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HSC AOS Discovery Away By Michael Gow

Away By Michael Gow Dramatic Features HSC AOS Discovery

Rachel Witheridge

on 7 March 2017

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Transcript of HSC AOS Discovery Away By Michael Gow

Shakespearean Allusions
Technique Allusion:
In literature, an implied or indirect reference to a person, event, or thing or to a part of another text.

, there are several allusions that reference traditional Shakespearean plays and devices. These include:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
King Lear

The play within a play (Technique)
The Storm

When it comes to Shakespearean plays, three structural elements are crucial to consider:

Order Chaos Return to order

Allusion to
A Midsummer Nights Dream
This is the play the students are performing in Act 1 Scene 1. Tom plays Puck, a mischievous sprite.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
, Puck’s magic first creates chaos and then is used to reconcile it, healing relationships between various characters.

Order (with tensions):
There are dilemmas for all characters in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Titania and Oberon are fighting, Hermia and Demetrius have been forbidden to marry, Helena loves Lysander, but Lysander loves Hermia

Puck mixes up the characters, putting spells on them so they fall in love with the wrong people.

Return to Order / New Better Order:
Puck uses magic to fix his mistake, and create a new Harmonious order, in which Titania and Oberon are in love, Hermia and Demetrius are consented to marry, and Lysander loves Helena.
Allusion to
King Lear
: This is the play that is being rehearsed at the end of

King Lear is the tragic story of a king’s descent into madness and chaos, with the final scene one of death.

Kingdom is ordered and peaceful, Lear decides who will inherit his kingdom

A rift develops between family members over who becomes heir to the throne; the kingdom is divided; Lear’s perceptions of his daughters are confused as he descends into madness.

Return to order/ New Better Order:
Lear is reconciled with his worthy daughter, Cordelia before he dies.

A Perfect Storm
In Shakespearean drama storms were used as a powerful and often magical moment in the narrative of the play. They often came as the climax to shift the action. They stripped away the old order to make way for a new better order.

Weather within Shakespeare’s plays in very symbolic. Holding connotations of:
summon change,
bring destruction,
create or symbolise chaos,
restore order and harmony.

The Storm Scene Act 3 Scene 4 and 5
The storm occurs and we see Gwen, Jim and Meg effected by it but Tom, Vic and Harry unaffected. This contrasts with the upheaval needed to establish a new order in each set of characters lives.

The characters, mid-journey are at the mercy of the elements. This shakes them and creates the catalyst for the movement in their journeys
leading to their all important self discoveries

The fairies return from the beginning of the play linking the storm to the opening scene. Fairies are magical and mischievous, we see this as they “wreak havoc.”

The Storm Scene – Scene 5
The contrast, Scene 5 dramatically depicts that Tom, Vic and Harry have missed the storm as the audience sees them casually chat about what they will do next on their Holiday.

“The light becomes warm and intense.” The lighting reflects (symbolises) the families loving, warm and supportive relationship, they closely connected to one another.

Casual nature of the scene is reflected by the staging.
Props –fishing reel
Clothing – sunhat, board shorts and Hawaiian shirt
Dialogue use of humour – "We'd have been all right. We could have sheltered under your hat." Harry to Vic.

This juxtaposition further highlights Gwen's families need to discovery this closeness and reconnect.

The music is still Mendelssohn, however is "Dream overture" - a peaceful calming melody, reflective of the families atmosphere.

Self Discovery, Transformation and the Storm
The idea of self discovery is depicted in the manner in which the three families deal with the storm.

Their isolation on the beach prompts introspection and questioning of their previous understanding. This leads to a transformation as new understandings are reached.Their physical isolation on the beach becomes symbolic of their personal isolation and withdrawal from society.
Tom is isolated by his illness and keeping up the pretense that everything is ok.
Meg is isolated by the rift between herself and her mother.
Jim is isolated by his family's tension
Gwen is isolated by of egocentric view of the world
Coral is isolated by her grief
Harry and Vic are isolated by Tom's illness and their position within society

“We have this boy and we won’t have him for long. And whatever he does that will have to be enough”(Act 4, Scene 1)

The key message of the play is that if death is everyone’s common fate, then worth comes from the manner in which life is lived. Gwen, Coral and the audience simultaneously discovery this through Tom's journey.

