Shoe-Horn Sonata and Changi – Distinctly Visual Extended Response

The distinctly visual is able to shape perception and meaning of concerns and experiences within the texts Shoe-Horn Sonata and Changi: ‘Seeing is believing’. The use of techniques in both texts allows the audience to understand the effects of war on the individual and the impact of the experiences encountered. The Shoe-Horn Sonata is a play by John Misto that gives an insight into two lives of two female prisoners of war in World War 2. The play explores terrible events associated with prisoners of war and follows the friendship of the two women Bridie and Sheila.
Truth, honestly and candour is the central idea of the play. The idea of truth, telling the truth and recognising the truth is located in the interrelationship between the two women during the war. An example of this is when Sheila reveals her secret of ‘giving herself up to a Jap’ to save Bridie which has been kept hidden since the war. In the scene, Misto uses a combination of techniques such as lighting, music and sound to convey emotions from the audience as Sheila tells her story.
The scene concludes with both characters isolating in separate spotlights and the music plays to the audience as the scene ends with tension and suspense. This then shapes the perception and meaning of concerns and experiences to make the audience think of the interrelationship between the two women and the heroic deeds of women during the war. Another technique which allows the audience to understand the effects of war and how it shapes perception and meaning of concerns and experiences is the use of visuals such as projected images.

These projected images are use throughout the play to reinforce the ideas being presented and to convey to the audience a sense of reality. An example would be when projected images of ships burning in Singapore Harbour, the Japanese invasion and the horrors of war for women and civilians. This then highlights the memories of war and the atrocious ways during the war which shapes the perception and meaning of concerns and experiences of war. Projected images can also be accompanied by music and sound effects.
Together it enhances the play’s impact helping to convey the emotions of the characters and the dialogue they are acting out. Songs are also used ironically within the play, which helps to create tension and to reveal the full extent of the horrors of the unfolding drama. This is demonstrated in Act1, where the patriotic English song ‘Jerluselum’ is reaching its crescendo, scenes of Japanese invasions is juxtaposed on the screen behind Sheila and Bridie. The ironic effect of the patriotic, riumphal song juxtaposed with scenes of utter defeat creates an extra sense of sorrow in the minds of the audience, and helps to recreate the scene in their mind. Together these two techniques shapes the perception and meaning of concerns and experiences of war. Nevertheless, the Australian Television Episode ‘Seeing is Believing’ of Changi is able to shape perception and meaning of concern and experiences through the use various techniques. Changi is about the struggle of the Australian prisoners of war.
It mainly focuses on six young Australian men giving an insight of each character’s deepest struggle within the camp, with the main focus on David Collins. Like Show-horn Sonata the theme power and atrocities is evident in Changi The theme atrocities of war can be defined as the quality of being shockingly cruel and inhumane as an effect of war. Together both the theme of atrocities and power has been expertly utilised within John Doyle’s Changi episode ‘Seeing is believing’.
Within the episode, power is demonstrated through the Japanese people. In a particular scene a Japanese Lieutenant is shown standing on a pedestal stating the rules of the camp to the POW’s. The Japanese Lieutenant states, “Any man who tries to leave will die, any man who steals food from the Chinese will die, any man who makes trade will die! ” Power is portrayed through this quotation by the use of descriptive language, also the positioning of the Lieutenant in comparison to the POW’s signifies that he is in a higher position.
Whilst the Japanese Lieutenant states the rules, the camera focuses on a close up shot on his face which remains dominant and strong, the camera then cross cuts to a close up of the POW’s who look afraid and weak. The use of this technique emphasises the superiority the Japanese people contain over the POW’s which then shapes the perception and meaning of concerns and experiences of war. Although it may seem like Changi is all about the characters but in one sense it is about the historiography. This is evident throughout the play including the flashbacks to the past and present which juxtaposes the old and young David.
The scene shows David’s past and present thoughts and the experiences that he faced during the war which then conveys this emotion of sympathy to the audience. Conclusively, distinctly visual is able to shape perception and meaning of concerns and experiences within the texts Shoe-Horn Sonata and Changi: ‘Seeing is believing through the use of techniques such as lighting, music, sound, visuals, camera shots and flashback/forward. The use of these techniques then allows the audience to understand the effects of war on the individual and the impact of the experiences encountered.

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