A150 The Island Flashcards Preview

Block 1 Framing the empire A340 The Roman Empire > A150 The Island > Flashcards

Flashcards in A150 The Island Deck (21):
0

Exam Strategy

Need to prepare :

A brief statement about authority

A brief statement about The Island

A list of characters & their ‘authority’ – on the day, you can hail
whoever appears as an old chum!

These will inform all your work on the play.

1

Strategy II

Authority

The Island

The characters and THEIR authority

2

Exam example - Brief description of AUTHORITY

Authority is broadly defined as the power to influence the ideas and actions of others and exists in writers and in their works. Works which endure because they are reognised to have this authority are referred to as 'canonical' and their writer acquires authoritative status.

A Greek play by Sophocles, a Foundation text of European Theatre - Battersby E 2004.

3

Authority II

Based on things that actually happened

Freedom from oppression and justice genres

Canonical status for the writer - major canon - classics

The authority of God and justice over the unfair apartheid system

Authority of Antigone - foundation work, many performances, Island becomes this also

4

Authority Exam Example

Authority is broadly defined as the power to influence the ideas and actions of others and exists in writers and in their works. Works which endure because they are reognised to have this authority are referred to as 'canonical' and their writer acquires authoritative status. Fugard, a playwright with such status, elected to adapt Sophocles Antigone, a play dating from the beginnings of Western culture which has endured both because of the power of Sophocles' writing and the continuing relevance of its themes, the relationship between the political and the personal, between reason and belief. Antigone's actions, based on belief in the law of the Gods and on her personal desire to see her brother, who had gone against the state, nevertheless given a decent burial, conflicts with the edicts of her uncle, Creon, ruler of Thebes who tries to maintain it is the law of the state, not of Gods, which ought to prevail, a clear conflict about what 'authority' should prevail.

Dealing with political prisoners on Robben Island, Fugard uses a perfomance of part of Antigone to demonstrate the continuing relevance of Sophocles' ideas, the prisoners' principled reistance to an unjust system resulting in their incarceration. In this extract... .describe

5

Exam Example - Brief Statement About the a Island

The apartheid-era drama, inspired by real conditions, is set in an unnamed prison clearly based on South Africa's notorious Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held for twenty-seven years. It focuses on two cellmates, one whose successful appeal means that his release draws near and one who must remain in prison for many years to come.

It is a political play that draws on a classical canonical text for it's authority - Sophocles' Antigone and the known suffering of the ANC detainees

The Island has become a canonical modern play – as arguably it has – it is because it fuses its basis in Greek tragedy with a wider concern for individual identity in the conflict between private and public
morality.”

The play draws parallels between Antigone's situation and the situation of black political prisoners, the testing of their relationship between the political and the personal, between reason and belief

They spend their days at futile physical labor and nights rehearsing in their cell for a performance of Sophocles' Antigone in front of the other prisoners.

Tensions arise as the performance approaches, especially when one of the prisoners learns that he has won an early release and the men's deep friendship is tested. The Island bears testament to the resiliency of the human heart.

Dealing with political prisoners on Robben Island, Fugard uses a perfomance of part of Antigone to demonstrate the continuing relevance of Sophocles' ideas, the prisoners' principled reistance to an unjust system resulting in their incarceration.

6

The Island II

Political play from the apartheid era, based on a classical canonical text

One prisoner goes one stays

Principled resistance to the racial discrimination and tyranny of apartheid

Draws parallels between Antigone's plight and that of black political prisoners

Resilience of friendship and the human heart to endure

7

Exam Example - A list of characters and their authority

John/Creon - a suffering prisoner, whose crime was to be member of a banned political organisation. The dominant and guiding character of the two who also plays the leading character, Creon, in the play the figure of authority who will enforce the law regardless of its perceived (by Antigone, Tiresius and Haemon and others) unfairness. He speaks as Creon but is here used to epitomise the authority of the Apartheid state, the agent of real injustice and their incarceration.


Winston/Antigone - A suffering prisoner whose crime was to burn his hated passbook, issued under the People's Registration Act of 1949 in front of the the agents of Apartheid authority, the police. The second and to a certain extent, led character (by John) he plays Antigone in the play but whilst not an authoritative character in the play, assumes a greater and more moral authority by standing for justice and the freedom of the individual to do the morally right thing with respect to family, public and religious morality. He asserts the authority of God, justice and fairness over the draconian and for him unfair decrees of The State.

Hodoshe - a symbol of real authority within the Island, an unseen personification of The State referred to only verbally or by the sound of a prison whistle. A sadistic character who can dispense physical and mental punishment at whim. His name Hodoshe, is one of utter contempt given to him by inmates, Hodoshe being the green carrion corpse fly that lives off the dead, this being the state that John and Winston now feel they are in, physically alive, but dead to the world outside and prey, mentally and to an extent physically, to Hodoshe's fancy.

8

What sort of play?

What is Apartheid?

ANC?

Political play that draws on a classical canonical text for it's authority - Sophocles' Antigone and the known suffering of the ANC detainees

A Dutch/English word meaning 'apartness', emerges 1930 becomes a law in 1949 - The Population Registration Act where racial groups can/can't live sectors for white, black, Asian and coloureds (mixed race)

Emerges 1912, Mandela released 1990, 1st Black President

9

Antigone, When?


Authority

441 BC Athens, - 5th Century BCE

Apart from Sophocles Antigone which is a Foundation text of European theatre, the modern play's language is mixed representing all the cultures in conflict - Although the play is in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa words are spoken too. Authority comes also from the fact that the men who played the parts (and the play was based on real characters) suffered the pain. It is also a play based on freedom from oppression and justice genres e.g. A tale of two cities, Spartacus, the count of monte christo, “The Island has become a canonical modern play – as arguably it has – it is because it fuses its basis in Greek tragedy with a wider concern for individual identity in the conflict between private and public
morality.”

