Throughout Australian history a racist attitude towards Aboriginals has been a significant issue.
From the moment the early settlers arrived on our shores and colonised, the Aboriginals have been fighting for the survival of their culture. The Aboriginals haven been take in and dominated to bring them in line with an idealistic European society. These themes have been put forward by Jack Davis in his stage play, No Sugar, the story of an Aboriginal family’s fight for survival during the Great Depression years. Admittedly Davis utilises his characters to confront the audience and take them out of their comfort zone, showing them the reality of Aboriginal treatment.
This is an element of the marginalisation that Jack Davis uses through out the play this starts from the beginning where he discomforts the audience by using an open stage. One character that Davis uses through out the play is A.O. Neville, Davis uses him to portray the issue of power, this is a very important issue that is carried through out the play. Through out the play aboriginals are marginalised they are told where to go what to do and how to go about life.
The play was staged on a perambulate model, meaning that the action of the play shifts between many locations. There is the town of Northam with the Police Station and two Cells, the Main Street and the Government Well Aboriginal Reserve. Then there is The Moore River Native Settlement with the Superintendent’s office, the Millimurra family’s tent and the Aboriginal camp at Long Pool. There is also the Chief Protectors Office and the Western Australian Historical Society in Perth and an area by the railway line.
This allows for marginalisation between the audience and the play. This can be perceived as some what payback by Jack Davis for the marginalisation that the Europeans forced upon the aboriginals. Contrasting dialogue is also found within the play’s Aboriginal cast. It is not uncommon for a character to begin a sentence in English, only to lead in to Nyoongah words as they proceed: GRAN: I’m warrah, gnuny tjenna minditj, and I got no gnummarri. (Act Two Scene Two) This provokes a reaction from white audiences where we rely on hand gesture to comprehend the play, while also begging the question as to why they speak in such a way. Language is used as a symbol for their culture, a culture that is split between white and blacks; this is just one more tactics that Jack Davis uses to marginalise.
Marginalisation is a major issue carried through out this play and Jack Davis successfully brings to life this concerning issue, that still applies today through out society. To have power is one thing, but when power consumes you it develop into destruction. This is what happened when A.O Neville Western Australia’s commissioner of native affairs, gained authority over the aboriginal people. Neville began to amuse the role of god and be in command of Aboriginal people.