Distinctively Visual Shoehorn Sonata

English Shoe-Horn Sonata assessment

Intro: Experiences through language possess the ability to alter or challenge the views of society on the world. The Shoe-Horn Sonata written by John Misto and published in 1996 is a play that possesses this ability through the successful use of powerful distinctively visual techniques. The Shoe-Horn Sonata follows the story of the women Bridie and Sheila as they take part in a television show encompassing their experiences during World War II. The two women reminisce and reflect on their life in great detail as prisoners of war. Misto uses a wide variety of dramatic elements to educate his audience on the dehumanisation of prisoners of war, the captive experience of war and the unification of the prisoners in times of danger. Misto’s smart use of these dramatic forms allowed him to successfully achieve his goal of creating a memorial for the countless women that died as prisoners during World War II.

Key Moment 1: Jerusalem
Misto conveys the idea that the women held captive in the brutal Japanese war camps were treated inhumanely, resulting in them being dehumanised. This is exemplified in Act 1 Scene 3 when the ships that the two women were using to escape a Japanese siege were attacked. This scene details the meeting of the two protagonists, and allows the audience to understand the feelings of fear and powerlessness that the women were feeling at the time. The audience witnesses the retelling of the moment of capture of the two women in which they are ultimately dehumanised. Misto uses an intricate combination of dramatic elements In this moment to effectively portray the powerlessness of the two women. Through combining Bridie’s recount of the moment that the Japanese ship approached them in the water “we could see that they were laughing at us” with the continuous soundtrack of the “distant sound of lapping waves”, Misto forces the audience into this moment and encourages them to recognise the fear of the characters....