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Plays of the 50s Volume 1
$31.81 ex GST
$34.99 inc GST

Plays of the 50s Volume 1

Currency Modern Drama

Katharine Brisbane (ed)
 

Sky Without Birds by Oriel Gray
A 3-act drama from 1950 dealing with isolation and prejudice against postwar immigrants set on a Nullarbor Plain railway siding. Written the year Gray left the Communist party, Sky Without Birdsis the first play she wrote rebutting party beliefs and giving primacy to individual morality. Nevertheless, Gray retained her concern for the underprivileged.


   Resources

Shipwreck by Douglas Stewart
Stewart, best known as a poet, was also a masterful verse dramatist. Shipwreck, written in 1951, recreates the infamous mutiny that occurred after the Dutch ship Batavia foundered off the northwest Australian coast in 1629. It is a complex and literary play which depicts with sympathy the anarchic mutineers Cornelius, Huyssen and Seevanck.
   Resources

The Night of the Ding-Dong by Ralph Peterson
The second play from Ralph Peterson, dating from 1954, is a comedy set in Adelaide at the time of the Crimean War, a time when the locals feared a Russian invasion.
The Day Before Tomorrow by Ric Throssell
An anti-nuclear-war play from 1956 about a family of survivors following a nuclear war. Produced in Australia and also at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival by the London Playgoers' Company.


   Resources
   Review
  • Erects a small cairn to the indestructibility of the human spirit. -   Scotsman

Cast : Sky Without Birds - 7M, 2F / Shipwreck - 10M, 5F / The Night of the Ding-Dong - 5M, 4F / The Day Before Tomorrow - 8M, 2F
Currency Press | 978-0-86819-627-5 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB
Plays of the 50s: Volume 2
$31.81 ex GST
$34.99 inc GST

Plays of the 50s: Volume 2

Currency Modern Drama

Katharine Brisbane (ed)
 

The exhilaration caused by the success in 1955 of Ray Lawler’s  Summer of the Seventeenth Doll galvanised a host of new Australian playwrights. This collection features a few of the best examples which sprang up after its' success. 

Together these plays mark a journey towards a recognisably Australian rhythmic form and a more poetic, visceral drama characteristic of the theatre that was to come later in the century.

The Multi-Coloured Umbrella, by Barbara Vernon (1957)
The play was significant in the origins of Australian realist drama and was runner-up to Richard Beynon’s  The Shifting Heart in a play competition held by the Journalists’ Club in Sydney in 1956. It premiered in 1957 and was broadcast by ABC TV in January 1958.

The Slaughter of St Teresa’s Day , by Peter Kenna (1959)
This comedy-drama from 1959 introduces the first of Kenna's Irish-Australian matriarchs, Oola Maguire.
   Resources

Image in the Clay, by David Ireland (1960)
David Ireland blends realism and poetry in a stark portrait of a rural Aboriginal family. The play was first produced in Sydney in 1960.

The Life of the Party, by Ray Mathew (1960)
This play draws a desperate portrait of post-war urban sophisticates trapped in the shadow of the Cold War.  The Life of the Party was a finalist in the 1957 London Observer competition and had a short season in London.

     Resources
Cast : The Multi-Coloured Umbrella - 3M, 3F / The Slaughter of St Theresa's Day - 4M, 6F / Image in the Clay - 10M, 2F / Life of the Party - 3M, 6F
Currency Press | 978-0-86819-695-4 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB
Plays of the 60s: Volume 1
$31.81 ex GST
$34.99 inc GST

Plays of the 60s: Volume 1

Currency Modern Drama

Katharine Brisbane (ed)
 
Burst of Summer , by Oriel Gray (1960) 
A social-realist play dealing with racial prejudice set in a country milk bar. Suggested by the promotion of the Aboriginal actor Ngarla Kunoth, who played the title role in Charles Chauvel's  Jedda, the play explores a town divided over a new housing development for the Aboriginal population. Passions are stirred by press interest in Peggy, an Aboriginal girl who has won brief fame as a film actress; entrenched pastoral interests; envy and racism; and perceived Aboriginal fecklessness. Despite the intercessions of a local black lawyer and Joe, the 'dago' cafe owner, the summer heat busts into violence.

   Resources

The Well by Jack McKinney (1960)
A delightful country comedy that testifies to the impending end of the cultural isolation of rural life. 

   Resources

The Promised Woman, by Theodore Patrikareas (1963)
Possibly the first play by a post-war immigrant staged in Australia, The Promised Woman has also been produced in Greece. Set in a boarding house in Sydney's inner city suburb of Newtown, it captures the dislocation and problems of immigration as it tells the story of a strong young woman who finds a way to break free of traditional constraints. Displays the new world of the post-war immigrant.

