social).
  5. Other characters are:
  6. Gar’s surrogate mother Madge; housekeeper
  7. Gar’s speechless, affectionless father
  8. Gar’s ex-fiancée Kate

 

Conclusion:

  1. This play grabs you by the hand not your throat.
  2. It is sentimental piece of writing with the
  3. right blend of regret….loveless youth, distant father.
  4. and laughter….on the threshold of escape to,
  5. “a vast restless place that
  6. …doesn’t give a damn about the past.”
  7. The reader must decide is this play about
  8. ….and exile or emigration?
  9. #WorthYourReadingTime

 

Last thoughts:

  1. This play is really meant to be seen and not only read!
  2. The interchanges between the two actors ‘Public and Private’
  3. bring a real dynamic that captures the audiences attention.
  4. The maternal touches/gestures of Madge
  5. …the surrogate mother show her loving character.
  6. She stuffs snacks and a few pound notes in Gar’s luggage,
  7. …invites 3 mates to come and say good-bye.
  8. She warns Gar to be strong…because he will get homesick.
  9. Her exit the end of the play will pluck a heart string!
29
Nov

#Classic Death of a Salesman

 

Quickscan:

  1. Before we begin the book….we know how it will end!
  2. The story revolves around
  3. …Willy Loman, (…notice name “low man”).
  4. He is a 63 yr salesman, who cannot understand
  5. …how he failed and cannot live the American Dream.
  6. Central: the hardships that come with trying
  7. …to meet social expectations in America.
  8. Irony: We never learn in the play what Willy sells!

 

Characters:  major

  1. Willy Loman – insecure, self-deluded traveling salesman.
  2. He mirrors an everyday “character” of Post WWII American society
  3. inflexible to advice he just shuts people out and refuses to listen
  4. Tragic flaw: ridiculous idea of being “well-liked” as a way to succeed.

 

  1. Linda Loman – quintessential 50s housewife, devoted doormat
  2. blinded by loyality.
  3. Biff is telling her the truth but she is not listening.

 

  1. Hap Loman: son who represents Willy’s sense of importance,
  2. ambition, servitude to expectations.
  3. He lived in Biff’s shadow all of his life, ignored.

 

  1. Biff Loman: son who represents Willy’s vulnerable, poetic, tragic side.
  2. He has had twenty to thirty jobs,
  3. all of them fail to improve his station in life.
  4. But Biff is the only character in the play
  5. who changes from ignorance to knowledge.

 

Theme:   betrayal

  1. Generations of Loman men betray their family.
  2. They place their desires above their families well-being.
  3. Grandfather: suddenly leaves  when Willy was 4  yr.
  4. Father:  suddenly leaves to find success in Alaska.
  5. Willy: betrays family (wife) with s sordid affair.
  6. Sons: Biff and Hap,  abandon father
  7. in restaurant to trail after 2 women.

 

Theme: suicide as a means

  1. Willy is determined to eliminate himself in
  2. what has turned out to be an unfulfilling life.
  3. The payment of his insurance policy will help family survive.
  4. Suicide is a method for something else.
  5. Irony: Willy Loman is worth more dead
  6. ….than alive.

 

Structure:

  1. Structure: 2 acts + Requiem  (118 pg)
  2. Reading time:  2,5 hours 
  3. The acts are divided into conversations
  4. about the past and present.
  5. Timeline: an evening and the following day.
  6. The he action is interrupted by
  7. flashbacks or memories of a
  8. period approximately 17 years earlier.
  9. late 1920s – early 1930s (The Depression)

 

Staging the past and present:

  1. Shakespeare never tried to show the past as the present.
  2. His characters describe a past event in dialogue.
  3. Miller uses the forestage to illustrate
  4. Willy’s imaginings the of past.
  5. Flashbacks track Willy’s mental decline.

Modernism:

  1. Miller was modern because of his staging (forestage)
  2. and he believed a tragic downfall can  happen
  3. to a common man, as Willy Loman.
  4. Aristotle stated a tragic hero is always
  5. a very important person.

