The dramaturge explores the inner and outer world of the play and how the use of Design can be appropriate to the plays context and accurately portray the playwright’s intention while still conforming to the conventions and practices of the period. Location: Mainly Nedlands Western Australia (no. 1 Cloudstreet) but also rural WA, Margaret River and Geraldton. Time: 1943-1963 Social Conditions: Final two years of World War Two, The Korean War and the Vietnam War, the Eric Edgar Cook Murders and the Assassination of John F Kennedy.
There was a great fear of socialism and communism and still social tension towards immigrants. Political Climate: Prime Minister ship of Robert Menzies a time of little reform and a conservative stable government. Tension and Hostility was experienced in the later years as young men were conscripted in The Vietnam War. Economical Conditions: Post War Economy many welfare and social reforms to support the working class and banks were not nationalized. Australia had emerged as its own independent nation and modernized nation and economy after WW2.
Many immigrants worked on government schemes such as the snowy mountains project and unemployment was quite low. Cultural Background and Information: the Background of the stolen generation of the girls who were removed from their families and sent to live at the house with the Widow. This explores the aboriginal notion of belonging and how life becomes connected to the land and the places where memories and emotions are strong. The struggles of working class Australian families are explored particularly in terms of class and economical struggles during the post WW2 period.
Playwrights intention: the novel and in extension the play is representative of the sense of nostalgia Tim Winton felt for the post war Period up to the Vietnam War. Winton saw it as a time where family values and the way of life was more wholesome and therefore carries a strong message That family and belonging is important and with family comes a sense of identity. Setting, Time, Period: The play was adapted by Nick Enright from the novel of the same name which was written in 1990 by Tim Winton. Characters: Styles Theoretical Approaches: The style of the play is contemporary realism with elements of Magic realism.
The acting style is both presentational and representational. When the play is drawing on the realistic styles the Actors movements are realistic and unexaggerated but when this is broken and the elements of magic realism is introduced the actors or the set is sometimes stylized. Dramatic Structure: the play chronicles the life of two families over 20 years and is told from the perspective of a third person omniscient and can be seen as being told by in “the seconds it takes to die” of fish lamb and could be Spiritually omniscient, giving voice the social issues and minorities discussed in the play.
Therefore as the play opens with Fish’s brush with death and his returning to death is circular. Language and use of subtext: Australian colloquial language during the post WW2 era, helps strengthen the sense of how the play is Australian and its characters and their struggles are those of everyday average Australian families. This familiarity evoked in the audience aids the sympathy/empathy and strengthens the connection of the audience to the characters and their hardships.
This feeling of connection is sometimes broken by the characters breaking from the representational style to deliver a presentational monologue and is often delivered in the third person so as to break the illusion of real life and emphasize the important themes or issues that are occurring. The language of the play is very poetic and romanticizes Australia and its scenery. Dramatic tensions is evoked through the use of language and how the characters interact with each other but as the play progresses and the characters are explored on a more individual level the problems in each individuals life become a source of tension.
This greatly impacts the mood of the play as at times when the play runs high on emotion and is greatly reliant on the “in the moment” the mood can change to melancholic as a feeling of nostalgia and poignancy as the fourth wall is broken and the situations are viewed by the third person. Theme, Symbol and Metaphor: * The house can be seen as a metaphor for Australia as the crimes, which took place in the past against the Aboriginals, still affect the house and inhabitants of the house at the present time.
The evil, which is in the house, represents the moral and ethical wrongs of the white Australia policy. The house “breathes” this symbolizes the spirits which inhabit the house, and when Wax Harry is born the house “breathes its first painless breath in half a century”. * The Lambs and the Pickles names are symbolic. The Pickles and the lambs balance each other out in many ways and this is also ironically symbolic of an Australian meal of a lamb and pickle sandwich. The Lambs of god” are a hardworking, close-knit family with a strong sense of faith. Oriel has a strong belief in Miracles and God but as her life is plagued by tragedy her faith begins to wane. The lambs are seen as “God fearing People” and believe that all things happen for a reason. This is contrasts to the Pickles who believe in luck (Sam’s shifty shadow and lady luck). The Pickles represent bitter and solitary and impure (dolly’s adultery and drinking, Sam’s gambling. the contrast between the two as well as the union in the end of the two family when Quick and Rose marry and Dolly and Oriel dance two stark opposites; as well as the picnic at the river are symbolic of family as this is when all members of the family finally seem happy. * The Blackman is symbolic of wisdom, peace and a strong symbol of aboriginal culture’s belief in a sense of belonging. The Black man is almost tied to the house as he continues to follow the lives of the inhabitants of the house. The black mans influence on Quick is particularly evident in how he guides quick and teaches him the notion of just how important belonging is.