   Resources

The Season at Sarsaparilla, by Patrick White (1962)
Patrick White described his play as 'a charade of suburbia'—a play of shadows, rather than substance. The neighbours of the play are held by their environment, waiting with determination, but little expectation, for the inevitable cycle of birth, copulation and death.
Cast : Burst of Summer - 7M, 2F / The Well - 7M, 2F / The Promised Woman - 7M, 4F / The Season at Sarsaparilla - 9M, 7F
Currency Press | 978-0-86819-545-2 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB
Plays of the 60s: Volume 2
$31.81 ex GST
$34.99 inc GST

Plays of the 60s: Volume 2

Currency Modern Drama

Katharine Brisbane (ed)
 

This title is temporarily out-of-stock. Norm and Ahmed is now available in a single edition and can be ordered separately here.


'The years 1966-68 were at the cusp of reform', writes Brisbane. 'The writing here reflects a deep sense of the need for change.'

History, identity and racial attitudes reflect a growing diversity of opinion; but distinctive in this volume, argues Brisbane, 'is the sudden and spontaneous elevation of language'. In these few years a truly local form of contemporary theatre began to make itself felt. Included here are -

This Old Man Comes Rolling Home by Dorothy Hewett
 A play centred on family life in working-class Redfern in the 1950s which captures the colour, spirit and political character of the inner-city suburb. Hewett who lived in Redfern during the Cold War, wrote that her aim was 'to write of a self-contained world ... with its own language, its own folklore, its own values, its own ethos, to write of it with both realism and poetry'.

The Lucky Streak by James Searle
An exploration of the rhythms of the inarticulate, and the aggression, rooted in frustration, which can be present in the simplest of domestic conversations.

   Resources

Norm and Ahmed by Alex Buzo
A rather ocker, white Australian male encounters a well-mannered Pakistani student with revolutionary ambitions in a Sydney park at midnight. Buzo creates an image of race prejudice as a profoundly irrational force in the behaviour of ordinary Australians.


Resources
Single edition eBook available from


Private Yuk Objects  by Alan Hopgood
A rich portrait of Australia in the mid-1960s where, in the 1966 federal election,conscription and the Vietnam War were the major public issues.

     Resources

Cast : This Old Man Comes Rolling Home - 9M, 9F (doubling possible) / The Lucky Streak - 3M, 2F / Norm & Ahmed - 2M / Private Yuk Objects - 10M, 3F
Currency Press | 978-0-86819-550-6 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Plays of the 60s: Volume 3
$31.81 ex GST
$34.99 inc GST

Plays of the 60s: Volume 3

Currency Modern Drama

Katharine Brisbane (ed)
 
In the late 1960s, student revolution spread like wildfire around the world as the post-war generation came to adulthood. In Australia, protests against the Vietnam War were mixed with a rebellious new political awareness.

The plays in this volume reflect the radicalism in public and private life which that period has come to represent. 

A Refined Look at Existence by Rodney Milgate
An ironic comedy drama which reworks Euripides’ The Bacchae, set in a NSW country town. Daring in form, this was possibly the earliest play to capture the emotional turbulence that characterised the 1960s.

   Resources

Chicago, Chicago, by  John Romeril
This play reflects the rebellious new political awareness that spread during the tumultuous years of the late 1960s.

   Resources

Burke's Company by Bill Reed
A 'play of disillusion', writes Katharine Brisbane, which looks at 'the blindness of European exploiters like Robert O'Hara Burke who failed to manage his company or listen to their voices; and refused to acknowledge the Aborigines' offers of salvation. Burke's dream is to conquer the land, by traversing it from south to north. He wants their exploits gloriously recorded in Wills' writings. A play about the moneyed class, for whom discipline is a tool of survival not always placed in the safest hands.

   Resources

The Front Room Boys , by Alex Buzo
An early play of Alex Buzo's which dramatises the predicament of office workers as it displays the author's preoccupation with language. One of his aims, he tells us in his playwright's note, 'was to recreate the rhythms of actual speech as well as to record and preserve the vivid expressions which you could hear everywhere except in the media or on the stage.'

   Resources
Cast : A Refined Look at Existence - 9M, 3F / Chicago, Chicago - 19M, 5F (doubling possible) / Burke's Company - 9M / The Front Room Boys - 7M, 2F
Currency Press | 978-0-86819-562-9 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB
Plays of the 70s: Volume 1
$31.81 ex GST
$34.99 inc GST

Plays of the 70s: Volume 1

Currency Modern Drama

Katharine Brisbane (ed)
 

The bicentennial celebrations in 1970 of the arrival of Captain James Cook aroused a new interest in Australia's history and culture. The plays in this volume were landmarks in the development of a rough new all-Australian theatre which celebrated the rude colour of Australian language and mores.

It was a period of comedy and satire, but these plays show that beneath the larrikinism, sharp social criticism was at work. Ordinary people were becoming alienated and exploited, living largely unexamined lives. 

The plays in this volume are: 

The Legend of King O'Malley by Michael Boddy & Bob Ellis

 

A landmark play when it was first produced in 1970, The Legend of King O'Malley draws on vaudeville traditions to create a larrikin form from which the Australian New Wave theatre took its direction. The underlying story is based on a real life Texan idealist who became a member of two Australian parliaments and was defeated in 1917 for opposing conscription.

