David Williamson's The Club and The Removalists
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David Williamson\'s "The Club" and "The Removalists"
In his play The Club, David Williamson presents numerous Australian
attitudes of the 1970s. However, many of these attitudes are still relevant and
fairly accurate representations of Australian attitudes in the 1990s, although
some of course have changed somewhat over the time since the play was written
nearly twenty years ago.
Tradition plays a very important part in The Club. Each of the
characters of course has his own ideas and attitudes towards tradition, but
there are some which are more or less universal throughout the play. In The
Club, tradition is mainly presented as the opposite to progress and success;
that is, to achieve success in today\'s world, tradition must be abandoned. For
example, Laurie (the coach) blames an old Club tradition for his failure to win
a premiership, "You and your cronies wouldn\'t let me buy players." Jock (the
vice-president) replies, "We were upholding an old tradition. It was wrong, but
we believed in it." Then in the next line, Laurie accuses Jock of supporting
the rest of the committee in upholding the tradition not because he believed in
it himself, but because he didn\'t want Laurie to succeed, "They might have
believed in it but the reason why you wouldn\'t let the Club buy players was to
stop me winning a flag."
However, Jock does support and use tradition when it is in agreement
with his goals. For example when trying to avert a players\' strike, Jock claims
that former Club heroes would be disgusted by the idea, "I want to turn all
those photographs around so they don\'t have to look down on this shameful
scene." However, it is later revealed that Jock supports the buying of players
and a coach who has not played for the Club, both of which are against
traditions, to ensure that the Club wins a premiership next season. This
hypocritical attitude towards tradition is probably a fairly typical Australian
attitude; traditions are upheld and honoured, but only when they do not stand in
the way of progress and success. This attitude presented by Williamson is
probably even more widespread now in the 1990s, as success is seen as being even
more important today.
Attitudes towards commercialism are also explored in The Club. In the
play, the Club itself is just beginning the road to commercialisation with the
purchase of Geoff Hayward (the star recruit) for $90,000. However, Gerry (the
administrator) and Jock\'s plans for next year not only include the dropping of
some Club traditions, but also extensive commercialisation as wealthy
entrepreneurs are recruited for sponsorship money which will be used to buy more
players. The attitude of acceptance of the commercialisation of sport that is
evident in The Club is more relevant in the 1990s than ever, when all popular
sports are funded mainly by sponsorship dollars from big corporations. Even the
Australian Olympic Team has received massive financial backing from sponsors,
something which is accepted and considered to be good by most people.
Power is also explored extensively in The Club; much of the play is
based on power struggles between the characters. As mentioned earlier, the
power struggle between Laurie and Jock is evidenced by Laurie\'s accusation that
Jock supported the committee\'s traditional approach only to stop Laurie from
succeeding. Obviously some of the characters are much more successful than
others. For example, Gerry is able to skilfully manipulate the other characters
so he can accomplish his own hidden agenda. However the two players, Danny (the
team Captain) and Geoff, do not really become involved in these power struggles
except when they aid Laurie at the end of the play. Ted (the president) has the
most obvious power at the start of the play, although he steadily loses it
throughout as the other characters strive to improve their standing. The desire
for power is basically universal, and there is resentment from those who are not
in power towards those who are. These attitudes are also still relevant in the
1990s, as shown by the recent Super League fiasco.
Competitiveness is also an important attitude in the play -- one which
is shared by all the characters, to at least some extent. In addition to
competing for power amongst themselves, the characters of The Club are also
fiercely competitive with the other football clubs in the league. The fact that
the Club has not been particularly successful recently and has not won a
premiership for nineteen years only strengthens the characters\' competitive
attitudes and desire for victory. These sorts of competitive attitudes are
realistic and still held in the 1990s. Today\'s
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Australian films, Films, The Removalists, Social psychology, The Club, David Williamson, Attitude, Australian rules football, Gender role
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