8993365330781242855.jpg
Image taken from NLA copy.
y Summer of the Seventeenth Doll single work   drama   - Three acts
Is part of The Doll Trilogy Ray Lawler 1977 series - author drama (number 3 in series)
Issue Details: First known date: 1955 1955
AustLit is a subscription service. The content and services available here are limited because you have not been recognised as a subscriber. Find out how to gain full access to AustLit

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The most famous Australian play and one of the best loved, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll is a tragicomic story of Roo and Barney, two Queensland sugar-cane cutters who go to Melbourne every year during the 'layoff' to live it up with their barmaid girl friends. The title refers to kewpie dolls, tawdry fairground souvenirs, that they brings as gifts and come, in some readings of the play, to represent adolescent dreams in which the characters seem to be permanently trapped. The play tells the story in traditional well-made, realistic form, with effective curtains and an obligatory scene. Its principal appeal – and that of two later plays with which it forms The Doll Trilogy – is the freshness and emotional warmth, even sentimentality, with which it deals with simple virtues of innocence and youthful energy that lie at the heart of the Australian bush legend.

'Ray Lawler’s play confronts that legend with the harsh new reality of modern urban Australia. The 17th year of the canecutters’ arrangement is different. There has been a fight on the canefields and Roo, the tough, heroic, bushman, has arrived with his ego battered and without money. Barney’s girl friend Nancy has left to get married and is replace by Pearl, who is suspicious of the whole set-up and hopes to trap Barney into marriage. The play charts the inevitable failure of the dream of the layoff, the end of the men’s supremacy as bush heroes and, most poignantly, the betrayal of the idealistic self-sacrifice made by Roo’s girl friend Olive – the most interesting character – to keep the whole thing going. The city emerges victorious, but the emotional tone of the play vindicates the fallen bushman.'

Source: McCallum, John. 'Summer of the Seventeenth Doll.' Companion to Theatre in Australia. Ed. Philip Parson and Victoria Chance. Sydney: Currency Press , 1997: 564-656.

Adaptations

y Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Joy Hollyer , Z981269 1955 single work radio play
form y Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Season of Passion John Dighton , Australia : Hecht-Hill-Lancaster (Australia) , 1959 Z897941 1959 single work film/TV

Queensland canecutters Roo and Barney have spent the previous sixteen summers off in Sydney with their girlfriends, Olive and Nancy. Each year, Barney has ritualistically presented Olive (a barmaid) with a kewpie doll. Time has begun to take its toll, however, and this seventeenth summer is very different. After a bad season--which saw him lose his position as head canecutter to a younger man, Dowd--Roo quits the gang, leaving him without a job and short of money. His and Barney's friendship is subsequently tested when Barney decides to continue working under Dowd. In another change since their last visit, Nancy has married, and although Olive has arranged for Pearl, a manicurist, to move in with Barney, the new arrangement doesn't feel right. When Roo tries to persuade Olive to settle down with him in marriage after all these years, she at first refuses angrily but later accepts.

The film's screenplay moves the play's location from the Melbourne suburb of Carlton to Sydney. The theme of faded dreams is also weakened by a more optimistic ending.

form y Summer of the Seventeenth Doll United Kingdom (UK) : British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) , 1964 6502039 1964 single work film/TV

BBC adaptation of Lawler's play for television.

y Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Peter Goldsworthy , Richard Mills , Melbourne : Australian Broadcasting Corporation , 1997 Z898075 1996 single work musical theatre opera An operatic adaptation of the Australian drama telling of Roo and Barney, Queensland canecutters who for sixteen years have spent the off-season in Sydney with their girlfriends. Each summer Barney ritualistically presents his girl Olive, a barmaid with a kewpie doll. But the seventeenth summer is different; time has begun to take its toll. The themes of faded dreams, idealism, disillusionment and the determination to live bring out a quintessential Australian boisterous flavour while portraying what happens when the values of the outback hero conflict with urban domesticity.
y Doll Seventeen Jacqui Carroll , Australia : Contemporary Arts Media , 2003 Z981257 2002 single work drama fantasy

'The original work on which this production is based is the classic Australian play, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. This play put Australian theatre on the international map in the 1950's, and remains a seminal work in the Australian canon with its evocative rendering of lost time. Playwright, Ray Lawler, gave permission for Jacqui Carroll to reconfigure his most famous work as a theatrical fantasy. This work has a mystical aura through the use of imagery that is both cartoon-like and surreal. Ninety percent of the dialogue has been replaced by movement and music that is entertaining, poignant and witty.

