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 some of the best examples that sprang up in its wake.
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 tells the story of an upwardly mobile family who are bookmakers at Randwick Racecourse, and was significant in the origins of Australian realist drama. It premiered in 1957 and was broadcast by ABC TV in January 1958.
The Slaughter of St Teresa’s Day by Peter Kenna introduces the first of Kenna’s Irish-Australian matriarchs, Oola Maguire.
Image in the Clay by David Ireland blends realism and poetry in a stark portrait of a rural Aboriginal family.
The Life of the Party by Ray Mathew draws a desperate portrait of post-war urban sophisticates trapped in the shadow of the Cold War.