Things I Know to be True: social context

Things I Know to be True: social context

Playwright and Overview

  • The play “Things I Know to be True” was written by Andrew Bovell, an Australian playwright, and first performed in Adelaide in 2016.
  • The play explores the experiences of an average Australian family, the Prices, over the span of a year, highlighting common issues in contemporary Australian society.

Influences of Australian Social Context

  • The social context of the play is strongly influenced by Australian culture and society. Elements like suburban lifestyle, the idea of the ‘Australian Dream’, and sociocultural norms significantly underpin the narrative.
  • Themes of family dynamics and identity crises, seen through each character’s struggle, reflect universal social issues, despite its distinct Australian setting.

Class Identity and Work

  • Class identity is an important aspect of the social context. The play portrays the working-class lifestyle, with Bob Price working in a factory and Fran as a nurse.

Gender Roles and Societal Pressures

  • The narrative challenges traditional gender roles. For instance, Fran, the mother, is depicted as the dominant, controlling figure within the family, while Bob, the father, is gentler and often subservient to Fran’s will.
  • Bovell also explores the societal pressures on young adults through the character’s individual story arcs - career choices, sexual identity, love marriage vs arranged marriage, etc.

Ageing and Vulnerability

  • Ageing and vulnerability are addressed through Bob and Fran’s fear of growing old and losing influence over their children.

The Expectation of Success

  • Bovell scrutinises the modern social expectation of ‘success’. Characters like Pip and Mark leave their ‘successful’ careers and venture into unknown territories, defying societal norms.

Impact of Urbanization and Globalization

  • Overarching social trends like urbanisation and globalisation are subtly woven into the plot, demonstrated through Rosie’s trip to Europe and Mark’s transition.