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Rainbows End

The play “Rainbow’s End” is a play that narrates the story of three Aboriginal women, Dolly the daughter, Nan Dear the grandmother, and Gladys, the mother to Dolly from Australia. Harrison’s work is a representation of the local peoples’ agony under the white rulers, who took their native land, forcing them into the shanties.

The significance of the title’ Rainbow’s End’.

The title of the ply is very important as it sets the mood and interest to the audience through suspense. Different features and items in the play relate to the title of the play.The end of a rainy season depicted by the rainbow can also represent the end of the peaceful and good life to the beginning of a strenuous life in the shanties full of discrimination. This kind of life is due to the invasion of the whites, who drove away the indigenous people and occupied their land. The rainbow normally signifies the end of a rainy period and in the play we can see the change in the cultural practices and the norms of the indigenous people. Dolly . Their beliefs are very strong, and the use of the rainbow has a great meaning in their culture and traditions, which many people have a big attachment to them. The other characters are Doll’s boyfriend, Errol, and the husband to Gladys, who does not appear on stage but the characters talk about him often.

The manifestation of the Australian Aboriginal Culture               

According to the play, the Aboriginal Australian was a multicultural community, in which some people believed in their traditions and others believed in modernity. For example, Nan Dear, the grandmother to Dolly believed Gladys, though uneducated ad a belief in the two cultures, the modern and the traditional culture, and bridged the gap between her daughter’s modern way of life and her mother, Nan Dear. On the other hand, the Aboriginal Australians lived in shanties and lacked the basic commodities, such as clean water, sanitation, social amenities, and good schools for their kids. There was racial segregation of people according to the places of origin as depicted in the ways in which the Aboriginal people struggled for acceptance in the community. The formal education is becoming popular to the people of Aboriginal Australia as seen by the way Doll studies hard and the way her mother struggles to study English language. Dolly had a white boyfriend and lived in the city showing that the Australian traditional culture was diminishing as people adopted the life of the white settlers. brings about the belief in the astronomy as depicted by the title of the play ‘Rainbow’s End by Harrison’. Colour is very important to the people as shown by its frequent by the playwright to represent various scenes and ideas. In the stage, different colours create an interesting atmosphere to represent the change from the traditions of the people and the modernized society. Some cultural values such as racism exposed, by the way, the Whites treated the indigenous people are awkward and should not exist in the modern society.

The significance of the settings and the stage directions

Australians live in sharks. The stage is big and open and contains non-realistic and contains some realistic elements to provide an atmosphere of reality and true living. The family’s house as depicted on the stage, especially the front part is the stage front, and the winglike structures as the other rooms, where the family dwells. and the mistreatment they receive from the foreigners, who invaded their land.. of the Aboriginal people of Australia. representation of the life in the concrete and modern houses. The move is the symbolic of the white interfering with the indigenous culture so that they change their way of life. The indigenous people could not acquire so much wealth and depended on recycling the little that they owned in their houses. The play costumes represented dressing in the late 1950s when an Aboriginalsent here different generations and transition to modernization in Australia. For example Nan Dear beliefs in the traditions and has seen different changes in the society, which she sees as progress. The other family members feel that they need to change and adopt the new way of life and Dolly demonstrate this by having the formal education, living in the city, and having a white boyfriend. Gladys does not oppose the way her daughter Dolly lives and even goes helps her to get employment in a bank.

The character who acts Nan’s role, Beryl Booth, does it so well since she is old and from the indigenous people and lived in the events of the play. She brings out the real character of Nan and thrives the audience with her mastery and acting skills. Gladys was a young and energetic woman, who was intelligent although she never went to school and had a different perception of the world as opposed to her mother, Nan. The character acted by Pauline Whyman was challenging though she brought it out very well revealing the strong character of Gladys. Gladys played the key role of being a mother to Dolly and represented the new generation and knows the rights of the Aboriginal. Gladys enrols to learn the English language and participates in the discussions on politics and development of the nation.

Stage Lighting

Lighting is an important part of any play as it brings out the true appearance of the themes. Light represents the mood and the atmosphere of the play setting, where the poor people suffer and live in shanties. In the cases where the stage had one or two speakers at the stage, light inform of rectangles played an important part in bringing out the themes. The coloured lights enhanced the disco scene full of dance, which was very captivating. The coloured lights also create a beautiful scene making the audience more vibrant and wanting to watch more. Whenever there was some speech the stage lit with a single spotlight creating a great scene of parliament with the audience as the attendees. Lights also played a part in bringing out some special thoughts of imagination from characters as they spoke. Dull colours in lighting can give an impression of some sadness, hunger or grieve while bright colours show some liveliness in the characters. The white colour may be the adoption of the changes in the behaviour and the norms of the local people after their freedom from the white domination and control. The colour brown is simply the old way of living by the Aboriginal Australian people, with all their beliefs and their cultural norms. The other lighting was on the main stage and illuminated the scenes and made it more captivating.

The significance of the techniques theatre semiotics

The narration techniques by Dolly create an interesting scene of romance between Dolly and Errol, who is white but has a different perspective of life. The romance issue is quite sensitive, especially on stage, but the characters brought it effectively and naturally. The white man loves Dolly and is determined to make the relation work by sacrificing and disregarding the white culture by courting a local woman. The play has a beautiful crafting demonstrating the writers capability to bring out societal issues into reality. The script The characters are quite organized and know their roles on the stage so as, not to disappoint the audience. One can only sit down and watch the beautiful scenes from the play and move with rhythms, especially during the dances in the disco scene with very good lighting.. The technique of using a single spotlight, during speeches, creates a good environment for the audience to listen and concentrate. A single spotlight is less destructive hence good for a scene that requires concentration and attention of the audience

This play is important as it brings out the struggle for the Aboriginal Australians’’ rights and the discrimination of the races during the 1950s and the 1960s.


The use of signs and symbols is very common in the play to bring out various meanings. For example, the use of the Rainbow as the title may denote the end of the era of the traditional culture of the Aboriginal Australians as demonstrated by Dolly, who has a relationship with a white man. The Doll’s boyfriend, Errol, represents the miIDle-class white man and a symbol of humility. The brown color on the stage represents the indigenous people and their land, which is away from the cities. The appearance of the white curtain, which covered the brown color represent the suppression of the indigenous culture to adoption of the white culture as the government forced the indigenous people to occupy concrete houses. The Whites wanted the local people to adopt their culture and leave their traditions considered outdated, something the indigenous people effused leading to conflicts. At the end of the play, there is the removal of the white curtain, a sign of freedom from oppression by the white, who took their land and belongings. The removal of the white curtain represents the beginning of a new way of life by the indigenous people with their freedom. The people will als have local leaders to govern them in the best way possible.




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