John Misto Distinctively Visual Essay

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An individual’s perspective on war is relentlessly being challenged and altered due to our subjective views of the texts that we read, predominantly through distinctively visual techniques. John Misto has successfully embedded the song rule Britannia and Jerusalem to help portray the one of the many ways the female’s prisoners of war utilises music as a ‘life support’ system in the camps. The playwright makes references to actual historical events with the use of many dramatic techniques working together to create a play allowing the audience to engage with the characters. With such forms of various theatrical and language technique such as projected images, lights, music and irony help portray the distinctively visual stories of survival and hope. At the conclusion of Act 1 Scene 4, the patriotic English song Jerusalem reaches a crescendo, juxtaposed on the screen behind Sheila and Bridie. The hymn Sheila sang is about the greatness of England. This creates an ironic effect of the patriotic and triumphal song in reference to the fall of the British Empire and the capturing of the citizens by the Japanese. It is also a religious song, which highlights the importance of hope and survival. The song playing a significant role as Sheila is conveyed as a religious person at the beginning of the play. Visual image of a young Shelia is created in the mind of the responder as we hear the song. A theatrical technique, projected image of Australian and British female prisoners dressed in Act 1, Scene 6, portrays their filthy environment during their imprisonment. Dim lighting on the empty set to create a foreboding atmosphere and draw attention to Bridie as she enters the set to promote engagement with the audience reinforces this scene. This distinctive device allows the audience to see Misto’s perspective of the hope and survival of the female prisoners of war as songs

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