 

Conclusion:

  1. This is one performance I wish I had seen March 2012
  2. Death of a Salesman (link play review NYT, 2012)
  3. with Philip Seymour Hoffman.
  4. It is a novel in a nutshell…so powerful!
  5. I’ve watched the movie (1985) starring Dustin Hoffman.
  6. To my delight I found the complete audio recording
  7. of the Broadway play (2012)  click here
  8. and listen to Hoffman’s  stunning performance!
  9. The voices mesmerized me.
  10. You could hear Willy hallucinatory….delusional.
  11. Death of a Salesman  is considered the best play
  12. …written by an American playwright.

 

Feedback:  comment Cleo @ClassicalCarousel (new blog!)

This play was just a complex as a novel…and only 2,5 hrs reading time!
I did not even go into the symbols in the play (rubber hose, silk stockings and a flute)…but you can discover them your self. I did notice after reading the play that Arthur Miller used music as a symbol. If I had not listened to the 2012 version on You Tube…I’d never known! You miss this symbol if you are not aware that the play begins and ends with flute music…and at other times in the play. It is a reminder to Willy that he could have chosen a free and wild life in the country like his father did. Lost opportunity…poor Willy

 

Last thought:  my favorite quote:

  • “Willy was a salesman.
  • He’s a man way out there in the blue
  • …riding on a smile and a shoeshine,”

 

 

16
Nov

#Classic Electra

  • Author: Sophocles
  • Title: Electra
  • Written: 410 BC
  • Revenge  is a dish best served cold.
  • Plot:  read the backround and storyline on Wikipedia.
  • Reading time: 1 hour 15 min

 

Introduction:

  1. This was truly a exceptional play.
  2. One settting…a few characters a
  3. pressure-cooker domestic drama
  4. …that keeps us waiting for the climax!

 

Characters:

  • Electra – princess of Argos
  • King Agamemnon – king of Argos
  • Clytemnestra – queen of Argos (father was the king of Sparta) sister of Helen of Troy
  • Iphigenia – princess of Argos (sacrificed to gods by her father)
  • Orestes – prince of Argos (twin brother Electra)
  • Aegisthus – cousin of King Agamemnon….lover of Clytemnestra
  • Chrysothemis – princess of Argos ( tries to calm Electra down!)
  • Unlike her sister….she does not seek vengeance against her mother.

 

Tragedy:

  1. Pity: Lavinia is killed under false pretenses
  2. Fear: imagining what we would have done if we were in Electra’s shoes
  3. Flaw: Electra fails to balance passion (grief father’s murder) with reason.
  4. Recognition: Orestes pretends to be dead; he returns to Mycenae…is reunited with Electra.
  5. Pathos: Electra evokes our pathos when she
  6. ….says after hearing of the death of her brother
  7. ….there is no one to protect her. (appeals to our emotions…)
  8. “No. There was someone (brother). Here are his ashes.”
  9. Electra uses pathos: When she still believes her brother is dead,
  10. she makes an emotional speech over his urn,
  11. begging to be dead and put into the urn as well.
  12. Here, she is using pathos in an attempt
  13. …to convince a higher power to take her life

 

Conclusion:

  1. Fast moving play filled with dramatic irony
  2. …WE know more than the characters.
  3. That will keep any Greek on the edge of their chair!
  4. Question:
  5. Did Sophocles ever watch TV show Sisters (1991-1996)
  6. Here are my thoughts about that!

 

  1. Major themes: is definitely betrayal, justice and revenge.
  2. Agamemnon betrays is wife Clytemnestra
  3. by to sacrificing his daughter (Lavinia) to the goddess Artemis.
  4. Clytemnestra betrays her husband
  5. ….by her affair with Aegisthus (King’s cousin) while he was at sea.

 

  1. Loyalty: Family loyalty surpasses loyalty to the state.
  2. For Electra vengeance remains necessary.

 

  1. Murders: wife kills husband (avenge her daughter’s death)
  2. With the aid of Electra, Orestes kills both his mother and her lover.
  3. Victims of crimes become criminals themselves.

 

  1. Strong point: Chrysothemis  This character gave the play a modern feeling!
  2. She is a superficial girl.
  3. ..accepts the status quo in the family (remarriage mother)
  4. ..but remains very protective and close to Electra.

