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Emerald City, it would appear, is the confession of a successful scriptwriter and his literary wife as they encounter the flashpoints of Sydney and compete for a harbour view. It extends to become a satirical portrait of a materialistic, frivolous city in which the sensitive and talented find themselves lonely, unappreciated and finally seduced by the superficial attractions and ostentatious wealth.
What attitudes does Williamson present about Australians in the play?
For example their attitudes in regards to: Work, ethics of people in positions of authority, masculinity, the role of women, marriage and fidelity and racism.
David Williamson s play the Emerald City is about a scriptwriter, Colin Rogers, who has relocated his family to Sydney, the Emerald City for those seeking success and money. Colin tries to come to grips with what he wants to write about and what society wants him to write about. His scripts never do as well as he expects because society only wants films with blood, guts, sex and escapism. Emerald City sees Colin write the way he wants to and then begin to unsuccessfully write the way society wants him to write. Finally he accepts his own ideals rather than society s and as a result will never be as rich as he would like to be.
The play was very enjoyable as it allowed the reader to think about the society in which he lives. Sydney is a beautiful city. Its harbour is sparkling blue and very attractive to look at. To the reader it is not cold, hard and green. Sydney can be whatever we want it to be everyone comes here along their yellow brick roads looking for answers to their problems and all they find are the demons within themselves . Colin isn t as intelligent as he thinks he is. To be a good writer you not only have to write well but have a good business head. Colin did not have a good business head and this is one of the reasons of his lack of success.
Colin is married and has children. If he wants to support them he has to succeed in business. His wife Kate knows he is a good writer and accepts his limitations. Colin is not the greatest husband or father. He has no idea whether his kids are at home or not Wasn t she here last weekend? when discussing his daughter. That s terrible, she s only thirteen
Fifteen, but it is still a worry Kate replies. Kate says, I am tired of organising this family Colin. You re too obsessed to even do your share, and I m starting to feel very trapped . Colin feels he contributes to the family s needs by doing the shopping however he simply follows Kate s shopping list. I pin a series of lists headed butcher , greengrocer and delicatessen to your jumper which you manage to leave at the right shop and which you often remember to collect. I m the one who does all the thinking Kate claims. In the reader s and his wife s view he is not the new age guy he may think he is. Kate works full-time, runs the house and looks after the kids. She says to Colin You
can go to the schools and hear the bad news next time! I m sick to death of organising this menagerie. I ve got problems of my own . Kate is a publisher. She is not the boss of a publishing firm so she does not have to cater to all the outside influences that effect the firm. She can still be idealistic, as she is not privy to what goes on in giving her, her wage. However she does get a promotion and realises that if the company is to survive she has to balance her ideals with what it is that brings in the money. She recognises there is no point in having ideals if there is no money to publish some of them. However she feels guilty when she turns a good book into a film she doesn t like. Kate also goes behind Mike s back and has an affair with her boss when overseas. It is also quite ironic that Colin gets tempted by Helen, Mike s girlfriend, but refuses to proceed with her for the sake of his own marriage.
Helen is the only strong character in the play. Mike sees females as being attractive and doing the household labour and regards Helen in the same way, She looks good. Wears nice clothes, doesn t screech at you like a white cockatoo. Funny, Has the occasional tantrum and she s so sexy it s dangerous . In reality, not only is Helen stunning, she is also intelligent and doesn t strive to be someone she isn t. She can spontaneously contribute to the conversation, Shakespeare was an artist who made money………..He owned five houses. He died a wealthy man and she knows when to stop Mike, I m really moved, and I am, believe me, but I d much rather be living here with you, than sitting in a waterfront, while you re in intensive care . Mike tries to demonstrate his masculinity my making films that are action-packed and full of violence. He drives a fancy sports car, lives in waterfrontage home and orders his female around. He doesn t know how to write a proper script but he does know how to make money. He lives on a material level and is constantly striving for that little bit more money even if he dies through the stress of trying to achieve it.
Sydney is a city where things can happen. It can set the scene and provide the backdrop but it is up to the characters to provide the action. Sydney is not a frivolous city in which the sensitive and the talented find themselves, lonely, unappreciated and finally seduced by the superficial attractions and ostentatious wealth, Sydney is a place where if people are intelligent enough, they can succeed. Colin, Kate and Mike are not able to balance their ideals with society. David Williamson is a rich man, who is able portray an attitude that is idealistic. However for those people who want to succeed, their own ideals may have to be balanced with the reality of the situation.
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