No Sugar takes place over the course of four years, beginning in 1930 and ending in 1934. These years represent the peak of a worldwide Great Depression, a financial and economic crisis that began with the American stock market crash in 1929, but soon became a global disaster.
During the depression, life is particularly difficult for the Munday and Millimurra families who are struggling to survive in sub-human conditions on an Aboriginal Reserve, the Moore River Native Settlement, in the 1930s.
Davis uses a variety of dramatic literary techniques to depict their struggle to survive in a hostile white culture, which treats them as “incompetent savages”. That they often speak in their own language helps Davis draw attention to their cultural differences and their alienation from mainstream culture.
No Sugar by Jack Davis was first performed as part of the Festival of Perth in 1985 to great acclaim.
Children at Moore River Native Settlement