 

  1. Strong point: Dialogue:  Chrysothemis speaking to Electra
  2. This sounds like an
  3. …episode of the TV show ‘Sisters’ (1991-1996)

 

  • Now is the time to start being sensible.
  • Don’ ruin your life in sheer stupidity.
  • You won’t listen to reason at all, will you?
  • Don’t throw your life away on plain stupidity.
  • When you are sane you can think for both of us.
  • Let’s just say there are times when justice is too big a risk.
  • Control yourself!

 

Last thoughts:

  1. Greek plays are fun to read and ‘read about’.
  2. I always have to prepare dinner before starting a Greek play.
  3. Once I start reading and researching it…I forget to eat!
  4. But the hardest part is trying to find something new to say
  5. …about a play that has been
  6. …with us since time immemorial.
  7. It is just a…
  8. #MustRead.

 

 

 

 

12
Nov

NonFicNov week 3 Be the Expert

Week 3: (Nov. 12 to 16) – Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert (Julie @ JulzReads)Three ways to join in this week! You can either share three or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).

#NonFicNov

  • I enjoy reading plays and learning about the ‘nuts and bolt’ of
  • writing and staging them.
  • Here a a few books about plays, playwrights and the theater.

 

Feedback for a comment @ Doing Dewey

  1. Plays reflect society in a very direct way.
  2. Death of a Salesman (post WW II consumerism and the American Dream)
  3. Raisin in the Sun (Black experience of trying
  4. to assimilate into white society, pros, cons)
  5. The Father (originally a French play, Le Pere)
  6. touching look how a son deals
  7. …with a father slipping into dementia.
  8. Fences  by August Wilson
  9. …Oscar winning movie 2016, Viola Davis Best Actress
  10. written 10 years after Arthur Miller’s play DoS set in 1950s is
  11. considered the black American version of Death of a Salesman.
  12. I could go on and on!
  13. If you just take one play…
  14. …do a little research
  15. …you never know where you’ll end up!
  16. Thanks for you comments and as always your
  17. Friday Non-fiction post that gives
  18. others an opportunity to share their NF reads!

 

Mapping Irish Theater

  • Mapping Irish Theater examines the
  • …relationship between a society and its theater.
  • Irish plays are deeply entrenched sense of place.
  • Published: 2013 (175 pg)

 

 

Kitchen Sink Realisms

  • Domestic labor has figured largely on American stages.
  • The genre  is “kitchen sink realism”.
  • Published: 2015 (304 pg)

 

Female Bodies on the American Stage

  • Dress size of a woman makes a bold  statement on stage!
  • Published: 2014 (239 pg)

Looking for Lorraine

  • First black female playwright
  • …whose play was produced on Broadway
  • Published: 2018 (256 pg)

Play: Raisin in the Sun

  • I’m adding this so you can see…
  • …why Hansberry was so important for the theater.
  • Opening:  New York City on March 11, 1959

 

 

 

8
Nov

#Classic: Ibsen “Rosmersholm”

 

Finished: 08.11.2018
Genre: play (94 pages)
Rating: A++++

 

Quickscan:

  1. The play opens one year after the suicide at mill-race pond
  2. …of Rosmer’s wife, Beata.
  3. Rebecca had previously moved into the family home Rosmersholm
  4. ….as a friend of Beata.
  5. It becomes plain that she and Rosmer are in love
  6. …but he insists that their relationship is completely platonic.

 

Characters:

  • Johannes Rosmer: former clergyman; owner of Rosmersholm
  • Rebecca West: resident at Rosmersholm
  • Professor Krol: Rosmer’s brother-in-law
  • Brendel: Rosmer’s childhood tutor
  • Mortensgaard: newspaper editor
  • Mrs. Helseth: housekeeper at Rosmersholm

 

Motif:    water (mill-race pond)

  1. Act 1:
  2. Rosmer has difficulty walking on the mill-path near mill-race pond
  3. Act 2:
  4. Kroll: “No. You (Rosmer) must solve the mystery of the mill-race
  5. …according to your conscience.”
  6. Act 3:
  7. Rosmer:  “You can’t possibly judge of (guilt). But I–
  8. ( Rosmer points out the window) The mill-race. (pond)
  9. Act 4:
  10. Mill-race pond…..symbol of redemption, cleansing
  11. that appeals to both the intellect and the emotions.