A key element of the process and outcome of discovery is transformation. Gow utilises a technique that was common in Shakespearean comedy; that suffering and anguish can lead to rejuvenation and thus transformation of the individual or group.

Self Discovery, Transformation and the Storm
Gow uses dramatic symbols to highlight the manner in which the physical and emotional shift from isolation to healing and insight occurs.

The storm lashes the holiday-makers both literally and metaphorically.

The theatrical use of light, sound and other effects demonstrate the power of the storm.

However, Act 3 Scene 5 opens with a light that is “intense and warm”. Gow uses lighting to represent the healing power of Nature.
The storm has purged the old world order and old perspectives and will now heal allowing for a new world order and new persepctives. Nature is the catalyst for a rediscovery of ideas and relationships.

The connection to the natural world allows the characters to renew their lives that have been destructive and/or stagnant. The sun, water and fresh air offer emotional cleansing.

The beach bonfire is a symbol of this purification and transformation. Like the storm, fire is destructive, it destroys the old so that something new can be built in its place. Like the story it becomes symbolic of the need for a new more harmonious world order, a need for new perspectives.
By Michael Gow

Dramatic Features
AOS: Discovery

Discovery and the Shakespearean Concept of:
Order Chaos Return to Order
each family, and each character is fractured for their own individual reasons and in desperate need of discovering a new and better order to facilitate reconciliations, rejuvenation, healing, acceptance and unity. They can only achieve this by first experiencing chaos.

Links to AWAY
Technique Play-within-a-play:
Is a literary device in which one play in performed during the action of another play. It is a common technique used by Shakespeare in which a play is performed within the play and holds significant metaphorical and symbolic meaning.

opens with Tom performing Puck's final monologue from
A Midsummer Night's Dream

Technique Monologue:
A long speech in which a character often appears alone on stage and directly addresses the audience.
A Midsummer Night's Dream in 60seconds
Puck's Final Monologue
Tom's performance as Puck at the beginning of play holds symbolic meaning and creates parallel characterisation

Technique Parallel Characterisation:
A parallel character is another character (in the same piece of literature or another) that is very similar if not almost exactly the same as the original character chosen.

Tom performs the role of Puck in the school play and adopts characteristics similar to this fairy.

His dialogue during Puck's farewell speech sets him up to be the catalyst that enables various characters to heal.

Tom curses Gwen & Jim’s holiday and wreaks havoc and chaos - the fairies from the school play return later on in the storm scene

Coral is like Titania in that her husband Oberon (Roy) chastises her because of a boy (Rick). Act 3 Sc III
Act One Sc I
Act 1 Sc i & ii
of “Mends” , “Mended” and “Amends” characterise Puck and Tom as the healer who will restore / establish a new better order.

“Tom’s got a bit of Hobgoblin in him” alludes to Tom's mischievous nature and further enhances the
parallel characterisation

reference “I’ll met by moonlight” to Gwen not only enhances his parallel
but also characterises Gwen revealing her egocentric behavior by
alluding to her as Titania
A Midsummer Night's Dream

” I hope you have a rotten holiday. I hope it rains.” Curses Gwen's holiday
the storm will create chaos.
Key Quotations
Links to Away
Opening of Shakespearean's King Lear -
Tom's final Monologue
Lear’s madness is reflected in Coral

Rift between family members reflected in Gwen & Meg

Storm scenes are important turning points in both plays – in both the old, corrupted order of the world needs to be ‘washed away’ so that order can be established in its purest state

A storm is an essential force which can destroy, but also purge and refresh – we SEE the storm being whipped up on stage, it is a crucial SYMBOLIC ELEMENT of the play.

In the restoration of order, conflicts are resolved and self knowledge is gained (particularly for Gwen).