10

What and who?

A Greek play by Sophocles, a Foundation text of European Theatre - Battersby E 2004. King Creon of Thebes - refuses to bury Antigone's brother Polyneices who was on the losing side of a civil war but will bury his brother Eteocles. Ismene, Antigone's sister is fearful of disobeying but will die to support her sister. Haemon, Creon's son and Antigone's fiancé tries to convince Creon not to sentence to death Antigone for wanting to bury Polyneices but is refused. Tiresias the blind poet convinces Creon to change his mind, too late. Antigone has hanged herself, Haemon has stabbed himself, Eurydice commits suicide in grief over Haemon and curses Creon, who is now a broken man due to his stubbornness

11

What is The Island?

What is its story?

The Island is a play devised by Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona. The John and Winston of the play, it is st in Robben Island.

The apartheid-era drama, inspired by a true story, is set in an unnamed prison clearly based on South Africa's notorious Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held for twenty-seven years. It focuses on two cellmates, one whose successful appeal means that his release draws near and one who must remain in prison for many years to come.

12

Why are they there?

John has been imprisoned for belonging to a banned organization.
Winston, we find out later was imprisoned for burning his passbook in front of the police. This was a serious crime, as the passbook was used to segregate and control the South African people.

Hodoshe, an unseen character: he is referred to and represented by the sound of a prison whistle. He is a symbolic of the apartheid state and racist rule.'

13

What do the characters John (Creon) and Winston (Antigone) do?

They spend their days at futile physical labor and nights rehearsing in their cell for a performance of Sophocles' Antigone in front of the other prisoners. One takes the part of Antigone, who defies the laws of the state to bury her brother, and the other takes the part of her uncle Creon, who sentences her to die for her crime of conscience. The play draws parallels between Antigone's situation and the situation of black political prisoners. Tensions arise as the performance approaches, especially when one of the prisoners (John) learns that he has won an early release and the men's deep friendship is tested. The Island bears testament to the resiliency of the human heart.

14

Antigone's/Winston's words of resistance.

After John-as-Creon sentences Winston-as-Antigone to be walled up in a cave for having defied him and done her duty towards her dead brother, Winston pulls off Antigone's wig and yells ' Gods of Our Fathers! My Land! My Home! Time waits no longer. I go now to my living death, because I honoured those things to which honour belongs.' The final image is of John and Winston, chained together once more, running hard as the siren wails.

15

Comparison

The Island is a play devised by Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona.

The apartheid-era drama, inspired by a true story, is set in an unnamed prison clearly based on South Africa's notorious Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held for twenty-seven years. It focuses on two cellmates, one whose successful appeal means that his release draws near and one who must remain in prison for many years to come. They spend their days at futile physical labor and nights rehearsing in their cell for a performance of Sophocles' Antigone in front of the other prisoners. One takes the part of Antigone, who defies the laws of the state to bury her brother, and the other takes the part of her uncle Creon, who sentences her to die for her crime of conscience. The play draws parallels between Antigone's situation and the situation of black political prisoners. Tensions arise as the performance approaches, especially when one of the prisoners learns that he has won an early release and the men's deep friendship is tested. The Island bears testament to the resiliency of the human heart.

16

When performed?

Hodoshe?

The play was first performed in Cape Town, at a theatre called The Space, in July 1973. In order to evade the draconian censorship in South Africa at the time (plays dealing with prison conditions, etc., were prohibited), the play premiered under the title, Die Hodoshe Span. It was next staged at the Royal Court Theatre in London, with John Kani and Winston Ntshona portraying John and Winston respectively.

“Hodoshe’, the white chief warder remains off-stage and invisible. In fact, the whole superstructure of state authority, as represented in the prison setting, is revealed to the audience only by indirect means”. “Hodoshe: the Afrikaans word for a carrion fly, but also the name of the chief warder.”

17

Antigone

Creon

Tiresias

Ismene

Haemon

Eurydice

Polyneices

Eteocles

Heroine -daughter of Oedipus

Creon -King of Thebes

Tireseas - blind poet and mystic

Ismene - Antigone's sister

Haemon - Son of Creon

Eurydice - Creon's wife

Polyneices - Antigone's brother

Etecoles - Antigone's brother

18

Exam example

Write about 200–300 words explaining how the following extract, from a text you have encountered in Book 1 of Voices and texts, relates to the theme of authority.

WINSTON. When Polynices died in battle, all that remained was the empty husk of his body. He could neither harm nor help any man again. What lay on the battlefield waiting for Hodoshe to turn rotten, belonged to God. You are only a man, Creon. Even as there are laws made by men, so too there are others that come from God. He watches my soul for a transgression even as your spies hide in the bush at night to see who is transgressing your laws. Guilty against God I will not be for any man on this earth. Even without your law, Creon, and the threat of death to whoever defied it, I know I must die. Because of your law and my defiance, that fate is now very near. So much the better. Your threat is nothing to me, Creon. But if I had let my mother’s son, a Son of the Land, lie there as food for the carrion fly, Hodoshe, my soul would never have known peace. Do you understand anything of what I am saying, Creon?

19

Son of the land

“Nyana we Sizwe: an ancient Xhosa rallying cry, used again at the end of Scene 3, meaning ‘Son of the Land!’ or ‘Brother!’.”

20

Dates

1912

1930

1949

1973

1990