 

Strong point: detailed stage directions

  1. Ibsen tells the reader: charcter is hesitating,
  2. …speaking in subdued voice
  3. …a faint smile, sitting wearily on sofa,
  4. …springing up, wringing her hands etc.
  5. This helps me (only reading play…no stage preformance)
  6. …to create a vivid mental picture.
  7. Ibsen was less detailed about lighting:
  8. …lamp with shade over it, lighting the lamp.

 

Strong point:  dramatic scene endings

  1. For example…
  2. Act 1:
  3. Rebecca mentions the myth of the white horse.
  4. Housekeeper mutters: Will someone die soon?
  5. Act 2:
  6. Why does Rebecca refuse to marry the man she loves?
  7. These curtain calls are the muscle that drives the play forward!
  8. Every closing scene will effect the next…until the climatic moment!

 

Strong point: characterization by  stage exits

  1. The character’s inner life on stage by their ‘exits’! (external action).
  2. For example:
  3. Act 1:
  4. Mrs. Helseth (housekeeper)
  5. shaking her head and muttering to herself
  6. ..she is confused about strange conversation with Rebecca
  7. Act 2:
  8. Rosmer slaming the door shut
  9. seeking relief from tension: Rebecca refuses to marry him!
  10. Act 3:
  11. Rebecca and Mrs. Helseth…leaving stage
  12. …in search of Rebecca’s ‘ travel trunk. (…suddden journey?)
  13. Act 4: …no spoilers

 

Quote:  puzzling

  1. Act 4 Rebecca: “Now I’ve submitted to an alien law.”
  2. What does this mean?
  3. Rebecca has been infected by the Rosmer view of life…
  4. it enobles, but kills joy.

 

Prop:  secret letter

  1. Plot turns on a letter written on fine paper, red sealing wax
  2. sent from Rosmersholm to publisher of the Beacon, a newspaper.
  3. The letter is passed from character to character:
  4. Beata (Mrs Rosmer) –> Mrs. Helseth, housekeeper –> Mortensgaard
  5. The reader feels tension about the letter throughout the play
  6. …concealment, interception, revelation of secrets?

 

Foreshadowing:

  1. Act 2:
  2. There is nothing like quoting a commandment
  3. …to give the reader a clue about the plot!
  4. Kroll  –> Mortensgaaard (publisher newspaper)
  5. “…we shall not bear false witness against our neighbour…”
  6. Act 2: Kroll –> Rosmer: 
  7. “…here in your house some game or other’s going on behind your back.”

 

Irony:

  1. Rosmer criticizes (as a former clergyman)
  2. …Mortensgaard’ s behavior (affair with woman)
  3. ….but Rosmer does exactly the same!
  4. Monrtensgaard: …SHE wants to marry him  ..HE could not manage it.
  5. Rosmer: ….HE wants to marry….SHE could not manage it.

 

Conclusion:

  1. Read introduction and Act 1-4
  2. Each act takes 40 minutes to read
  3. it feels like a novella!
  4. We meet Johannes Rosmer leading a
  5. …stormy personal and political life.

 

  1. The only way to really appreciate all the
  2. subtle clues in this play…is to read it twice!
  3. Once you know what happens in
  4. Act 4
  5. …the poignant conversation between
  6. Rebecca and Rosmer in the beginning of
  7. Act 3
  8. …will amaze you.
  9. You will realize the reaction of Rebecca is based on
  10. a long hidden secret that is gnawing at her heart.

 

  1. Theme: is obvious….confession of sins.
  2. The characters (Rosmer and Rebecca) examine
  3. their consciences without the help of the clergy.
  4. Theme: seen in many Ibsen’s plays
  5. …the redemptive power of love.

