Four plays written between 1966 and 1968, years at the cusp of reform in Australia as a truly local form of contemporary theatre began to make itself felt with a sudden and spontaneous elevation of language.
The turmoil deriving from public debates on conscription and the Vietnam War is vividly debated in Alan Hopgood’s Private Yuk Objects.
James Searle’s The Lucky Streak explores the stifling old-style language of working-class life alongside the aggression, rooted in frustration, in the simplest of domestic conversations.
This Old Man Comes Rolling Home shows Dorothy Hewett seeking to elevate the language of the commonplace, in a bid to ennoble the ordinary Australian.
The final play in the volume, Alex Buzo’s Norm and Ahmed, a study in contrasting language signifying class and education, gained notoriety for Norm’s spectacular final outburst, while Ahmed is one of the first Asian characters on the modern Australian stage.