Question 5: Discuss the dramatic technique in The Removalists.
Ans: David Williamson, an Australian dramatist, wrote The Removalists. It premiered at Melbourne’s Cafe La Mama in July 1971, with Williamson as the Removalist. The play’s major themes include violence, particularly domestic abuse, as well as the misuse of power and control. The tale is meant to represent a representation of Australian society in the 1970s.
In terms of dramatic style, The Removalists appears to be a standard realistic play. It is a classic two-act drama that employs realistic proscenium stage techniques. The physical venue in which they executed their production, according to John Bull, had a significant influence on the play’s impact. The performers were never more than five feet away from the audience, and they frequently appeared to be on the verge of colliding with the first row laps. He attributes this to the play’s unpredictable nature and built-in surprises.
The brutality may freeze viewers, causing them to recognise it for what it is: an abstract concept, but the shock of familiarity in terms of conversation and the reality referred to causes them to empathise with the concerns presented as well as the characters. This implies that, even if the violence serves as a distancing tactic, the identification ensures that the viewer is emotionally and psychologically immersed in the event. This appears to be a fusion of the realistic drama and the occurrence, which were popular in the 1960s and 1970s and included the spectator in the action immediately.
The action is made up of “a sequence of little, almost incidental events,” as McCallum puts it. (on page 347) This should serve as a reminder that Williamson’s plays are only ostensibly realistic. Williamson isn’t an Ibsen, and we don’t say that to disparage him; rather, we say it to emphasise his differences. What else do we laugh at in The Removalists but jokes and one-liners? This is directly from the revue, directly out from concert hall. This is a method that no self-respecting naturalistic dramatist would use. Williamson is uninterested in psychological characterization and is happy to experiment with tropes and representational figures. Character flaws are a reflection of the culture they live in, not of their history or their ancestors. As a result, the argument that the women’s parts aren’t well-developed or original has no bearing on the play’s worth or effect.
The action reversal towards the end of this play has been criticised. It’s frightening, but it’s also realistic. The criticism stems from the norms of well-crafted theatre, which has traditionally served as a medium for realism. While this play, like all of Williamson’s early works, is broadly realistic, it makes extensive use of stage naturalism norms as well as any other accessible convention to properly explore its issues. He is, for example, prepared to insert slides between Acts I and 11 that depict our ideal of a peaceful life.
As a result, he is unafraid to draw attention to the manufactured character of theatre. This is a compromise that no naturalistic/realistic author will accept. Williamson’s goal is to create a compelling and engaging play that will startle the audience, make them laugh, and make them think. And he’s extremely good at it.