 

  1. Act 4:
  2. Dark in parts….but an ending
  3. with crackling dialogue
  4. ….between Rosmer en Rebecca
  5. ….filled with guilt and forgiveness.
  6. Act 2:
  7. Lesson learned?
  8. What is your most precious possession?
  9. …your ideals.
3
Nov

#Classic: A Raisin in the Sun

 

Quickscan:

  1. Walter is a chauffeur who lives with his wife, son,
  2. sister and mother in their mother’s rattrap of a Chicago tenement apartment.
  3. He hopes to convince his mother to give him the $10,000
  4. from the life insurance payment after the premature death of his father.
  5. Walter Lee wants to invest that money in a liquor store.
  6. Lena, who has faced a lifetime of disappointments
  7. with an adamant religious faith
  8. doesn’t want to be in the liquor-selling business.
  9. She has other dreams for that money:
  10. …buy a house in Clybourne Park
  11. …a fictional all white neighborhood in Chicago.

 

Main characters:

  1. Walter Lee Younger jr.
  2.   — man with big dreams, full of masculine pride and need to be the famliy’s provider.
  3. Lena Younger
  4. —  mother and meddlesome grandmother as a source of strength.
  5. Beneatha
  6. — Lena’s daughter….also the voice of the playwright L. Hansberry
  7. as an ambitious, idealistic, intellectual college student).
  8. Ruth  — Walter’s wife
  9. Travis  — Walter’s son

 

Theme 1:   pride

  1. There is the most obvious theme in this play
  2. the importance of pride.
  3. A Raisin in the Sun contains one of the most moving
  4. monologues in all of American Theater.
  5. Act 3: Walter is speaking:
  6. “Me and my family…we are very plain people,”
  7. …he (father) was a laborer most of his life…
  8. …we come from people who had a lot of pride.
  9. I mean — we are a very proud people.

 

Theme 2:    assimilation

  1. But I think if you notice  Beneatha’ s
  2. …similar passionate monologue
  3. ….you come to the crux of the play.
  4. Beneatha:
  5. Act 2:Because I hate assimilationist Neroes!
  6. “…it means someone who is willing to give up his own
  7. …culture and submerge himself compelely in the dominant
  8. …and in this case oppressive culture.”

 

  1. The Younger family is moving to an all-white neighborhood.
  2. Walter:
  3. Act 3: “We don’t want to make no trouble for nobody
  4. …and we will try to be good neighbors.”
  5. Hansberry (via  Beneatha)  makes it clear
  6. ….that she has had a good look at ‘this society
  7. what makes you think she wants to be accepted?
  8. As James Baldwin said during a round table discussion
  9. March 1 1964 for Commentary magazine:
  10. It’s not a matter of acceptance or tolerance.
  11. …We’ve got to sit down and rebuild this house.

 

Play history:

  1. 1959 original Broadway play
  2. S. Portier nominated best actor Tony Awards 1960
  3. 2004 revival: starring Audra McDonald and Phylicia Rashad
  4. who both won Tonys for their performances.
  5. 2014 Denzel Washington…considered ‘age-blind casting’.
  6. Washington is 59 yr and looks it…but
  7. because of his ‘audience drawing power’ he is
  8. casted as 35 yr Walter Lee Younger jr.
  9. Hansberry  was  the first black female playwright
  10. whose play was produced on Broadway.
  11. A Raisin in the Sun made theater history.
  12. Never had so…much truth about  black people’s lives
  13. ….been seen on the stage.

 

Trivia:

  1. In Act III Hansberry mentions a character named Rufus.
  2. After reading Hansberry’s biography….I know that
  3. this refers to a man who became a
  4. famous Civil Rights Activist in 1960’s.
  5. Who is it?
  6. .read the biography Looking for Lorraine
  7. …by Imani Perry.

 

Trivia:

  1. Remember…Lena Younger has bought a house in
  2. fictive all-white Clybourne Park
  3. …neighborhood  with the insurance money.
  4. Clybourne Park (2010) is  also the title of Bruce Norris’s play which
  5. updates and riffs on A Raisin in the Sun.
  6. It uses some of Lorraine Hansberry’s characters.
  7. Clybourne Park won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama 2011.
  8. This award was ironically was not bestowed on Hansberry
  9. who died tragically young in 1965
  10. …at the age of 35 after a 2 year battle with cancer.
  11. PS: this play is on my TBR
  12. …so I can compare the two playwrights!

