Plays of the 50s: Volume 2


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 (1957)
by Barbara Vernon

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 (1959)
by Peter Kenna

This comedy-drama from 1959 introduces the first of Kenna's Irish-Australian matriarchs, Oola Maguire.

Image in the Clay (1960)
by David Ireland

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 (1960)
by Ray Mathew

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.

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