Fact and Fiction: Historical Murder Material Refocused in a Play Script.
McDougall, Sarah Caroline
The aim of this Masters in Fine Arts, (Theatre Studies) was to integrate the historical material of the ‘Jukebox murder’ within a full length play script which shifts focus from the two dead men, Albert Lawrence Black and Alan Keith Jacques, to that of the girl at the heart of the murder. The unanswered challenges to solve were the ethical questions that surrounded the use of factual evidence from the past and how that might be interwoven with the created work of fiction. The methodology used to write the play script Moon at the Bottom of the Garden and the accompanying exegesis was an adapted form of Grounded Theory; Narrative Theory and a self-conscious awareness and cognizance of the influence of my whakapapa on my writing. A comparative analysis of the authors’ adaptations of historical murders was conducted, providing useful points of reference for my own approach to the inclusion of historical material. The research centred on those dealing with the Parker–Hulme murder, specifically, my analysis rested on the plays of Bruce Mason and Michelanne Forster: The Verdict, (Mason, 1955), and Daughters of Heaven (Forster, 1991). The writing of the play developed over each re-write and focused on the life of the girl and of her family who were all affected by the impact of the Jukebox murder. The game of Mah-Jong was introduced as a family ritual and as a physical placement of the present, as a link with the past and as a poetic metaphor for cyclical repetitions of a family and of the emotional inheritance passed forward. Writers of fiction have used historical murder material since time immemorial, this exegesis records how this playwright chose to answer her own ethical questions and include the real drama of two unfortunate men in Moon at the Bottom of the Garden.
Advisor: Warrington, Lisa; Young, Stuart
Degree Name: Master of Fine Arts
Degree Discipline: Theatre Studies Programme, Department of Music.
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Theatre; Playwriting; New Zealand; Aotearoa; Play Script; Historical; Murder; Jukebox Murder; Grounded Theory; Whakapapa; Narrative Theory; Adaptation; Mah-Jong; Social Class; Women Playwrights; Women; Bodgie and Widgie
Research Type: Thesis