 

Strong point:

  1. Hansberry weaves in so many issues
  2. …from abortion to African colonial struggles
  3. …to the African-American generational shift
  4. …heritage vs economical success.
  5. But A Raisin in the Sun never feels
  6. …like  a heavy-handed political play.
  7. It is a portrait of three generations of a family.
  8. Last thought:     #MustReadClassic

 

 

Title: –  is from Langston Hughes poem:

Harlem

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

 

15
Jun

Victorian Premier’s Literary Award Drama 2018

Nisha and Yvette

 

Introduction:

Understanding characters in plays allows the reader to relate to
different situations, backgrounds, and cultures.
Asian-Australian office cleaner Yvette clashes with
ambitious Australian-Indian Nisha corporate executive officer in multinational.
A lasting friendship begins.….

 

What is the play about?

  1. Michele Lee writes plays about women of colour.
  2. Rice is about an ambitious, self-obsessed Indian executive
  3. Nisha Gupta (28 yr) working for Golden Fields Company.
  4. She is the granddaughter of a West Bengal immigrant.
  5. She is ‘second in charge’ of an agricultural company.
  6. Yvette Tang (61 yr) is a Chinese immigrant.
  7. She is a single-mother, one daughter.
  8. She is an office cleaner.
  9. Yvette and Nisha.… multicultural women
  10. …making their way in modern Australia.

 

Metaphor:

  1. Metaphor:  Nisha is on the top floor of the building
  2. ….successful.
  3. Metaphor:  Yvette  is in the basement of the building
  4. .…struggling with a menial job.

 

Strong point:

  1. Michele Lee uses parallels throughout the play to show
  2. us the connection between Yvette and Nisha.
  3. It took me 2 readings to discover them all!

 

Yvette and Nisha:  similarities

  1. both work in Golden Fields building
  2. both have emotional ties to family – yvette/daughter; Nisha/grandmother
  3. both are  ‘putting on an act’
  4. Yvette = “little old cleaner victim” – Nisha = “Your corporate act”
  5. both are businesswomen
  6. Yvette: Import.”You think I import plastics? (imports Prada knock-offs)
  7. Nisha: I’m E.O. of Golden Fields. I’m strategic!
  8. both live in suburbs of  Melbourne
  9. ….but at opposite sides. Yvette: Eltham – Nisha: Werribee

 

Strong point:

  1. The ‘tit-for-tat’  dialogue between Nisha and Yvette…
  2. It snaps, crackles and pops off the page.
  3. Nisha:  You’re the one with the vacuum cleaner. End of story
  4. Yvette: Not the end
  5. Nisha:  Chinese cleaner
  6. Yvette: Indian princess
  7. Nisha:  You’re a cleaner
  8. Yvette: You’re a baby
  9. Yvette: I empty. (complained that Nisha left her rubbish on desk an not in bin)
  10. Nisha:  Both my bins are full. Nothing on the table. Happy?

 

Friendship:

  1. They’re from different cultures, different generations
  2. …but  a bond develops between Yvette and Nisha
  3. Yvette: Act 1  Very fussy. Very big bitch. Hope she get fired
  4. Yvette: Act 3   (…she mumurs)  “I will miss you little shadow.
  5. Nisha:  Act 1 I stay. I eat. I make a mountain of rubbish for you.
  6. Nisha:  Act 3 You tell me what to do…Well I pretty much did, ok?
  7. Yvette: Act 3  “All you want is me to say you are right.”
  8. Nisha:  Act 3 “Say something about me. Tell me. Judge me

 

Echoes:  of friendship

  1. Act 1:
  2. Nisha “This is the part of the story where we first meet.”
  3. Yvette: “This the part where we eat.” (rice together….)
  4. Rice is an ancient symbol of wealth,
  5. success, fertility and good health.
  6. It is powerful.
  7. Act 3:
  8. Yvette “This is the part where we leave together.
  9. This is the part where we go.”

