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y separately published work icon The Cherry Pickers single work   drama   - Three acts
Issue Details: First known date: 1968... 1968 The Cherry Pickers
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

"When the cold August wind abated in its final sigh of emergence from the lean, hard winter months into springtime, the People emerged from the cold, and often leaky shanties, and old discarded car-bodies, which were their home, to gather together their few ragged possessions and tie them in bundles ready for traveling to the cherry orchards, often many hundreds of miles away. Many would travel by bicycle with their swags swinging crazily from the frames; many traveled in old tattered caravans drawn by horses; many just walked beside the caravans through the red sandhill and mallee country, while the more daring 'jumped the rattler', the slow old steam train that chugged across the land.

Wherever the people gathered there too was a spirit of revival, of intense relief, for the "cherry season" meant a temporary release from near starvation. In a good season it could mean some old debts would be repaid. It meant food and toys for the children for the forthcoming Christmas season and, above all, it meant some independence, some freedom, from under the crucifying heels of the local police and the white 'station' managers; an escape from the refugee camps called 'Aboriginal Reserves'. The cherry season was the time for hope, for meeting old friends and relatives, for laughing and for making love. The Cherry Pickers tells it all.' Source: http://blackwebs.photoaccess.org.au/~kevingilbert/books/books.html (Sighted: 12/4/2009).

Exhibitions

6943740
18740432
18160804
18005672

Notes

  • The first written Aboriginal play (1968).

Production Details

  • First performed at the Mews Theatre in Sydney in August 1971, during the Captain Cook Bicentenary celebrations. Director: Kevin McGrath.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1968
      1968 .
      Extent: 32p.
      Description: Typescript (duplicated).
      (Manuscript) assertion

      Holdings

      Held at: University of Queensland University of Queensland Library Fryer Library
      Local Id: H0631A
      1968 .
      Extent: 24 leaves (lacking 1, 15 and 18)p.
      Description: Typescript (photocopy).
      (Manuscript) assertion

      Holdings

      Held at: University of Queensland University of Queensland Library Fryer Library
      Local Id: H0631B
Notes:
Titled as: The First Written Aboriginal Play : The Cherry Pickers
    • Canberra, Australian Capital Territory,: Burrambinga Books , 1988 .
      image of person or book cover 4804281354821266044.jpg
      This image has been sourced from Web.
      Extent: ix,80p.
      Description: illus., ports
      Note/s:
      • The Cherry Pickers was released by the independent Canberra press, Burrambinga Books, in May, 1988. This was timed to coincide with the Aboriginal protests during the opening of the new Australian Parliament House by Queen Elizabeth II.
      ISBN: 0958801908, 9780958801904

Other Formats

  • Also sound recording.

Works about this Work

Talkin’ Blak : Humour in Indigenous Australian Theatre, 1970−2000 Karen Austin , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Philament , February no. 20 2015; (p. 129-164)
'This paper looks at the renaissance of Indigenous Australian theatrical performance, from the early 1970s to its prominence in the lead-up to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. It focuses on the specific ways that humour has been used by Indigenous Australian performing artists to highlight unpleasant social issues in their communities, such as poverty, alcohol abuse, and the removal/stealing of children from their families. In conjunction with witty repartee, visual comedy both in movement and mimicry is often used by Indigenous performers. Philosopher Henri Bergson, well-known for his contributions to humour studies, claims that the physical humour in inflexible, repetitive, or exaggerated movements is inherently funny. Bergson argues that rigidity of movements or “something mechanical encrusted on the living” makes comedians appear inhuman and, as a consequence, this makes people laugh. Contemporary philosopher and humour theorist Simon Critchley notes that the opposite is also true: We often find it funny when people give the impression of being all too human. For Critchley, the recognition of predictable behaviours is just as funny as any automated actions.' (129-130)
Theatre or Corroboree, What's in a Name? Framing Indigenous Australian 19th-Century Commercial Performance Practices Maryrose Casey , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Creating White Australia 2009; (p. 123-139)
'The reception and framing within histories of practice of Indigenous Australian cultural production in the performing arts has been a problematic and contested field for decades. Though, overtime the terms have changed in line with political and social changes and developments...' Casey argues, 'these shifts have been limited by continuing a priori assumptions about theatre in terms of what it is and the implicit assumptions of European cultural ownership of performances that are discussed under the term. These conjectures continue to have impact on what is included, excluded and defined within Australian theatre historiography.' (From author's introduction)
Aboriginal Theatre John McCallum , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Belonging : Australian Playwriting in the 20th Century 2009; (p. 301-325)
Kevin Gilbert's The Cherry Pickers, written in 1968, before the ocker New Wave started, anticipated many of the issues that were to be raised in the debates over identity poitics in the 1980s. Originally workshopped at the Mews Theatre, Sydney, in 1971, with an all Aboriginal cast as Gilbert insisted, the play was the forerunner of a great body of work by Indigenous playwrights.
y separately published work icon Belonging : Australian Playwriting in the 20th Century John McCallum , Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2009 Z1576280 2009 multi chapter work criticism