'Olive, Roo, Barney, Pearl remain as the dreamy main characters and, surrounded by the vocal and musical chorus of the three probing realists, they continually search for past happiness in a world that has changed forever. In this production the Doll has morphed into a life sized fairy that flits in and out, casting her charming, eccentric spell over everyone.'

Source: Artfilms website, Doll Seventeen entry: http://www.artfilms.com.au/Detail.aspx?ItemID=2096.

Sighted: 03/03/ 2015.

Notes

  • Study guides also available.
  • An excerpt from the play was broadcast on BBC Television's Theatre Night program, 27 May 1957
  • Other formats: Also braille, sound recording.

Production Details

  • First produced at the Union Theatre, University of Melbourne on 28 November 1955 with Lawler in the role of Barney, and then at the Elizabethan Theatre, Sydney, 11 January 1956. Seasons directed by John Sumner.
  • Produced in London in 1957. A New York season followed in 1958.
  • First performed with Other Times and Kid Stakes as The Doll Trilogy at the Russell Street Theatre, Melbourne on 12 February 1977.
  • Broadcast on ABC Radio National on Sunday 9 January 2011 as part of the Playing the 20th Century series.
  • Produced at Sydney's Belvoir Street Theatre from 24 September, 2011.

Contents

* Contents derived from the Paddington, Kings Cross area, Inner Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales,: Currency Press , 1978 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
The Play in the Theatre, 1955-1978 single work criticism (p. xxiii-xxxx)
Growing Up in Australia, Katharine Brisbane , 1955 single work criticism (p. ix-xxii)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1955
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Sydney, New South Wales,: Angus and Robertson , 1957 .
      Extent: 128p.
      Edition info: 1st ed.
      Note/s:
      • Dedication: To John Sumner who directed the play from Melbourne to London, and to The Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust which made such a journey possible
      • Published July 1957.
      • Made and printed in Great Britain.
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Samuel French , 1957 .
      Extent: 90p.
      Note/s:
      • Copyright 1957. No other date indicated.
      ISBN: 0573014329
      Series: French's Acting Editions series - publisher Number in series: 529
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Random House , 1957 .
      Alternative title: Summer of the Seventeenth Doll : A New Play
      Extent: 142p.
      Reprinted: 1959 [New York] : New American Library.
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Sydney, New South Wales,: Angus and Robertson , 1957 .
      Extent: 128p.
      Edition info: 2nd ed.
      Note/s:
      • Verso of title page states that the first edition was published July 1957, and second edition September 1957.
      • Made and printed in Great Britain.
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Fontana , 1959 .
      Extent: 128p.
      Reprinted: 1959 , 1965 , 1964 , 1973 (12th impression)
      ISBN: 0006124550
    • New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Signet , 1959 .
      Extent: 127p., [4] leaves of platesp.
      Note/s:
      • 'Published as a Signet Book by arrangement with Random House Inc.' p.[3].
Alternative title: Der Sommer der siebzehnten Puppe
Language: German

Works about this Work

Dolls Revisited Patrick McDonald , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 18 April 2015; (p. 33)
The Way We Were Ray Lawler , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Adelaide Review , May no. 423 2015; (p. 28)
Pressure Okay Jennifer Down , 2015 single work short story
— Appears in: The Sleepers Almanac X 2015; (p. 1-12)
The Life of Bottom Class : A Historical Reflection of Ray Lawler's Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Song Xiaorong , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Oceanic Literary Studies , no. 2 2015; (p. 61-74)
'Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, created by Australian dramatist Ray Lawler, is widely acclaimed by the literary circles as a real Australian drama with historical significance. The play not only makes a declaration to the world the birth of Australian national drama, but also through the depiction of the life of the bottom social class in Australia, expresses the author's concern and reflection of the historical context of the play, namely the 1950s, the crucial period in Australia national development, during which the construction of Australian cultural identity, the role of women, and the stereotyped image of man have undergone a transition and change.' (61-62)
Worlds Within : Hayes Gordon, Zika Nester, Henri Szeps and the Transformations of Australian Theatre Anne Pender , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 15 no. 3 2015;
'This essay examines the lives and work of three important Australian actors, Hayes Gordon, Zika Nester and Henri Szeps. It explores their contribution to theatre in Australia in the context of Vilahsini Cooppan’s ‘politics of relationality’, in which the national and the global are ‘dual ideas held in balance’. The extraordinary work of Gordon, Nester and Szeps shows a direct connection between individual imagination and lived experience, and that of the nation in the post-imperial period. Each of the three actors have brought a unique understanding of Stanislavsky to the Australian theatre and have contributed to making the Ensemble Theatre in Sydney the most successful independent theatre in Australia over more than half a century.' (Publication abstract)
Endless Summer Rosemary Neill , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 25-26 April 2015; (p. 6)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
'As Ray Lawler’s iconic play turns 60, Rosemary Neill talks to the playwright, still going strong at 93.'
60th Year of Seventeenth Doll Murray Bramwell , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 30 April 2015; (p. 14)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Review (Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide) Ben Brooker , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: Daily Review , 30 April 2015;