 

Yvette changes:

  1. Plays the victim …(act 2)
  2. …groveling at the feet of David Egan, son of CEO of Coles company.
  3. Does not express her opinion…”But not everything I think I have to say.”
  4. Change:
  5. Act 3 we see a ‘re-born’ Yvette with a voice!
  6. A voice in sync with the new generation….her daughter Sheree!
  7. “Mr. David Egan. Fuck you.
  8. “Coles is evil and the system is broken.
  9. And that is all I have to say to you. Mr. David Egan.”

 

Nisha changes:

  1. In the first two acts Nisha is a corporate ‘high-roller.”
  2. She has a better grasp of the world.
  3. She is is a little brighter than the next person.
  4. She is a high stakes player who is willing
  5. to place large bets and take risks.
  6. She is brokering a rice deal with biggest retainer in the world.
  7. Plot:  Nisha’s fatal overseas
  8. business trip to sell rice to the Indians.
  9. “Any day now this phone is going to sing.”
  10. …this is game-changing, history-breaking.”
  11. Change:
  12. Act 3 “I don’t do anything special. (E.O) It’s a bullshit title.
  13. Nisha once demanded Yvette clean….end of story.
  14. Now Nisha helps Yvette empty bins,
  15. …squashes the rubbish down and adds in new bin liners.
  16. She’s about to be fired….the rise and fall of Nisha.

 

Strong point: 

  1. Michele Lee allows Yvette a
  2. heightened level of knowledge about Nisha.
  3. The older generation may not have
  4. a Masters degree from University of Sydney
  5. but Yvette can teach Nisha.
  6. Yvette  shows her that she should not be afraid of
  7. shame…of failing…not being perfect.
  8. Yvette has learned that the hard way.

 

Nisha and Yvette help each other:

  1. Courage is the feeling we need to bring to the surface
  2. if we want to change things.
  3. Nisha helps Yvette find her voice and the courage to quit.
  4. The courage to be closer to her daughter.
  5. Yvette helps Nisha to see the world from ‘street level’
  6. and realize how lucky she is.
  7. “You need help? Huh? Why? You are young,
  8. you have a job. Look at you.

 

Strong point:  coded words, foreign languages…multicultural

  1. Echoes: Wo hui xiang nie de, xiao yingzi”
  2. This is the thread that connects Yvette to Nisha
  3. I will miss you little shadow”.
  4. Echoes:  “Tini bijoyer sathei aasen.”
  5. This is the thread that connects Nisha to Yvette
  6. and her grandmother.
  7. “She moves with victory.”

 

Valerie:  voice that makes you stop and think…comic relief.

  1. Valerie is a  60+ Russian who
  2. …is the cleaning service supervisor of Yvette.
  3. She is only in the first act…but has something to say!
  4. Valerie and Yvette represent the older generation.
  5. How is that fussy bitch? (Nisha)
  6. Fuck you time sheet! (cleaners trained for 2 minute only office clean)
  7. Why is this world worse than when we came into it?
  8. Don’t look so tragic. Life is shit. Company training say so.

 

Theme:  mother vs daughter

  1. Yvette Chinese cleaner  vs  Sheree political activist/law student.
  2. These are the emotional scenes
  3. a mother and a  daughter.
  4. Yvette and Sheree are from different generations.
  5. Act 1:
  6. “In this world you bring me shame, but I only have you…
  7. …you only have me.”
  8. They are exact opposites.
  9. Act 2:
  10. Sheree wants trouble,
  11. to step on corporate toes, be  a modern-day martyr.
  12. Yvette wants to keep a low profile… nose to the grindstone.
  13. Yvette has learned it does not pay ‘to make waves.’
  14. Act 2:
  15. Mother and daughter clash.
  16. Sheree speaks her mind: “You only do things for yourself” ….
  17. Yvette: “Your Ma, always, always, everything to help you, keep you….”
  18. In Act 3 I found the most poignant remarks by Yvette:
  19. “Thank you for being mine.”

 

What is different in this play?

