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photographic images, voice-overs and song and instrumental music.
• Music is a strong presence in the play adding variety and emotional subtext to many of the plays scenes. It also places them in their historical contexts and on some occasions suggests the irony of the situations the two women faced.

• NO photographs exist of the women in the prison camps but a wide variety of other images appear on screen as a background to the dialogue. These include:

– Photographs taken of male P.O.Ws when they were liberated
– Photographs of nurses arriving in Singapore from Belalau
– Contrasting images of Singapore: the confident, imperial city before its fall, and the bombed and burning city afterwards.
• These images add credibility to the script as the central situation Misto sets up is the making of a television documentary.
• Voice-over is used for the only other speaking role in the play, Rick, the interviewer and his voice adds variety to the sound and texture of the play.

• The problem of how to make a play about suffering, cruelty, deprivation and death bearable for a modern audience is dealt with by using:
– Humor to lighten some scenes. We see this when the Prime Ministers message finally reaches the Australian nurses in Scene , “Keep smiling!”, to which they break into helpless laughter at the irony of the message to their situation. Also the contrast between the main characters, the prim British schoolgirl Sheila, and the more practical Sydney nurse Bridie provides another source of humor

– Another method used is the device of distancing. The characters and their audience are distanced in time from the events recalled and presented in the play. The women in the play have survived the camps and lived through the subsequent years and have in some ways dealt with the trauma. Now as survivors they can look back.

– Misto also makes no attempt to reproduce on stage the appalling brutalities carried out in the camps. Instead he allows his dramatic techniques of photographs, voice-overs and music to establish these horrors in the imaginations of the audience.

“The Shoe- Horn Sonata” is a play by John Misto that gives an insight into two lives of two female POWs in WW II and is a vector of Mistos thoughts. It explores the little known and often terrible events associated with female prisoners of war. The play follows a friendship of two women through the war to a point of tension thats beyond what any normal friendship would have to deal with. Misto engages his audience by using a multitude of mediums to portray his story creating a truly multimedia performance. The playwright challenges the audience to look beyond this to the underlying ideas of survival, loyalty and truth.

The play opens with a scene almost as dramatic as the characters, introducing Bridie. She stands on a spotlight demonstrating the “Kow Tow” bow for respect in the centre of the stage then “claps her hands sternly”, immediately revealing the strong assertive nature of her character. The audiences become intrigued, and listen as

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Central Situation Misto And Voice-Overs. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from