Performance reflects the performance style, dramatic techniques and conventions, conveys ideas and develops a response from the audience, and reflects the historical and social background. A Beautiful Life by Michael Futcher and Helen Howard is a deliberate and artificial construction based on a number of stories of real life. The play is a dramatic theatrical exploration of the issues suronding Australian society and multiculturalism. Using an Innovative approach to convey and construct these issues an array of different dramatic forms and techniques are used. My group performance has taken theses techniques/conventions to engage an audience and reflect on the styles, techniques and convention A Beautiful Life explores to depict the “epic human tale of a little man against forces much lager then himself.”
A Beautiful Life is the story of the dramatized evens of an Iranian refuge musician and his family; the fictitious character of Hamid’s experiences in gaol in Iran where he is tortured and forced to witness human rights abuse before making a dramatic escape to Australia in the 1980’s where the hardships of his previous life follow him to a protest outside the Iranian Embassy in Canberra. Again he is arrested for his passionate act of protest which leads to misunderstanding and hostile charges of terrorism. His Subsequent trial takes us on a heart wrenching journey of his families many horrific and powerful experiences he has been faced with throughout his lifetime so he can now have what he calls ‘a beautiful life’.
Interweaved with this story is the account of the Iranian refugee raid on the Iranian Embassy in Canberra as 4/3/1992, an aftermath 500 Mujahidin freedom fighters slaughtered by Iran’s governing regime. The Founders of Matrix Theatre Company Michael Futcher and Helen Howard have merged these two gripping stories to create a compelling story full of prejudice, injustice and brutality.
On April 6th 1992 a raid on the Iranian Embassy in Canberra was staged in response to the reported hundreds of killings of the Mujahidin freedom fighters. Those who participated in the event were labelled terrorists and faced the danger of being deported back to the very country they despised simply because officials failed to understand the cause for these protestor’s passionate actions.
The MeK is an organization for the liberation of Iran, working towards overthrowing Ayotollah Khmeini’s (Iranian religious leader, scholar, politician, and the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution) and replacing him with their own secular government system. The MeK is the dominant member of the political Coalition of Iranian opposition groups known as the national council of Resistance in Iran and considers itself to be a government in exile. The organization in run by a woman named Maryam Rajavi and her husband and their objective is to create a secularist government which supports gender equality, political pluralism and the separation of church and state. These aspirations all deemed illegal in the current regime, the punishment being death if one was to be found being associated with any part of what the MeK stands for.
On April 6th 1992 there was a delinquent impression of those who protested against the murders of these people in their homeland from the Autralian community because they could not comprehension or understand the situation, therefore labelling the protest an act of terrorism. Our play exemplifies the predicament and hardship these refugees faced in order to come to Australia, the protest at the Iranian Embassy and the trial of those accused of terrorism and the destitution of their homeland as portrayed in A Beautiful Life.
A Beautiful Life like our play conveys the ideas of prejudice, injustice and brutality through a variety of dramatic forms and techniques, one of these techniques being the language barriers between Hamid and Jhila, Stephanie and Brendan and the Australian public. Hamid and Jhila’s inability to speak Fluent English causes a barrier between themselves and the Australia public. Being unable to articulate themselves causes them turmoil as they are unable to justify themselves and help others to understand their actions when they are arrested for displaying acts of terrorism. An example of this is in Scene 2 of our play, Hamid uses the words ‘madness’ when he means anger, which causes Brendan to think he is insane. Another example in the same scene also shows two Australian’s in Iran who are unable to effectively communicate with some Iranian Guards.
They say “We cant understand you, speak English please”. As a result of this Language barrier the two Australian’s are Arrested and taken for questioning. This technique displays the virtuality of language to the play. It conveys the many problems and misinterpretations such a language barrier may cause, and hence lead to creating prejudice. In comparison to this we have Amir who comes from both worlds and is the narrator of the story. He gives us insight into both societies and is a bridge between the two worlds. A deliberate technique the composers have used to convey both sides of the story in way audiences can understand and empathise with.