BLACK DIGGERS by Tom Wright

(Studied in comparison to The Longest Memory by Fred Daguiar)

 

Over 1000 indigenous Australians served in WWI and yet their contribution remains almost unrecognised. This play is like pieces of an exploded bomb resurfacing from the mud; fragments and missing voices in an epic tale of triumph and disaster. It speaks of the struggle indigenous men faced trying to enlist in the war, of rare moments of racial equality on the battlefield, and of our post-war disregard for our Black Diggers. 

The First World War and the formation of our concept of our national identity are closely interwoven. Informed by indigenous actors and cultural specialists we will explore how the play is riddled with symbols that we might otherwise miss; symbols that point to an ongoing war fought by indigenous Australians for recognition.

The Longest Memory is a brutal portrayal of American slavery. As an historical context in which oppression has been voiced and acknowledged it offers parallels that makes it easier to see and accept what has been and still is happening in our own backyard.

The sounds of Australia. Gunfire!

Prices

$17 per student (minimum total fee $1700)

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THE CRUCIBLE by Arthur Miller

(Studied in comparison to Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks)

Both of these texts give us a portrait of what happens behind the scenes in a small town gripped by hysteria and fear of infiltration by an invisible enemy. They explore phenomena of the “Witch Hunt”; superstition, mob violence, the venting of political and personal grudges and scapegoating (more often than not of women). When we think that Miller wrote The Crucible as a response to the metaphoric witch hunts of the 1950’s McCarthy trials in the USA it begs the question: “who are our perceived witches in today’s world?”

In The Crucible we investigate these questions using a variety of interpretations of the characters of Abigail, John and Elizabeth Proctor, and their relationships. Where The Crucible seems to attribute blame to the women and the hero’s journey is aligned with Proctors redemption comparison to the Year of Wonders offers insight to the power dynamics in play.

Because it is my face, and it is yours

Prices

 $16 per student (minimum total fee $1600)

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PHOTOGRAPH 51 by Anna Ziegler

(Studied in comparison to The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood)

Various feminist movements comment that history is really HIS-story; the stories of men told at the expense of the female voice.

If Homer’s Odyssey can be thought of as the father of all stories, Atwood’s Penelopiad weaves a new archetypal womens’ tale. Atwood has been a powerful force in writing the female voice and has undoubtedly been an inspiration to Ziegler in her own efforts to tell the stories of contemporary women. Photograph 51 rewrites the story of DNA’s discovery, conventionally attributed to James Watson and Francis Crick, highlighting the role of Rosalind Franklin.

Franklin and Penelope are not the same archetypal woman but despite being thousands of years apart, there are frightening common threads of sexism that only become obvious when we continue the project of telling HER-stories.

Prices

 $16 per student (minimum total fee $1600)

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