'John McCallum's new history explores the relationship between 20th century Australian drama and a developing concept of nation. The book focuses on the creative tension sparked by dueling impulses between nationalism and cosmopolitanism; and between artistic seriousness and larrikin populism. It explores issues such as the domineering influence of European high culture, the ongoing popularity of representational realism, the influence of popular theatrical forms, the ambivalence (between affection and aggression) of much Australian humour and satire, and the interaction between the personal and the political in drama.

'The strength of Belonging is its comprehensiveness. Anyone studying an Australian play will find it here in the context of the other works by its author or the time and place in which it was written. As well as a rundown of the major writers and their works, the book also investigates a number of lesser known plays and writers.

This authoritative study of Australian drama gives an account of the relationship between our theatre and our sense of self while taking into account a broad range of influences that helped to shape both.' (Publisher's blurb)

Gilbert Play a Feature at UK Festival 2002 single work column
— Appears in: Koori Mail , 12 June no. 278 2002; (p. 45)
A Professional `First' Des Partridge , 1994 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 6 December 1994; (p. 18)

— Review of The Cherry Pickers Kevin Gilbert , 1968 single work drama
Second Bite of a Neglected Cherry Veronica Kelly , 1994 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 8 December 1994; (p. 13)

— Review of The Cherry Pickers Kevin Gilbert , 1968 single work drama
Writer's Vision Finds Indigenous Voice Matthew Westwood , 1994 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 2 December 1994; (p. 18)

— Review of The Cherry Pickers Kevin Gilbert , 1968 single work drama
For Aristocratic, Read Indigenous Sue Gough , 1994 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 20 December vol. 116 no. 5951 1994; (p. 83)

— Review of The Cherry Pickers Kevin Gilbert , 1968 single work drama
Colonialism and Criticism Judith Wright , 1988 single work review
— Appears in: Overland , October no. 112 1988; (p. 73-74)

— Review of Inside Black Australia : An Anthology of Aboriginal Poetry 1988 anthology poetry ; The Cherry Pickers Kevin Gilbert , 1968 single work drama
Aboriginal Drama : A New Voice in Australian Theatre Adam Shoemaker , 1982 single work criticism
— Appears in: Aspects of Australian Culture 1982; (p. 28-33)
Shoemaker explores the use of humour in Indigenous drama, seeing it an an enhancement of the socio-political messages which underlie the plays. He also notes the use of poetry in the drama.
Aboriginal Theatre John McCallum , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Belonging : Australian Playwriting in the 20th Century 2009; (p. 301-325)
Kevin Gilbert's The Cherry Pickers, written in 1968, before the ocker New Wave started, anticipated many of the issues that were to be raised in the debates over identity poitics in the 1980s. Originally workshopped at the Mews Theatre, Sydney, in 1971, with an all Aboriginal cast as Gilbert insisted, the play was the forerunner of a great body of work by Indigenous playwrights.
Backgrounds to Aboriginal Literature Clifford Watego , 1988 single work essay
— Appears in: Black Voices , vol. 4 no. 1 1988; (p. 42-55)
y separately published work icon Culture, Race and Identity : Australian Aboriginal Writing Chris Weedon , London : Menzies Centre for Australian Studies , 1990 Z1792725 1990 single work criticism 'This paper looks at the relationship between culture, race and identity in English-language Aboriginal writing from Western Australia.' (p. 1)
Theatre or Corroboree, What's in a Name? Framing Indigenous Australian 19th-Century Commercial Performance Practices Maryrose Casey , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Creating White Australia 2009; (p. 123-139)
'The reception and framing within histories of practice of Indigenous Australian cultural production in the performing arts has been a problematic and contested field for decades. Though, overtime the terms have changed in line with political and social changes and developments...' Casey argues, 'these shifts have been limited by continuing a priori assumptions about theatre in terms of what it is and the implicit assumptions of European cultural ownership of performances that are discussed under the term. These conjectures continue to have impact on what is included, excluded and defined within Australian theatre historiography.' (From author's introduction)
Last amended 29 Nov 2019 11:01:40
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