'Undoubtedly one of Australia's favourite plays, the One Day of the Year explores the universal theme of father-son conflict against the background of the beery haze and the heady, nostalgic sentimentality of Anzac Day. It is a play to make us question a standard institution - Anzac Day, the sacred cow among Australian annual celebrations - but it is the likeability and genuineness of the characters that give the play its memorable qualities: Alf, the nobody who becomes a somebody on this day of days; Mum, the anchor of the family; Hughie, their son, with all the uncertainties and rebelliousness of youth; and Wacka, the Anzac, with his simple, healing wisdom.'
(Description from publishers website)
'The most famous Australian play and one of the best loved, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll is a tragicomic story of Roo and Barney, two Queensland sugar-cane cutters who go to Melbourne every year during the 'layoff' to live it up with their barmaid girl friends. The title refers to kewpie dolls, tawdry fairground souvenirs, that they brings as gifts and come, in some readings of the play, to represent adolescent dreams in which the characters seem to be permanently trapped. The play tells the story in traditional well-made, realistic form, with effective curtains and an obligatory scene. Its principal appeal – and that of two later plays with which it forms The Doll Trilogy – is the freshness and emotional warmth, even sentimentality, with which it deals with simple virtues of innocence and youthful energy that lie at the heart of the Australian bush legend.
'Ray Lawler’s play confronts that legend with the harsh new reality of modern urban Australia. The 17th year of the canecutters’ arrangement is different. There has been a fight on the canefields and Roo, the tough, heroic, bushman, has arrived with his ego battered and without money. Barney’s girl friend Nancy has left to get married and is replace by Pearl, who is suspicious of the whole set-up and hopes to trap Barney into marriage. The play charts the inevitable failure of the dream of the layoff, the end of the men’s supremacy as bush heroes and, most poignantly, the betrayal of the idealistic self-sacrifice made by Roo’s girl friend Olive – the most interesting character – to keep the whole thing going. The city emerges victorious, but the emotional tone of the play vindicates the fallen bushman.'
Source: McCallum, John. 'Summer of the Seventeenth Doll.' Companion to Theatre in Australia. Ed. Philip Parson and Victoria Chance. Sydney: Currency Press , 1997: 564-656.
'This is a proud milestone in Australian theatre history; a contemporary Indigenous performance text from the highly acclaimed Kooemba Jdarra. Appropriating western forms whilst using traditional storytelling, it gives emotional insight into Murri life. This one-woman show follows the journey of an Aboriginal ‘Everywoman’ as she tells poignant and humorous stories of grief and reconciliation. A powerful, demanding and culturally profound text, The 7 Stages of Grieving is a celebration of Indigenous survival, an invitation to grieve publicly, a time to exorcize pain. It has a universal theme told through the personal experiences of one incredible character.'
Source: Publisher's blurb (Playlab).
'This collection includes: The Well (1960) by Jack McKinney, a rustic comedy in the Steele Rudd tradition set in Queensland; Burst of Summer (1960) by Oriel Gray is a realist play dealing with racial prejudice and is based on the brief success of the Aboriginal actress Ngarla Kunoth, who played Jedda in the Chauvel film; The Season at Sarsaparilla (1962), Patrick White's poetic satire examining the inevitable cycle of birth, copulation and death; White called it a 'charade of suburbia'; and The Promised Woman by Theodore Patrikareas which had its first stage production in Sydney in 1963 and is possibly the first play by a post-war immigrant staged in Australia. The play portrays migrants adapting to their new country and finding new identities and was adapted for the screen in 1974. (1 act, 2 women)' (Publication summary)
On the satisfying the requirements of this course students should be able to
express in an oral and written form the major historical developments in Australian drama since the 1950's.
identify and critically analyse key themes in modern Australian drama.
undertake research to explore conceptual ideas related to Australian theatre.
make appropriate performance methodology choices for performance of selected texts.
apply theoretical and empirical data in performance.
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