All Stops Out by Michael Gow
So I’m a bit on again, off again with my challenge I know. Recently though, I managed to sneak in some time to read a play. It was rather relevant considering many of the students at our school were preparing for their Trial HSC and now my darling Year 11’s are about to embark on their Yearly Exams before hitting the big Year 12 next term.
All Stop’s Out is a play that explores the differing attitudes to study, the consequences of our actions and the possibilities for our future. Sam is a natural at study, an absolute nerd. He hits the books hard. Danny finds it a little more difficult. Linda thinks Jenny is wasting her time whilst Cathy regrets not working harder whilst the parents…Well, the parents are always anxious. It’s their child’s future after all.
I’ve always liked Michael Gow because the way he writes appears very simple but it isn’t. It is multi-layered. The dialogue suggests action and setting and you can understand the character’s subtext easily from this. His plays could work in any space and with very little in the way of set and costume. It leaves a lot open to interpretation for a director. Often there is always a bit of a twist at the end too. It’s a little dated but nothing that a bit of tweaking of cultural references couldn’t change.
I used a scene from this play to explore motivation and subtext and found it to be quite successful with the students. Well worth the read.