And Tom and Lear “unburden’d crawl towards death”


Parallel Characterisations

Dramatic Features and Elements
Allusion to Shakespeare
– the idea of creating chaos. This links back to the curse of Tom (Act 1 Scene2).
The arrival of the storm in Act 3 Scene 4 seems to be the embodiment of Tom’s curse on Gwen that she have “ a fucken miserable time”(Act 1 Scene 2)

Gwen is only worried about the material things (
= “stove” “purse” and “boat”) and less interested in the safety of the family. A very egocentric and materialistic out look.

Jim worries about where people are (
= “Stay”) – provides contrast. He is concerned for others.

The contrasting dialogue creates a juxtaposition between the characters highlighting Gwen misguided outlook.

“Noise, light and frenzied activity.” The use of stage directions allude to how this scene would be staged theatrically and symbolically represents the tensions within their relationships.
The storm becomes a symbol for the families disunity.

Music playing during this tumultuous scene is Mendelssohn’s ‘Wedding March’ – ironic as this scene is far from the positive impression of a wedding.
This music becomes symbolic of the establishment of a union.
It creates a juxtaposition that makes comment about the terrible state of Gwen and Jim’s marriage/family -they are not working together in this scene.
It highlights the need for a new order and rediscovery of family

Key Quotations
Mendelssohn's Dream Overture
The Play within a Play - Stranger on the Shore
A common device in Shakespearean Drama where the characters in a drama perform in a play on stage that has symbolic and metaphorical meaning.

“Stranger on the Shore”
is the play that Tom and Coral perform. It is significant to the inner journey of both Tom and Coral, and the personal discoveries they make that allow them to transform.
Performing the play allows Tom to become “unburden’d” because he acts out his acceptance of his death at a symbolic level on stage.
Tom's symbolic metaphorical and repetitive dialogue, along with his parallel characterisation with the ghostly sailor “I’m drowning, I’m drowning”,
Highlights the pressure Tom is under in learning to cope and deal with his terminal illness while keeping up the pretense that everything is "ok" for his parents.
Symbolises the way in which Tom, because of his resignation towards his death, has assisted Coral helping her to accept her own son’s premature death and to return to the land of the living - “to walk.”
Coral “I’m walking, I’m walking” [ In her own voice] “I’m walking” – Repetition and stage directions indicating a symbolic change in accent that communicates her transformation.
"Meantime we shall express our darker purpose"
. – allusion to King Lear, creating a parallel characterisation with Tom. "Darker purpose" alludes to Tom's inevitable premature death.

"Give me the map"
– allusion to King Lear, creating parallel characterisation with Tom. Tom now had direction, having learnt, through his experiences with Meg on the beach, that he must accept his fate.

"T’is our fast intent to shake all cares and business from our age"
– allusion to King Lear, creating parallel characterisation. Tom feels he can now accept his fate move forward peacefully.

"While we unburden’d crawl toward death"
– Allusion to King Lear, creating parallel characterisation. Tom feels he can now accept his fate move forward peacefully.

Within Away the storm which the fairies from `A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ create:
Summons changes through its destructive nature
Forces characters such as Gwen to re-evaluate their lives
Cleanses the old habits of patterns of individuals through its destructive nature
Ultimately leads to healing and cleansing by forcing characters together and clearing out old belief systems.
In 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', the fairies were responisible for destroying the old order to make way for a new better order.
Ideas about Discovery: Self Discovery
One of the main types of discovery explored in this play is the concept of
self discovery.

The title implies that the characters must move ‘away’ from their current or established worlds physically, emotionally and spiritually.

The opening scenes of the play shows the audience, people who are caught up in a world where their worth as human beings is measured by the cost of their holidays.

The process of going away is a catalyst for the process of discovery,
as new places and experiences allow for the discovery of self awareness and a path to spiritual healing.

The process of discovery
is shown to be transformative as the characters are able to return to their ‘usual’ world empowered
by their self awareness and the strengthened bonds that they now share with each other.

