What influenced him to write Ruby Moon? * Matt Cameron is an Australian playwright who is known for writing Absurdist play. He puts an absurdist lens on things and distorts the everyday. Cameron has a lot of recurring elements in his work. Some of these things are the use of doors, disturbing images, and the co-existence of comedy and dark moments. In his play Ruby Moon, Cameron holds up a lens to suburbia, presenting it as distorted and nightmare-ish. * Matt Cameron wrote Ruby Moon in response to a number of stories in Australia about children going missing.
The idea that children can just disappear and never return threatens us all as a universal issue and taps into our subconscious fear of the unknown. That fear of the unknown and sense of venerability we experience as a child is what Cameron wanted the audience to connect with. Cameron wrote Ruby Moon in the hope of reminding society of the fragility of life. Discuss form and style and the main conventions of the form *
The style of Ruby Moon is presentational and therefore makes no attempt to suggest that the audience is viewing life. More often than not, one thing will stand for another. The form of Ruby Moon is absurdism, a non-realistic form of theatre. Absurdism is based on the ideas of Existentialism, which is the belief that life is meaningless. Absurdist plays highlight the absurdity of life, shown through its conventions. Such as; no sense of time and place, unusual characters, meaningless/repetitive dialogue, strange occurrences and no resolution. Ruby Moon includes all of these absurdist conventions. For example Ray, throughout the whole play, repetitively asking Sylvie for a kiss which she never gives him, is one example of repetitive dialogue or actions.
The text has no resolution which is also an absurdist convention. Cameron decides not to give his audience a fairy tale happy ending as endings give comfort. Cameron wanted to scare his audience and make them feel disturbed about the dangers of society. Discuss the structure of the play * The structure of Ruby Moon is cyclical, disjointed and episodic. Ray and Sylvie replay themselves interviewing their neighbours as a routine in an effort to numb their grief. They cannot resolve Ruby’s disappearance and are stuck, however, the audience can see they must move in order to bury their grief.
It is episodic because it consists of a series of short scenes, each one with its own narrative and complication. The constant change of location creates a distorted narrative. The episodic structure allows time to shift from past to present, place to shift without set change, and for rhythm to rise and fall without losing the tension. Cameron’s structure thus relies on the audience to make connections between scenes. Answer dramaturgical research questions. 1. What aspects of cultural identity are present in the text? * Cultural identity is present in the text through the personality of the characters.
When deconstructing the characters within Ruby Moon it becomes evident that they cover the key forces in our society: religion, science, art, magic and the military. These features given to the characters make them specifically generic and therefore universal. The notion of community is highlighted in the text as a universal aspect of cultural identity. When looked at on a deeper level the audience can see that Cameron in fact explores the facet of a destroyed community, ruined by the secrets that exist within the street. The suburbs are where our families and securities are found.
Ruby Moon challenges the assumption that the neighbourhoods we live in are safe by reminding us how easily a child can be taken from one. 2. What aspects of historical identity are present in the text? * The text explores Cameron’s idea that there was once a better sense of community. When children could wander off up and down the street safely on their own. Modern day parents are a lot more protective of children and much more anxious about their safety than in the past. The neighbours in the play represent these fears and need to be performed in a way that creates and nightmare-ish presence.
Cameron’s surreal and frightening image of a suburban street makes the safe scary, suggesting that we are never safe and always in danger. Ruby Moon draws upon real-life headlines about missing children. Aspects of historical identity are evident in the form of the play-absurdism- which arose after the first world war when people were left with dissatisfaction with the old world values and beliefs. The world at this time was devoid of moral decency and humans were shown to be as monstrous as the world they lived in. Cameron touches upon the idea that today, society still lacks morals. 3.
