Shoe Horn Sonata

John Misto, used many distinctly visual techniques to enhance the many past distinctive experiences during the world war two, that was shared by the two protagonists Sheila and Bridie, in the Australian Play ‘shoe Horn Sonata’. Through the use of the great dialogue, and pleasing dramatic techniques, misto explores, through sheilas and brides demonstrations and flashbacks the story of the thousands of women including bridie and sheila kept prisoned by the Japanese. On the other hand, the poem ‘the send-off’ written by Wilfred Owen, was also set in a war, ww1.

This poem is about the send-off of the soldiers and is very similar to the Shoe Horn sonata as it also reflects a sad disappointing image that very few will return. Both of these texts here reflect on harsh experiences during the war. The opening scene act one of shoe horn sonata shows Bridie doing a re enactment of the kowtow, a tribute to the emperor of japan that the females have to attend to when they hear the words ‘keiri! ’ It than shows bridie standing in a spotlight, bowing stiffly from the waist and remains in this position. This technique allows the readers to visualise exactly how the composer wants it to be performed.

The reader is able to engage with bridie and share their experiences. Misto also includes projected images on a screen behind to support the dialogue. This allows the readers to feel included in the experiences that were experienced and creates an emotional relationship between the readers and the women, also reminding them that even though the play is fiction the stories that are told are sadly real. The first line ‘Down the close, darkening lanes they sang their way to the siding-shed’ from the poem the send-off, Wilfred Owen illustrates the soldiers singing happily, when they are going to defend their country.

This line is juxtaposition because it portrays the soldiers and the ‘close darkening lanes’. This is a powerful line because it shows to the readers the soldiers being sent to their death. This gives an understanding to the readers that the soldiers didn’t get the recognition that they deserved, just like the experiences of the women in the play shoe horn sonata. Owen uses personification in the line ‘then unmoved, signals nodded, and a lamp winked to the guard’, to portray to the readers the plan of the country distancing itself from the departing soldiers.

This line is also clever because it symbolises the lamp as knowing the soldiers fate before the soldiers do. Symbolism is also a well-used technique in the shoe horn sonata. The shoe horn was a symbol of their strength and will, and is used to show they are still clinging onto life. Scene three act one, the distinctly visual dialogue spoken by sheila ‘for a while nothing happened, just the roar of us at sea and us ghostly white on deck’. This catches the audience’s attention as it embraces the use of the light that misto uses to emphasise an idea or to create a mood.

Misto is using lights to emphasise the drama of what is happening on stage. [Both isolated in spotlights] ‘So secretly, like wrongs hushed up, they went. They were not our; we never heard to which front these were sent. ’ Owen uses a negative tone with the harsh words, ‘not ours’ and ‘never’ these words amongst this line symbolises the nation’s shame of the send-off of the soldiers to their pointless deaths.

Also Owen uses a rhetorical question which highlights the difference between the send-off and the return. Shall they return to beatings of great bells in wild trainloads? ’ the repetition of the words few conveys to the readers the sad regret of losing too many lives, and the constant referring to the soldiers as ‘they’ separates the responders from the soldiers. The two texts studied today are both that haven’t received any honour for the hard times they experienced. Both the composers for these tests have shown an interest in sharing their stories giving the audience a chance to understand the times had back in the war.