The 7 Stages of Grieving

The 7 Stages of Grieving


Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman

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The 7 Stages of Grieving: Scene 1: Prologue Summary & Analysis

On a blank stage, a large block of ice hangs suspended from the ceiling by seven ropes. It melts onto the ground, which is covered by red earth and conceals a fresh grave. The performance area is covered in black powder and framed by a white border. There are several surfaces for projections. Projected onto one of them is a note from Kooemba Jdarra, the company which originally staged the play. It warns that the material to follow depicts the names and visual representations of recently dead Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The message promises that proper respect will be shown to the memories of these individuals.
At the start of the play, the audience looks out on a stage empty of people but full of potent visual metaphors and symbols. The block of ice suspended by seven ropes (ropes that symbolize the seven stages of grief) will melt over the course of the play as the hot stage lights burn down onto it. The block of ice, then, will emerge as one of the play’s central symbols: the ice represents indigenous communities and the hot stage lights represent the destructive forces of racism, poverty, violence, etc. The gradual melting of the ice under the stage lights shows how indigenous lives and communities erode due to white supremacy and the legacy of colonialism.
Colonialism and Oppression Theme Icon
Aboriginal Identity, Pride, and Resilience Theme Icon
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