  1. Characters: There are 11 characters in the play.
  2. but just two actresses on the stage.
  3. The women can change their voices, accents
  4. and stage lighting (according to the stage directions)
  5. helps differentiate the characters.
  6. TWO protagonists:  Nisha and Yvette
  7. story lines are   closely intertwined,
  8. …both in the plot and the theme.
  9. Structure: NOT  the classic 3 act play
  10. focus on 1 character – conflict-driven –
  11. cause and effect….progressively raising the stakes.
  12. This is OPEN MODEL:
  13. uses  parallel action, echoes
  14. events linked by coincidence
  15. ending, instead of resolution

 

Conclusion:  my thoughts

Note:  I have learned that when I read a play I know I will absorb only the basics during the first reading: characters, setting, structure of the play. The best way to read a play is just before bedtime. Then I try to retell mysef what the play is about. In the morning I have new thoughts about conflicts, parallels, repetition of phrases (echoes). Reading a play is more difficult than reading a novel!

Note: This play is a brilliant piece or writing that you will not realize if you just read it once. The subplots are good (Graeme, Tom, Johnny Song) but concentrate on the  main character’s dialogues of Nisha and Yvette.  Try to hear….what is NOT being said!  Michele Lee has deservedly won  prestigious prizes: Victorian Premier’s Award Drama 2018 and Queensland Premier’s Award Drama 2016-2017.

Note: Reading a play on Kindle…is not as much fun.  In the book I can make notes, highlight dialogue. Yes, I can do that on Kindle…..but I love having the script in front of me. It is an intimate reading of a playwrights hard work!  It is so much fun to dissect a play.

 

Australian ‘new to me’ or slang:

  1. ASOS:  – global fashion place for 20-somethings
  2. The Iconic: Australian/New Zealand   fashion place for 20-somethings
  3. bogan  – One of minimal intelligence, standards and fasion sense. Located in Australia, found in caravan parks, housing commission, the pub or Centrelink queues. (Urban dictionary)

 

 

 

10
Jun

Play: Pipeline

Karen Pittman as Nya

 

Title:   Pipeline

The title is inspired by Morisseau’s reading of the book The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (….on my TBR). She was struck by the school-to-prision pipeline. It refers to people who go straight from school right into prison…systematically creating a kind of social structure.

 

Plot:

The play centers on Nya Joseph (Pittman), a dedicated inner-city high school teacher who sends her only son Omari to a private boarding school; a controversial incident causes Nya to rally to save her son from expulsion.

Characters:

Nya:
Single mom: struggling parent doing her damnedest – strong but burning out – smoker…sometimes drinker…holding on by a thread.
Public school teacher: inspiring students in a stressed environment. (character is modeled after playwright’s mother)

Omari:
Black man, late teens: who is wrestling with identity- Nys’a son with a …private school education being from urban community.
Smart and astute – rage without release – tender…but honest to the core.

Jasmine:
Latina teen: sharp bite….soft smile
sensitive….tough
profoundly aware of herself…and her environment

Xavier:
Ex-husband: mid-late 30’s – wounded relationship with Nya – financially stable – emotionally impoverished.

Laurie:
White woman in her 50’s:  pistol of a woman – can hold her own against tough students – doesn’t bite her tongue – a ‘don’t-fuck-with-me’ chick

Dun:
Black security school guard: early mid-30’s – fit and optimistic – charismatic with women – genuine and thoughtful – trying to be a gentleman in a stressed environment. It’s not easy.

The cast:

 

Conclusion:

  1. Morisseau grew up in Detroit, Michigan.
  2. Her mother’s family is from Mississippi.
  3. Her father’s family is from Haiti
  4. This is a deeply moving story of a mother’s fight to give her son a future
  5. without turning her back on the community that made him who he is.
  6. The quote that stopped me in my tracks:
  7. “What kinda nigga just sends checks and calls that fatherhood?”
  8. #Powerful
  9. Morisseau is on the list of Top 20 Most Produced Playwrights
  10. in America 2015–16, with 10 productions of her plays being produced.
  11. If you see one of her plays in the library….tuck it under you arm for
  12. …a great night at the theatre
  13. …..right in your own reading chair!

 

Playwright: Dominique Morisseau