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 how 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.
In 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.
Coralie Lansdowne Says No by Alex Buzo is about 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.
How Does Your Garden Grow by Jim McNeil examines a prisoner’s need for domestic comforts.
The Cake Man by Robert Merritt is a landmark play portraying life on a mission in Western NSW. This play shows white Christian paternalism from a black point of view, and was 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.