Saturday, May 26, 2012

Play: Our Country's Good

Another exemplary play put on by the Cut Glass Theatre! The play Our Country's Good written by playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker has threaded hope through her 10 collected plays, including this play. Our Country's Good is a play satirizing the first convict settlement on Australia's burning and bleak shores in 1788. The fictionalized story is of the convicts in the settlement who are to put on a play, which is felt to develop the humanity of their criminal souls and for the officers and guards to also dig within themselves for behaving with human ethos. This historical play is saturated with social realism toward rehabilitating the socially oppressed and nurturing the poverty of altruism among the officers in the settlement. The mood in the colony is one of exploiting and abusing power; the criminals (most who are there for petty thefts which was usually an act for survival) are brutalized, debased and even one is to be hung for perceived theivery. Some of the convicts agree to put on the play, the officers are against it, people go mad and a hanging of a convict cast member is scheduled. The play is threatened and when the officer in charge of organizing it and training the "actors" is ready to call quits, the members realize that the play has made them feel a sense of delight and given them a second chance for some kind of success on the empty Australian land. The play Our Country's Good concludes with the convicts going out to begin acting the play they have put together for the entire convict community. Only the preface to the play is heard, but it is a preface stating that all men (and women) are important and can claim the hope of a new beginning ....

The captain of the ship figuratively 'bound' by ontraining wraiths and spirits. Gloom threatens the first convict settlement even before the arrival of the convicts.
An officer and one of the convicts - her role was never clear hinting at what (if any) crime she had done, but she clearly did not desire to be in Australia and was forever yearing for something to fill the dread loneliness of whatever it was that haunted her.
An assignation of a captain and convict ... driven by loneliness and distance from more 'attractive and compatible' prospects. 

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