What is the role of violence and abuse in today’s society?
This is a theme that is relevant to today’s society and culture as we watch violence becoming a rising social problem. The play ‘Our Glass House’ is a prime example of abuse. The play was written by Evie Manning and Rhiannon White and explore the different ways abuse can take form; it follows both couples and a father/son dynamic. The show was created to engulf the audience into the chaos and detrimental effects that domestic abuse can have on people.
A play that paints an image of stereotypes and gender is ‘Stereotype High’ by Jeffrey Harr the piece follows a group of teenagers in high school, who have all been labeled with your typical categories; the jock, the geek, the thespian, etc. The play is effective in highlighting these and in the opening lines the characters state which category they each belong to. The interesting opening to the play is they all, in unison, say they wish to change these stereotypes and be something else.
Drugs and alcohol is an issue that tends to be an underlying theme of a play. However one play that is very bluntly about the addictions is the adaptation of ‘Trainspotting’ originally by Irvine Welsh and adapted by Harry Gibson. This play follows a group of men who are all addicted to heroin. The main character Renton goes through many fazes and eventually realizes this isn’t what he wants from life and tries to stop his addiction.
A piece that highlights abuse and violence is ‘The Letterbox’ by Anne Marie di Mambro. This poignant play follows Martha, a mother who has been beaten up and thrown out of her house to sleep in the close of the flats. The play opens with a young couple passing her and not even stopping to offer help; this is very true to life as many victims of domestic violence observe bystanders offering no help or support. Her young daughter Helen is on the other side of the door, and the audience never sees or hear her, we only know she is talking to her mother as Martha is responding. I think the play was very effective as it put Martha on one side where she was isolated with no one to help, and it made it look as though she was almost in her own world.
In my opinion, these are not only issues that come forward in theatre but also issues that we see in today’s society, stereotypes, gender-based violence or inequalities, drug and alcohol addictions, and violence and abuse, these are some of the issues that we can look to the theatre for a solution to as they mirror real life.