The play begins with a prairie revival meeting and takes a journey of adventure and hardship, culminating in a satirical view of federal parliament as a bunch of clowns. Beyond the irreverence, Australian myths can be glimpsed in the portrait of the lonely outsider andfarseeing idealist in conflict with conservative pragmatists.

 



The Joss Adams Show by Alma De Groen

One of the first new wave plays to raise female consciousness in a movement which was almost entirely male-dominated.

Joss gives a unique insight into the state of mind of a woman with post-natal depression. A savagely comic play whose strength lies in the tension between the comic inappropriateness of the social behaviour and the 'reality' in the mind of the audience—in this case the death of a baby.

   Resources

Mrs Thally F by John Romeril

A long one-act play based on a real-life murderer, devised for the Australian Performing Group's Portable Theatre Company.

   Resources

A Stretch of the Imagination by Jack Hibberd
Monk O’Neill, the lonely misanthropist has become an archetype of the Australian character since he first appeared on our stages in 1971.

      

   Also available in Jack Hibberd: Selected Plays


The Removalists by David Williamson 
A young policeman’s first day on duty becomes a violent and highly charged initiation into law enforcement. Remarkable for its blend of boisterous humour and horrifying violence, the play has acquired a reputation as a classic statement on Australian authoritarianism and is a key work in the study of Australian drama.


   Also available as a single edition (print)

   Awards
  • 1972 AWGIE Award - Best Stage Play and Best Script.
   Single edition eBook available from


Cast : The Legend of King O'Malley - 3M, 3F + extras / The Joss Adams Show - 2M, 2F / Mrs Thally F - 4F (doubling possible) / The Removalists - 4M, 2F
Currency Press | 978-0-86819-548-3 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB
Plays of the 70s: Volume 2
$31.81 ex GST
$34.99 inc GST

Plays of the 70s: Volume 2

Currency Modern Drama

Katharine Brisbane (ed)
 
The years 1973-75 are famously remembered as 'the Whitlam years' (after the then Labour Prime Minister Gough Whitlam), and the plays of this period reveal a new sense of direction and a desire for political and cultural rejuvenation.

After experiments with social satire, nudity and challenges to public order, the playwrights in this volume turn to the domestic arena to examine more seriously the way in which the individual is shaped by society. There is also a new preoccupation with personal morality and ethics, and hints of the fear and disillusion that change can bring about.

The volume includes - 

A Hard God by Peter Kenna 

The story of the Cassidy brothers and their wives is counter-pointed by a brief involvement between two teenage boys.

   Resources

Coralie Lansdowne Says No by Alex Buzo 
A woman's struggle for her sense of self in a play that reflects as much on the enduring need for commonplace emotional security and comfort as on the need for social progress.

   Resources

How Does Your Garden Grow by Jim McNeil
Examines a prisoner’s need for domestic comforts.

   Resources

The Cake Man by Robert Merritt
This landmark play portrays life on a mission in Western NSW. A simple, moving story which shows white Christian paternalism from a black point of view.The Cake Manwas the first play by an Aboriginal writer to enter the repertoire of the white theatre.

Published with notes on Wiradjuri country and memories of the mission where Merritt was raised.

   Resources
Cast : A Hard God - 5M, 2F / Coralie Landsdowne Says No - 4M, 3F / How Does Your Garden Grow - / The Cake Man - 5M, 1F, including 1 boy
Currency Press | 978-0-86819-552-0 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB
Plays of the 70s: Volume 3
$31.81 ex GST
$34.99 inc GST

Plays of the 70s: Volume 3

Currency Modern Drama

Katharine Brisbane (ed)
 
'The worlds present in these plays have passed away', writes Katharine Brisbane in her introduction, 'but these plays remain a dense and telling record of their times'.

Crossfire by Jennifer Compton 
By juxtaposing family life in the 1910s with family life in the 1970s,  Crossfire raises sensitive questions about women’s position within domestic structures.

   Resources

The Christian Brothers by Ron Blair 

A moving dramatic monologue in which a teaching Christian Brother grapples with personal anguish and a sense of time departed while trying to hold the attention of his class.

   Resources

A Happy and Holy Occasion by John O’Donoghue
A family party is held in Newcastle on the eve of the eldest son’s entrance into a seminary and the fall of Singapore. A portrait of the Irish-Australian heritage of romanticism, humour, guilt and vulnerability.

   Resources

Inner Voices by Louis Nowra
The son of Catherine the Great, who has been locked away since childhood, is set upon the throne of Russia knowing only his name. Music by Sarah de Jong. 
 
   Resources
Cast : Crossfire - 5M, 4F (doubling required) / The Christian Brothers - 1M / A Happy and Holy Occasion - 6M, 2F / Inner Voices - 10M, 3F
Currency Press | 978-0-86819-599-5 | PB