Amnesiac A stage play - and - Playwriting migration: Silence, memory and repetition. An exegesis

Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Supervisor

Dr Marcella Polain

Second Supervisor

Dr Luke Hopper

Third Supervisor

Dr William Dunstone


In response to the surging migration phenomenon and growing hostility and restrictions on the movement of people, the stage play, Amnesiac, and exegesis, Playwriting migration: Silence, memory and repetition, explore a different approach to this global dilemma. Rather than focussing on the plight of refugees and asylum seekers, the approach and focus of the thesis centre on Western migration, from slavery and colonialism to corporation migration in the current globalised capitalist system. The research underpinning the approach of the play and essay examines the process of voluntary or obligatory participation in and/or resistance of political, social and economic systems which contribute to the circumstances that cause people to migrate.

The play depicts the workplace and home environments of fictional characters from historical and present-day migrations. Interactions between characters reveal the cumulative effects and fluctuating features of the relationship between oppressor and oppressed. These effects and features manifest in the playwriting, with the blending of repetition, stream of consciousness and memory as a way of understanding character objectives, conflicts, alliances and potential transformations. The results reveal the shifting nature of disempowered peoples and expose the shared experiences of oppressor and oppressed - in particular, the contributing factors of socialisation, domination and greed that are infused in the relationships which ultimately lead to conflict or alliance.

The exegesis examines historical and current events and people that inspired the form and content of the play. The factors that inspired the genre, the world of the play, the characters and incidents are discussed in relation to how social, political and economic systems reflect and reveal ongoing root causes of violence, instability and poverty in developing countries and, indeed, the increase of the same problems in developed countries.

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