Australian theatre practitioners use various performance styles, techniques and dramatic conventions to help portray their ideas to their audiences and make them feel a particular way to the ideas presented in a play.
Without the use of these styles, techniques and conventions it wouldn’t be possible for the practitioners to emphasise their ideas. In the play ‘Ruby Moon’ Matt Cameron the playwright uses various techniques such as symbolism, transformational acting, cyclical and episodic dramatic structure and a fractured fairytale. Ruby Moon was written by Matt Cameron in 2003. It is a story about a well known tragedy.
In Flaming Tree Grove everything seems to be perfect.A young girl, Ruby Moon disappears after she sets off to her grandmothers. After parcels of mannequin doll parts arrive on Ruby Moons parents door step; Ray and Sylvie Moon. They walk up and down the street to question their neighbours to try and solve the mystery of their daughters’ disappearance. All we discover is that life behind the doors of suburbia isn’t quite right and the mystery of the missing child is never fully resolved.Matt Cameron wrote this play after he grew up in the suburbs of Melbourne as he states ‘precariously pleased with itself. ‘Neighbours dutifully waved but had no idea who each other really was or what went on over the fence, behind the curtains. ’ As Tess Brady responds to Matt Cameron’s work she says ‘Cameron holds a lens up to the ordinary and shows us how disturbing, how provocative it can be’.
‘Makes the safe frightening and if the safe is frightening where do we go to hide. ’ Symbolism plays a huge effect of the play and the way the audience may understand the ideas Matt Cameron is trying to convey.The knocks at the door (the wizard) I believe symbol the real, outside world trying to bring some normality to Ray and Sylvie’s lives.But the normality is portrayed as something scary. The knocks torment Sylvie the most particularly when Ray isn’t home ‘He knocked this morning when you left for work.
’ As Sylvie tries to grasp to the idea that her daughter is still with her. Sylvie sees the mannequin as if it was really Ruby ‘Oh, baby! Look at you! You’re soaked. Let’s get you out of those wet things. Get a towel Ray! Its okay, you’re safe now… Mummy’s here.’ Not only does Sylvie use this Mannequin to make her feel like the baby is still alive; it is possible that the packages sent of mannequin body arts, is the mother bringing in a new element into the sick game, trying to make sense of what has happened.
Through this play Matt Cameron uses transformational acting as a way to portray the idea that it is possible for Ray and Sylvie to be playing a sick game with each other trying to make sense of what happened. As Matt Cameron calls it ‘theatre magic’ Matt Cameron uses this technique that could only be used in theatre to have its full effect. So we can question the message he wants us to receive without having a resolution.It’s like Ray and Sylvie represent society and they want the truth at the same time don’t want the truth.
Do we really want to know the harsh truth of what happens behind closed doors. In Ruby Moon we don’t have a conclusion to what happened. The message conveyed through this is that we have no conclusion in our own lives, but we can find solace in fiction of a fairytale which is the sub-story in the play. As Sylvie states ‘I want to hear the story’. The play is episodic. Tension builds throughout each scene so that the audience can see the deeper mystery and bigger idea of grief.Although Ruby doesn’t exist on stage Matt uses the structure of the play so that Ruby still has a voice, as she is spoken about but never speaks.
Practitioners must explore techniques and dramatic conventions to be able to convey their ideas that they want to get across to their audiences. Without the use of techniques Matt Cameron wouldn’t be able to convey his ideas in Ruby Moon such as: holding onto hope that a missing child could still be alive, portraying that maybe it is all just a sick game, do we want to really know the truth and also Ruby is able to have a voice.This all helps the audience sum up the messages hidden in the play. In class I missed most of the workshops.
I was there though for the transformational acting. In one of them people from the class were chosen to stand up and act out a particular scenario until the girl said change and changed the students characters in that scenario. This workshop really showed how when one actor plays various roles in my mind I still took characteristics from each character and had a link between all the characters that the one actor/student played.In Ruby Moon this is what Matt Cameron calls ‘theatre magic’ because if you were to do the same thing on television it wouldn’t have the same effect.
When Ray and Sylvie replay each character from previous scenes when arguing this gives the idea that they are playing other characters making sense of what happened. The other workshop which I was a part of was sexual innuendo. We were given settings which we then had to come up with as many innuendos as possible. Our setting was a petrol station. I was the lady driving the car needing petrol while Melissa was the petrol man helping me as I did not know what I was doing.Lines used were things like.
‘do I just squeeze it like this’ *back forwards hand gestures* *then drops* ‘ oh no its going everywhere’. This gives the audience the impression that there is a sexual meaning behind it without actually saying anything obvious. Veronica Vale never actually says lets have sex? Instead she implies it. ‘You left his here last time..
. once more with feeling… who’s a naughty boy. ’ And ray also says ‘ shouldn’t we close the curtains..
. should we turn off the lights? ’ through this use of innuendo we can gather an idea that maybe Ray and Veronica did have a sexual relationship.