What are the major themes? * Ruby Moon is about the overriding fear of our time and looks at the unease which lurks and hovers in society. Grief and loss- Ray and Sylvie and trapped by the horror of what has happened; their lives are frozen. They are unable to accept the reality of living without her and their constant searching is a way to numb their grief and sense of loss. Loss of innocence- Ruby stands for the symbolic ‘lost child’ that represents not just one child in particular, but all children, as well as adults who were children once themselves. Mistrust- People not seeing the world for what it is.
Having faith in someone/something or thinking they are good, when in fact they are not. 4. What ideas about society are being conveyed? * The idea that children can just disappear, be taken and never return says that we are never safe and danger is always lurking. It also constructs an image of a dishonest society. Cameron is foregrounding this as a universal issue. “…a missing child is such a universal tragedy with a primal impact. ”
The fact that this issue is universal and has such a primal impact suggests it is a much too common tragedy and thus presenting society as mistrusting. . In a staging of the text, what would you need to highlight to emphasise the cultural and historical essence of the play? * Matt Cameron uses theatrical techniques in Ruby Moon to construct a timeless and placeless setting. This is important in the staging of the text to highlight the message that we are never safe as being a universal issue that always has and always will exist. The nondescript furniture and props that could be found in any suburban house anywhere in the world, is important to create a placeless setting.
The absence of any super advanced technology or objects which would date the production needs to be recognised when creating a timeless setting. The timeless and placeless setting contributes to the idea that this issue of child abduction is dateless and happens all around the world. 6. How does your understanding of the context and conventions of the play influence your portrayal of the character? * Because the play is timeless/placeless, I used the context of which Matt Cameron wrote Ruby Moon to help my portrayal of Sylvie.
Cameron wrote the text at a time when headlines in the newspaper about missing children were slightly more common than usual. This issue becoming a common occurrence questions ones safety even in their places of security, making the safe scary. This helped my portrayal of Sylvie by knowing that she, as a member of society during this time, would not have been able to trust anyone with anything. Knowing the aspects of absurdism influenced my portrayal of Sylvie by highlighting the absurdity in my performance through the use of pauses, cyclical movements and rhythm, and how I worked around a single confined space. . As a director, how would you make the text relevant to a contemporary audience? *
Because Ruby Moon is described as timeless and placeless, it can be relevant to almost any type of audience, including a contemporary one. It touches upon a threatening topic which communicates to the audience the fear of the unknown, which still exists within our contemporary society. As a production manager, discuss the argument you would make to apply for a grant. What might be the ‘hook’ you will use to attract the funding?
As a production manager for Ruby Moon applying for a grant, I would argue that it is a production that is very relevant for today’s society as it raises issues that are constantly present world-wide. It thus, expands to an extremely wide range of ages and cultures as it looks at the universal issue of children being taken from our midst. It is highly educational for all audiences, especially children of a more venerable age as it positions them to become aware of the always present dangers within society, even where we least expect it.
As child abduction is increasing universally, it is a good production to show in the hope that people become more cautious and not so trusting of the unknown. * The hook I would use to attract the funding would be that it is an Australian play, written by an Australian playwright, uses Australian actors, and explores Australian identity issues. It therefore is highly built from Australian culture and is an excellent example of Australian theatre. Even though it is solely an Australian play, it is placeless and explores universal issues, thus targeting world-wide audiences.
How would you market Ruby Moon? * To promote Ruby Moon I would use several different ways to disseminate information to existing and potential customers about the production. I would send out leaflets to house letterboxes in the nearby suburbs because the text is about the dangers that take place there in your very neighbourhood. I would also put posters up locally in everyday places within the community such as schools, shopping centres and cafes to show that the play is targeted at everyday people who live within a community.
I would also place them around other theatre venues to attract people who enjoy watching theatre. * I would definitely use e-marketing to promote Ruby Moon due to increasingly rapid developments in technological communication. In the modern day society which we find ourselves in today, people rely on technology so advertising the production on the internet has the most potential for high levels of consumer reach and is the best way to disseminate information about it to really large numbers of people. It also doesn’t cost as much to distribute.