The discovery of Tom’s terminal illness provides the characters with a clear vision of the precious nature of life.
This is demonstrated through the dramatic techniques of a play within a play and through the symbolism of the storm.
Ideas about Discovery: Self Discovery
The play
A Stranger on the Shore
is an allegory within itself. It presents Coral’s dilemma, which is shared by the audience, of how to deal with the loss of a loved one without existing in a dark cloud of depression.

Nature has a restorative role in the play. It presents the suffering but also the enlightenment.
Act 5 Scene I - The Silent Scene
The mime depicts each character's final transformation. This scene depicts a literal and metaphorical homecoming

Gwen, Jim and Meg:
This scene contains no dialogue. It is a visual representation of the reconciliation of the two central conflicts of the play, (Gwen's family conflict and Roy and Coral's broken relationship), acted out to the strains of Mendelssohn's "Nocturne".
Meg is the first to enter carrying the suitcase that symbolically represents her mother's emotional "baggage".
Next comes Jim with the carton of Christmas presents that Gwen had used to maintain her emotional blackmail over her family. Jim opens the carton and presents Gwen with the gift of a pair of slippers as though he wishes her to know he forgives her for the daily misery her own unhappiness has caused him. Meg finally enters and removes the carton as a sign that she is removing the point of conflict between her and her mother.

Through Gwen's understanding of Tom's illness and her appreciation of Vic and Harry's ability to "release" him, we sense that Gwen has reached a new perspective and will henceforth release her unhealthy emotional hold on her husband and daughter.

Mendelssohn's "Nocturne".

Coral and Roy:

Roy and Coral have entered separately, symbolic of their fractured relationship.
Coral's hat is full of shells which she offers to Roy, who buries his face in them and kisses her hands.
The tenderness of their actions and body language represents that they have rediscovered their love for one another moved forward past their grief. There is a sense of mutual acknowledgment that both bought about the fractures in their relationship, as well as mutual forgiveness.
Tom -

Must accept his fate and that he will die prematurely discovering that he will miss-out on certain life experiences.

(Act 4 Sc 2 and Meg's rejection of his sexual advances)

Vic and Harry -
Must accept Tom's fate and discover how to live fully without him
“We have this boy and we won’t have him for long. And whatever he does that will have to be enough”(Act 4, Scene 1) Dialogue

Meg -

Must learn to accept her mother and develop an understanding of Gwen as individual by discovering her past.
(Allusion to Gone With the Wind)

Jim -

Must learn to stop protecting Gwen and discover that she needs to change in order to live a more fulfilling life.
Gwen to Jim "Don't protect me. Tell me what I 'm feeling." (Act 4 Sc 1)

Gwen -

Must learn that there is more to life than material possessions and social standing. She must discover that an individual's worth is not measured by their wealth

Coral -
Must learn to accept the premature death of her son and work through her grief. She must rediscovery life and her husband.
Coral “I’m walking, I’m walking” [ In her own voice] “I’m walking” – Repetition, stage directions indicating a symbolic change in accent.

Roy -

Must learn to accept his wife's pain and rediscovery their loving relationship.
Allusion to
Gone With the Wind
Set during the Spring of 1861 during the American Civil War
Gone With the Wind
is a
story about having the willpower to overcome adversity.

The story comes to symbolically represent Gwen and her struggles during the depression of the 1930's and her determination and willpower to rise above her impoverished past.
“As God as my witness, I will never be hungry again”

Gwen overtime has become rigid and hell-bent on accumulating enough material comfort to feel secure against the "storms" that life throws at her.

She has fought hard to provide for her family, something Meg comes to learn over the course of the play.

“ We lived in rubbish tips…her plans are for all of us. You have no idea …how hard she has fought to get where we are.”
[Violently] The world is full of mad people. Everywhere mad people Why do they have to live like that? Mad people, weird, sick sordid people. How do they bear having no worthwhile aim?... I hate them. They're happy ... I hate them. page 44

The chaos of the storm destroys Gwen's security forcing her to the beach. It is something she cannot control.
It is here, at the beach, Gwen learns of Tom's illness and discovers the resilience of Vic and Harry allowing her to finally become whole and view the world through a new perspective.
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