The Shoe-Horn Sonata by John Misto has five chief subjects or concerns. They are ; History and Memory. Power and Control. Heroism and Relationships and War and Atrocities. John Misto explores all these thoughts while stating the narrative of Bridie and Shelia’s reunion 50 old ages after they last saw each other.
The drama is about the histories of the adult females and the nurses that were confined of the Japanese during World War Two ; their single histories and joint agony. The narratives of these adult females were ne’er made functionary and there is no authorities acknowledgment of their predicament and few. if any. functionary records. These painful memories are non portion of any ?official’ history and this is made clear in the drama. “The British didn’t want anyone to cognize about us. They’d have lost prestige if people found out how adult females of the Empire had lived in the war. So for the interest for King and Country. they burned out journals. Every last 1. ” Shelia. Scene Thirteen.
Misto makes it clear in the class of the drama that the memories of the adult females are accurate. The unwritten narratives from these fictional characters have juxtaposed over them the factual images to corroborate and generalize the narratives of the adult females. The ocular images of the thin. hungering people are really strong and clear to an audience. for illustration. Scene Seven opens with a exposure of some adult females POW’s ? “emaciated. Haggard and impoverished” .
This is shown while Bridie explains how thin Sheila and herself got while at the Nipponese cantonments. “The lightest I got was precisely five rock ” The ocular images show precisely what the adult females are speaking about and add to the sense of theater around the drama. They heighten the audience’s apprehension of the outrageousness of the issue.
There is usage of background sounds throughout the drama. for illustration in Scene Five when Bridie explains what happened on Radji Beach on Banka Island there is “sounds of machine gun fire and calls of adult females on the soundtrack” . The dues ex machine consequence of these amplified sounds further high spots the subject of memories and history. associating both the action and the memories of the two adult females on phase.
The Shoe-Horn Sonata explores power relationships at a figure of degrees. The most obvious power drama on phase occurs between the interviewer and the adult females he is questioning. This power drama has an equivocal minute in which the adult females are unsure as whether Rick has overheard a ?private’ conversation in Scene Ten. This is besides explained in the phase waies: “Bridie and Shelia look up. startled. Then they both realise they are have oning little mikes. They both wonder whether every word has been overheard ” Rick besides has the power to take what inquiries to inquire. and what to redact out of his documental movie.
On another degree we can see the function of power between the prison guards and captives. The guards abuse their power physically. sexually and emotionally and many seemed to bask the hurting they inflicted. Lipstick Larry’s remark in Scene Eight. “Plenty of room in the cemetery for her ” is typical of the inhuman treatment the guard’s exhibit. The captives had small pick but to collaborate and be humiliated and abused. this in bend had a big physiological consequence on both adult females.
This is shown when Shelia explains that she still has incubuss about Lipstick Larry in Scene Ten “ [ haunted ] Every dark when I fall asleep. Lipstick Larry’s waiting. He calls to me and I go to him ? and no 1 can alter that. Not even you. ”
The Japanese dominated the adult females in every facet ; they even made them bow to the Nipponese flag every forenoon. In Scene Nine. the two characters are reminded of this power by the presence of the Nipponese flag that is being projected on the back screen. It doesn’t move and dominates the phase ; a go oning reminder of how the adult females lived their lives in the cantonment and the power and control that continues to impact them. This emphasises to the audience merely how atrocious the cantonments truly were for the adult females and how they continue to impact them today. 50 old ages on.
Misto’s drama revolves around the heroic workss and relationships that are up held by the adult females during the war. The heroic workss were Acts of the Apostless of physical bravery of the highest order. For Sheila. the supreme forfeit of selling her organic structure to the Japanese in order to obtain the necessary drugs for her friend’s endurance is all the more affecting as we understand the cultural and
societal background that she had come from.
Misto focuses on the ?unsung’ hero’s of the war. for illustration the Australia nurse that washed the bed pans of the adult females on the manner to Belalau. “It was the bravest act I have of all time seen. She didn’t acquire a decoration for it but all of us loved for of that ” ( Sheila ) The narratives of the two adult females are spread outing the conventional position of gallantry to include Acts of the Apostless of forfeit beyond simple physical bravery.
The Shoe-Horn Sonata shows clearly that relationships are able to last the toughest of times. The relationship of Bridie and Shelia survives non merely the horror of the captive of war cantonments but besides the hurting of their reunion decennaries after the war. Misto uses a assortment of theatrical techniques to convey this relationship to the audience and show that endurance and growing are characteristics of the relationship.
Misto gives grounds of how tough times were in the cantonments with a combination of duologue and screen images being used to exemplify what had happened to these people. for illustration. the slides of the adult females POW’s at the unfastened of Scene Seven. These slides portray the starvation organic structures. unsmooth conditions and ferociousness yet through all this the relationship gets stronger.
The music played throughout the drama symbolises the phase at which Bridie and Sheila’s relationship is. For illustration. Scene Ten closes with Anne Shelton’s “I’ll walk alone” exposing to the audience that at this point in the drama Bridie and Sheila’s relationship is at its most delicate point because the truth about Sheila’s forfeit has merely been revealed.
The drama highlights the horrors of war peculiarly for adult females and civilians. The flagitious manner in which human existences dainty fellow human existences in a wartime state of affairs is non restricted to the Japanese. but seen to be cardinal to war itself. The atrociousnesss are seen to hold affected both women’s lives of all time after. For illustration Bridie’s fright of the Nipponese people in David Jones.
What is peculiarly important for these adult females is the demand to ?keep smiling’ ( Scene Nine ) and to quash the memories. For these adult females the memories of the atrociousnesss are tinged with guilt and shame. In some respects this sum to an even worse atrociousness to blight the lives of these adult females after the war.
The temper used by Misto in the drama. derives non merely from the manner in which the adult females used the power of the human spirit to laugh at hardship. but besides from the manner in which the dramatist has juxtaposed those minutes of relation of amusing events with the horrors of the memories of the world. The light and dark in this drama allows us to be both horror-stricken and amused. As in any great calamity. the amusing allows non merely alleviation from the hurting. but help us to oppugn the grounds for the horror.
John Misto believes that the adult females victims of this licking of the British deserve to hold their narratives told and their agonies recognised by a broad audience. Having talked to ?real survivors’ he wrote the drama in the hope that more people would be exposed to their agony and above all to their bravery.
The duologue. music. the sound effects and the jutting images work together to determine the audiences response and to state the powerful narrative of the women’s memories. natural exposure. strong relationships and gallantry.