The Black man appears at the house every time the family or their relationship is threatened and appears almost like and angel to provide guidance to the family. * the importance of family is a theme is present in Cloudstreet. While the negative aspects of family and belonging are shown in the Aboriginal girls mistreatment and the tragic consequences of these actions (the suicide and death of the widow) the still affect the inhabitants of the house as the ghosts of the girls haunt the windowless room.
These negative spirits are evicted and reversed as the union of Rose and Quick as well as the birth of Wax Harry are positive events which counteract the negative and by Rose and Quick’s decision to remain at Cloudstreet reinforces the sense of belonging and that it is the people not the place that matter. * The river is very important in Cloudstreet as it is where many important events occur. It is where Fish first experiences death and then later goes to die. The scenes of magic realism in the boys “flying”, the Blackman Walking on the River and taking Quick home who is glowing.
And the river is where Rose and Quick form their union. The river represents a place where miracles and regeneration is possible. It is where the Lambs and the Pickles come together at the end. Sets/lighting: As the set for Cloudstreet must be versatile a set which is in the shape of a house and is on wheels so the set is convertible and economical as the rooms are interchangeable as they are back to back which easily allows the crew to change or perform any changes to the set while another scene is playing. he house so that the characters in the play are evident in the way there possessions reflect their personalities. The kitchen as Oriels domain there is many pictures on the walls of the family and off a church to show they are religious and the room is orderly except for the mismatching chairs which show their economic struggles; this contrasts to the living room where the radio is so Sam can keep track of his bets, the chairs are at odd angles facing away from each other and are distant to show the dysfunctional Pickles relationship.
This is also reflected in the bedrooms where Quick and Fishes room have picture frames and drawers for their possessions, as well as a photo of a monastery to symbolize their faith, Dolly’s room and Roses rooms are bare and have no drawers or tables for putting possessions to symbolize their lack of sense of belonging or being tied to one place.
All of the house has a similar colour scheme of neutral earthy colours which is characteristic of the 1940’s-60’s as well as all of the furniture is mismatched to show their working class status but that they are not poor and have all necessary items. The only room in the house which is not fitting to the colour scheme is the library which has a piano and chair where the widow died and the room has no windows, and the floor and walls are dark to symbolize the haunted and dreary atmosphere.
While the scenes in the house are on the house will be on stage in the forefront but will be moved off in river scenes where a blue chiffon curtain will drop and fairy lights will light up in waves to symbolize the movement of the water as well as the stars, there will be a scaffold plat form so the Black man can “walk on water”, as well as a suspended boat which gives the allusion that the boat is flying like described by fish and Quick.
The scenes which the family are on the land take place in from of the curtain and with full lights and a dark blue curtain will be behind the chiffon to hide the scaffolding but once the family leaves the boys go behind the curtain and the dark curtain drops and the lights dim and there will be a blue wash and the fairy lights will turn on so that these scenes contrast to the rest of the play which has almost no variation in lighting as it is in a realist style; but when the style changes the lighting will change.
Another scene which has a change in set and lighting is scene 100/101, when Rose, Quick, Fish and Wax Harry go camping, and during the day there will be a red/orange wash to show they are in the outback. But when the once again the elements of magic realism occur at night the disco ball will create the illusion of being in the sky as the lights are dimmed and there will be projections of silhouettes of the spirits of indigenous children on the drop screen .
Designer: Costumes: Quick and Rose From the late 1940’s to the early 1960’s there was very little change in style of clothing for women and men in the working class of Australia. The only real variation from one decade to another was perhaps the length of dresses and colour choices. while the upper and middle class saw some variation as dresses and men’s wear became more exuberant, the working class of Australia had very simple clothing.
Women wore dresses or skirts and blouses quite which were not too revealing or tight with floral or plain colour patterns and men wore trousers and shirts sometimes if a formal occasion blazers, tie and a hat usually in brown or black. Quick and Rose Lamb: Quick Lamb was a working class child and man unless he was working in his job as a policeman, for the majority of the play he would have worn simple trousers and a loose shirt. In contrast to rose his clothes while still representative of his families’ economic status, his clothes are pressed and clean, as his mother was very attentive and nurturing to her children when compared to Dolly.
Quick also while a solid student but never excellent at school did many mechanical/physical work before becoming a policeman, so he would wear either overalls, or a loose fitting brown shirt and trousers especially the latter when fishing and during everyday life. Rose will wear a simple dress with t-shirt sleeves an A-line to show her as not proactive to contrast with her mother. Her clothes in the beginning up until her union with Quick will be too loose plain coloured and styled because she is trying to hide her anorexia.
This dress is a loose fitting dress with a faded almost dirty look that contrasts to Quick’s childhood wardrobe as it symbolizes the lack of a mother figure to tend to the house keeping tasks such as washing or pressing. As seen in the following photo as rose grew older her style changed as she began to try and fit in the upper class and after her union with quick she began to release her responsibilities to her family and as a result her eating disorder was no longer as needed coping mechanism; this is reflected in her clothing as she is better groomed and wears an appropriate size.