A Beautiful Life Play Analysis

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Australian plays explore the lives of people marginalised by social context and environment. Discuss this statement with reference to the staging of the characters and their environments. Throughout history, and most prominently in contemporary Australian theatre, plays and dramatic performances have been influenced by, or present societal issues. Australian theatre has transformed into a medium through which marginalised and outspoken people in society are given voice. Jenny Kemp’s impressionistic surrealist play, ‘Still Angela’, and Michael Futcher and Helen Howard’s moving play, ‘A Beautiful Life’, are both excellent examples of touching Australian plays which explore the lives of people marginalised by social context and environment.…show more content…
‘A Beautiful Life’ covers the period when 5000 Mujahedin freedom fighters were killed by Iran’s governing regime and the protest outside the Iranian Embassy in Canberra in 1992. Fictitious characters; Hamid and his family, their problems, and struggles as refugees, and their lives as Australians are explored. The performance style of the play cuts forward and back in time, which for our in-class assessment, my group. We cut between a setting of Amir, Hamid and Jhila explaining their story to Brendan, to actually acting it out: “We weren’t just let in like you said… [Swap to Iran setting – street soundscape music] See, we’re sitting in this park in Tehran”. ‘A Beautiful Life’ ultimately aims to challenge the audience with the issues of racial marginalisation, through the emotive narrative, and the non-linear structure of the plotline. The structure of the plotline allows for theatrical playfulness in many of the scenes, which my group did employ. We were one of the only groups to have a comedic edge to our piece. Amir says: “Everyone watched as Dad single-handedly pushed the car”, to which I (Hamid) put my scarf around my back as a cape, and stick a hand out like superman. Through this simple action, a representation of the holistically common fatherly idolization is portrayed, to highlight the similarities between the refugee, and the Australian. In our piece the character of Amir is used as a humorous yet compassionate narrator, with only a desire to tell us his story. ‘A Beautiful Life’ ultimately exposes and challenges the contemporary Australian paradigm of assuming negatively towards Middle Eastern refugees, through the simple humanisation of the characters seen within the play, and

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