Michael Gow’s play Away is the story of three different Australian families who go on holiday for Christmas in the sixties. By going away each family is hoping to resolve their issues. Although Away is set some time ago the themes and issues explored in the play are still relevant to a modern day audience, even one of a non-Australian background. Shakespearean plays that were written many hundreds of years ago and are still understandable and relevant to people all over the world today.
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Away, like Shakespearean plays is non-naturalism, a feature of this being the non-changing set. Throughout the production of Away that I saw the set remains the same except for basic props such as suitcases and a table. White sand covered the floor and lights were shone on the sails to show the changes between scenes for the play. In the play Tom is compared to Chip Rafferty, a well-known Australian actor who died at age 62 in 1971. Younger people of today probably haven’t heard of him, but from watching the play and reading the script can safely assume that he was a famous actor.
What makes Away relevant to an audience of today or from a non-Australian background are the universal themes present in the play. As long as the audience can connect and empathise with a character or understand a theme in the play then it will be relevant to them. Some of the themes in the play include death/grief/loss, racism, class systems, and relationships.
The relationship between Gwen and Meg (mother and daughter) is quite strained during the play. Gwen is portrayed as a very uptight and stressed person, while Meg is in her late teens and has her own ideas about things. During Act Three Gwen and Meg begin arguing over Jim’s missing Christmas presents for everyone. The argument ends with Gwen saying how hard she tries to make things good for Meg, and Meg apologises.
I feel that I can connect to Meg, especially in the scene where she is arguing with her mother. After that