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At The Inland Sea

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‘At the Inland Sea’ was a play written by Edward Bond, its purpose as a remarkably written play is to characterise key moments to create an affect on his audience. Three specific moments of the play include ‘the women rising from the bed, the old lady’s entrance and the dramatic ending’. Firstly I will comment on the effects used in the first key moment when ‘the woman’ rises from the bed. Bond’s choice of setting for this particular moment was chosen very precisely this had a purpose. Its purpose was to be set in ‘the boy’s bedroom’ so the audience can all familiarise themselves with the surroundings.

This is a clever way to draw in the audience’s attention so when future events occur the shock has more of an affect. When the women eventually rises from the boys bed his actions are ‘frozen’ as he sees her wearing these ‘old, ragged clothes and carries a baby wrapped in a bundle’. The audience also see her at the same current time the audience are then forced to mirror the boy’s actions and also made to ask questions in their heads, Bond is using the involvement of the audience to create an effective affect.

The boy then becomes silent and just uses back-seat jestures such as ‘he sits huddled, clasping the cup’. The audience too are then made to feel iscolated from this ‘weak looking woman’ because the setting has not changed therefore they are still in a setting which they are familiar with and this all contrasts with this woman trying to ‘save her baby’. In my opinion Bond chooses the woman rising from the ‘boy’s bed’ and no-where else because this may be a metaphor because beds are a place where people either reflect at night or look forward to the upcoming events in the morning.

The play is said to be based on the fact that ‘you can’t change history but you can change the future’ therefore when rising from the bed she is looking for a way out of history to the future to ‘save her baby’. The audience will then get a feel of what the play is about in the first couple of pages. Thirdly when the woman gives dialogue she repetitively sings ‘the worlds a stone, the worlds a stone’ although this may seem quite humorous to the audience it is her view on the world.

Therefore the audience are made to look into it and judge the simply constructed sentence for themselves the language is most important here as there is no interlect involved, every word has to be taken into consideration. This means Bond has done this again to give an over-vue of the entire play as the meaning of ‘the worlds a stone’ tells us that it is a cold world and has no heart and although the world can be controlled it can never be controlled by everyone because of different views on the way the world should be run.

The audience then again familiarises themselves with the phrase and agrees with it. The first key moment of the woman ‘rising from the bed’ is a moment that disturbs the audience just as they were getting familiar and comfortable therefore this key moment is all about the fact that Bond uses such techniques to keep his audience. The second key moment of ‘At the Inland Sea’ is the entrance of the Old woman and her contribution to the effects Edward Bond uses on his audiences. The Old woman is not only visible to the boy now the mother can also see her Mother: I thought it was my son, I heard the door.

Old woman: No, me This means that this character is more of a general character that affects everyone not only the boy. Her purpose is to reassure that the boy (the mothers son) is safe but the only way that she would know that is if she could see the future therefore it is said that she is a metaphor for the world and her revealed dress underneath her smock is ‘filthy, bloody, torn, scorched, soot-marked, foul with corruption’. This is seen as being the worlds damaged parts and although all this has damaged the dress some how the dress still stays in one piece.

This tells the audience that even thought the world can be disguised as being ok (the smock the old woman originally wears) it never is (the old woman’s revealed dress). Secondly the old woman has an uncontrolable continuous laughter this contrasts against the stories that she tells concerning the ‘deaths of thousands of innocent people’. This relieves the audience with the laughter of the old woman swinging the audiences emotions from side to side disgusting them and making them laugh at the same time.

The old woman (the world) is emotionaly torn apart she laughs because she thinks it is funny to even dream of peole wanting to kill innocent people never mind making it their aim. The audience again familiarises and wonder how do humans find the drive to want to do that kind of thing. Thirdly the most important reason for the old woman being in this scene is to disbelieve. She displays a list of unbeliefs against what he tells her, Old woman: A ladder? Up a ladder? Boy: Yes Old woman: He climbed a ladder to kill people?

The audience then now become the old woman although originally they were the boy this is because they can also see the funny side to such events and this effect is most powerful on an audience as she shares her views without being politically correct. She also says ‘wouldn’t waste a story on that. Mucky little tyke. Throw it away. ‘ This tells an audience that not only is this baby suffering but so are the other 6,000,000 people, which died during the war. Bonds effects on using the old woman in this scene are more of the audience using their mind s to solve these problems forscene.

It is effective because the audience need that phycological involvement to carry through their interest in the play. The third key moment of the play is the dramatic ending in which the story is given to the woman to try and help her baby. The ending is the most dramatic part of the play, not only because it is the climax of the play. The ‘woman and the people groaning’ continuously as they come closer to their death in the gas chamber, this is the second time we hear the ‘sounds of groans’ the audience don’t want to go through that torment again.

This is not only because they are horrid sounds its also because you are helpless towards helping them. The relief of the sound leaving is over and they return – this emphasising the discomfort of the audience. The womans last words are being dragged effortlessly out in the background stage directions indicate ‘choking’ you hear her call ‘too late’. This part of her speech is significant because as the audience step back into the boy’s shoes we see that he can symbolise everyone and this means that we are all too late from saving her.

Forgetting is easy for someone to do but it still doesn’t prevent the fact that it happened therefore Bond wants us to feel discomforted when watching, even disturbed, because if we always forget we will all be ‘too late’. Bond takes us through what taking a back seat can do and faces us with the lack of interest for polotics and what it leads to. Just as that feeling hits you and you think that its all over but the woman calls out to the boy ‘finish the story! It must be told! In this place! Here!

This confuses the audience and puts them in the same situation, as they felt uncomfortable in before when unknown to what the story is. We are asked to think what it can be and how are you meant to save a life just through telling a story? Although this is the point that Bond is trying to make throughout the play that although you can’t come up with any old story to save a life but if the story is passed through the generations then the world can be saved. The final story the woman says she has told a story ‘without hope’ and then asks the boy to finish it so they ‘can die again!

‘The people then begin to rave in new pain’ again distressing for the boy and therefore the audience too as the story is told a final image of hope ‘the sound of people breathing together as one’ this tells us that they have been set free to die leavn the audience with a warm feelin inside as if they have contibuted to the story in some way. Over all Bonds techniques used on his audince are to engage them and place them into the play by using characters which can be replaced by the audience in order to draw their attention into the play and its meaning beneath the text.

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