Power, the only motivator Power, the only motivator The club by David Williamson is a play that uses a very simple setting and only six characters of various ages and statuses. It explores how the underbelly of an Australian Rules football club controls the organization rather than being focused on important events like winning a premiership. The main focus is on the president, former president, administrator and coach which explore festering conflicts that arise among them.
The language used is predominantly colloquial, which shows deception and manipulation in many exchanges that mock and ridicule the schemers. The main issue conveyed by David Williamson is that commercialism is taking over tradition and power is the only motivator for the committee members. “Tradition, tradition, tradition. We’ve been strangled by it. ” “Tradition, tradition, tradition. We’ve been strangled by it. ” As a central theme, power is what drives the characters, Jock, Gerry and Laurie. They mock and ridicule against each other and try to destroy each other through the committee.
Although all characters strive to achieve one purpose, win a premiership and to also win at all costs, Jock and Gerry seem to have a single direction or idea about how they want to achieve a premiership. “You’re not indispensable” gives hints into Jocks and Gerry’s intentions about how they want to scrap tradition and start again with new players, a new president and a new coach. “With the team we’ll have next year, Jesus Christ’ll be pushing to make the reserves” again reinforces Jock’s and Gerry’s intention about changing the club.
The irony and imagery of this statement also shows the audience Jock and Gerry’s intentions. The power struggle between Jock and Gerry against Laurie is shown through countless humorous arguments that ridicule, mock and banter about each other. The imagery and over exaggeration in the statement “a hundred dozen pop-up Taiwanese toasters that burnt the bread and then fired it like mortar shells” shows how the relationship between Jock and Laurie is of a hard nature. Power is also highly shown in the form of Gerry.
The cunning, ruthless, self-centered attitude is his reason and motivation for power. The character goes behind everyone’s back and turns the coach, Laurie, against the President by making him believe that he is the problem, rather than taking the blame himself and also turning the President against the coach. Gerry’s manipulation is started to be revealed when the president, Ted, has found himself in some trouble. Gerry’s immediate reaction is to get him to resign. ‘You’ll pay $80,000 for a piece of shit player but you won’t pay $1000 to save the president”.
This statement makes the viewer realize that Gerry’s intention is to force Ted to leave for good. Narcissism is also used to shock the audience into the seriousness of Gerry’s cunning. Gerry also plays a role to turn Ted and Laurie against each other. “I want the clown out just as much as you Laurie” highlights Gerry’s pessimistic thoughts for Ted and how he wants to be in control of the club. The descriptive language of calling Ted a clown gives the audience an image of how little Gerry thinks of him, like a little puppet that can be disposed of.
Although Gerry’s actions change around Ted, his cunning and plot of removing him and Laurie are evident in his actions but instead of his pessimistic attitude of him he idolizes him and changes Laurie into the problem. “It’s difficult to replace a coach halfway through the season and he knows it” makes Laurie sound like he is a self-centered man that only cares for him. Commercialism is also a main motivator for the characters in the play. This is another one of Williamson’s central ideas.
He shows this in a satire play of his creating and show’s in a realistic way, what he thinks about the dark shadows that rumor and gossip as they fight for power. The values that the club used to up hold seem a thing of the past. It used to stand for sportsmanship and commitment but such simple principles seem a thing of the past as highlighted by Ted. “Tradition can go to hell” evidently shows that tradition is no longer an option and is now replaced by a ‘win at all costs’ attitude that leads to commercialism.
The only important value that the club cares about is victory at the end, a premiership. “With the team we’ll have next year, Jesus Christ’ll be pushing to make the reserves” “With the team we’ll have next year, Jesus Christ’ll be pushing to make the reserves” Tradition is seen as rather more of a negative force and teamwork and commitment don’t come with the results in the end. Commercialism is mainly driven by the president, Ted, who promoted the purchase of new players for the get go.
He refers to his new found, overpriced talent to be the way of the future. He sees Geoff to be a “legitimate champion” and many more players should be bought into the club the way Geoff was. Ted ultimately believes that tradition is a constraint that must be broken in order to achieve victory on the field. Loyalty is Williamson’s final issue of the play. He satires the utter lack of loyalty between the clubs board members and shows that loyalty is rewarded with deception and betrayal. Loyalty to any one individual is a luxury we can’t afford” highlights the fact the no-one throughout the entire club can be relied on or trusted resulting in counterproductive paranoia and insecurity. The only loyalty highlighted in the club is the players to Laurie the coach. “We’d just like the committee to know that we’re a hundred percent behind Laurie”. This highlights the support Laurie has with the players and he is a truly loved personality throughout the club, except for the board members as highlighted by Ted “the players can go to hell”.
This shows that any commitment or loyalty is rewarded with only negative results and impacts any future progress. This also highlights the blatant disloyalty to each other and also highlights the disrespect between individuals in the club. Using biting sarcasm in his use of dialog Williamsons conveys these ideas and represents how the clubs politics allow for traditional values such as loyalty and respect to be no longer considered important. Williamson play highlights the issue that power is over abused and disrespected by all members of the club.
It also shows how commercialism is overtaking tradition and its values as the committee members only see a premiership as an option and being through the use of buying players. Instead of loyalty being rewarded it is taken as a sign of weakness and is treated with no empathy or respect. All in all, this club has issues that need to be dealt with immediately. The idea of sport is all about the comradery, sportsmanship and loyalty to the entire club. These issue need to be dealt with immediately and the importance of this is above all else. Life isn’t worth living if it’s not fun.