y A Happy Family single work   drama   humour   - Four acts
First known date: 1922 Issue Details: First known date: 1922 1922
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Landy, a mail contractor, and Bentley, owner of the Glenbar station used to be best mates. Now they are bitter enemies, and their years of quarrelling has left its mark on both men, their families and the local community. This tit for tat feud began when Bentley accused Landy of putting his own brand on some Glenbar calves. It is a claim that Landy has long denied, and the long stand-off has seen no sign of resolution. Things change, however, when Bentley's estranged son, Con, returns home. His departure brought about by enmity between himself and his father's new wife.

With the town split between those who one support Bentley or Landy, Con's arrival is the subject of much gossip. The situation may not be as black and white as it seems, however. In refusing to blame Con for a quarrel that started after he left home, Landy's youngest daughter, Nora, is on the outer with her parents. Similarly Bentley is unhappy with his son's blossoming friendship with Nora. A lot will have to change, then if each is to once again become a happy family.

The characters in the play are: Pat Landy, Mrs Landy, Norah Landy, Etty Landy, Dave Watson (bushman, engaged to Ettie), Chris Bentley, Con Bentley, Macy Duncan (Glenbar overseer), Mrs Duncan (his wife), Sway (agent for the coach), Sergeant (policeman).

The play is set in a cattle-raising district sometime around 1910.

The scenes are:

Act 1: Interior of a shanty - the changing place for the coach

Act 2: Dining-room of the Glenbar station

Act 3: Office of Sway

Act 4. The Shanty.

Palmer intended that the play include several songs - suggesting 'The Overlander' and 'There was a Merry Swagman." Several dances are also indicated.

Notes

  • A Happy Family was one of the early plays produced by the Pioneer Players, a Sydney-based repertory society founded in 1922 by Louis Esson, William Moore, and Vance Palmer.
  • In 1926 A Happy Family became the inaugural production for the newly-founded Brisbane Repertory Society.
  • The manuscript held by the Fryer Library, The University of Queensland, includes detailed notes and drawings for the staging of the play.

Production Details

  • 1922: Temperance Hall, Melbourne; 21 September - [world premiere]

    • Producer: Pioneer Players.
    • Cast: Leo Burke, Allan Murray, C. H. Row, Charles Loherty, Eileen O'Keefe, Hilda Ball, Alice Crowther, Frank Keon, T. Kanake, Irene Appleton, J. O'Connell, and Frank Rollett.

    1926: Theatre Royal, Brisbane; 22-23 October

    • Producer Brisbane Repertory Theatre Society; Director Rhoda Felgate
    • Cast: Jean Trundle, Gwen Campbell, George Eaton, Rhoda Felgate, Douglas Henderson, Roy Bulcock, E. Whatmore, Tom Stephens, Christina Wilson, Leo Guyatt, W.A. Blake, T.M. Barry, Jean Mactaggart, Cecile Pritchard, Enid Stuart, Margery Stuart

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1921
      .
      (Manuscript) assertion

      Holdings

      Held at: University of Queensland University of Queensland Library Fryer Library
      Location: The Hanger Collection of Australian Playscripts
      Local Id: H1325
      Note:
      Typescript (photocopy). This is a photocopy of the original manuscript held in the National Library of Australia.

      Holdings

      Held at: University of New England Dixson Library
      Location: Campbell Howard Collection
      Local Id: 304

      Holdings

      Held at: National Library of Australia
      Location: No details

Works about this Work

'A Happy Family' James Devaney , 1926 single work review
— Appears in: The Daily Mail , 23 October 1926; (p. 16)

— Review of A Happy Family Vance Palmer 1922 single work drama
Movements, Players, and a New Play E. C. Davidson , 1922 single work criticism
— Appears in: Corroboree : The Journal of the Australian Literature Society , September vol. 1 no. 12 1922; (p. 6-7)
In reviewing the production of Vance Palmer's play, the writer issues an urgent plea for the establishment of an Australian National Drama and a School of Acting, warning of the possibility 'of our drama becoming provincial rather than representative of national'.
Sundry Shows 1922 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 28 September vol. 43 no. 2224 1922; (p. 34)

— Review of A Happy Family Vance Palmer 1922 single work drama
'A Happy Family' James Devaney , 1926 single work review
— Appears in: The Daily Mail , 23 October 1926; (p. 16)

— Review of A Happy Family Vance Palmer 1922 single work drama
Sundry Shows 1922 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 28 September vol. 43 no. 2224 1922; (p. 34)

— Review of A Happy Family Vance Palmer 1922 single work drama
Movements, Players, and a New Play E. C. Davidson , 1922 single work criticism
— Appears in: Corroboree : The Journal of the Australian Literature Society , September vol. 1 no. 12 1922; (p. 6-7)
In reviewing the production of Vance Palmer's play, the writer issues an urgent plea for the establishment of an Australian National Drama and a School of Acting, warning of the possibility 'of our drama becoming provincial rather than representative of national'.
Last amended 20 Jun 2016 14:28:15
Subjects:
  • Bush,
  • Queensland,
  • Australian Outback, Central Australia,
Settings:
  • Western Queensland, Queensland,
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