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
'Unlike the other play that won first prize in the 1955 Playwright Advisory Board Competition — Oriel Gray’s The Torrents – Ray Lawler’s Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (just as often known simply as the Doll) has never been permitted to fade into obscurity...'
y Exploring Issues of Identity and Belonging Bruce Pattinson , Seven Hills : Five Senses Education , 2014 9010570 2014 selected work criticism

'Study notes and a workshop approach to Ray Lawler's Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, Patti Miller's The Mind of the Thief, Mudrooroo's Wild Cat Falling, Anthony Fabian's Skin.' (Publication summary)

Lament on Lost Youth Lives On Raymond Gill , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Saturday Age , 14 January 2012; (p. 18-19)
Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Icon of Australian Theatre Returns 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 7 February 2012; (p. 36-37)
Explore Adventure of the Theatre Experience 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 9 February 2012; (p. 40)
The Days of Summer Fiona Purdon , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 18 - 19 February 2012; (p. 4-5)
y Ray Lawler’s Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Insight Text Guides – Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Anica Boulanger-Mashberg , 2012 6896713 2012 single work criticism
Beautiful Doll: A Revived Australian Classic Sets This Actor on a New Stage Phil Brown , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: Brisbane News , 8 -14 February no. 868 2012; (p. 12)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
Actors' Muted Impact James Harper , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 28 February 2012; (p. 48)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
'This Harsh, Cawing, Strongly Felt Play' John Rickard , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , March no. 339 2012; (p. 21-22)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
John Rickard places Ray Lawler's Summer of the Seventeenth Doll in its historical context and specifically reviews Neil Armfield and Belvoir Theatre's 2011-2012 revival.
Transcending Place and Time Glenn Burns , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 16 March 2012; (p. 9)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
'It's a Bit Harrowing Really, Hearing the Lines Again, After All These Years' Steve Meacham , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 3-4 September 2011; (p. 4-5)
In Due Season Graeme Blundell , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 3 - 4 August 2011; (p. 10, 12)
Graeme Blundell talks to ray Lawler about the revival of The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll.
Curtain Fall H. G. Kippax , 1966 single work review
— Appears in: Nation , 3 September 1966; (p. 17-18) A Leader of His Craft : Theatre Reviews by H. G. Kippax 2004; (p. 137-141)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
The Endless Summer Tonya Turner , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 26 - 27 April 2008; (p. 11)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
Rough and Tumble the Actor's Lot Rosemary Sorensen , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 1 May 2008; (p. 10)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
On the Rebound Katherine Lyall-Watson , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: Brisbane News , 14 - 20 May no. 685 2008; (p. 33)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
A Clear-Eyed Revival for the 21st Century John McCallum , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 30 September 2011; (p. 17)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
Untitled Elissa Blake , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 9 October 2011; (p. 13)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
Characters Caught Unawares by the Speed of Life Jason Blake , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 30 September 2011; (p. 10)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
Beautiful Doll: A Revived Australian Classic Sets This Actor on a New Stage Phil Brown , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: Brisbane News , 8 -14 February no. 868 2012; (p. 12)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
Actors' Muted Impact James Harper , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 28 February 2012; (p. 48)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
'This Harsh, Cawing, Strongly Felt Play' John Rickard , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , March no. 339 2012; (p. 21-22)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
John Rickard places Ray Lawler's Summer of the Seventeenth Doll in its historical context and specifically reviews Neil Armfield and Belvoir Theatre's 2011-2012 revival.
Transcending Place and Time Glenn Burns , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 16 March 2012; (p. 9)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
Untitled Marguerite I. Birch , 1956 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Quarterly , March vol. 28 no. 1 1956; (p. 124-125)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
Theatre Notes Thespis , 1957 single work review
— Appears in: English , vol. 11 no. 1957; (p. 229-231)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
Untitled Katharine Brisbane , 1973 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 6 September 1973; (p. 10)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
Untitled L. Browne , 1973 single work review
— Appears in: The National Times , 10-15 September 1973; (p. 22)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
Untitled T. Schick , 1973 single work review
— Appears in: Nation Review , 14-20 September 1973; (p. 1520)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
Untitled I. Somers , 1973 single work review
— Appears in: Union Recorder , vol. 53 no. 1973; (p. 300)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
Another Summer, Another Doll Stan Marks , 1976-1977 single work review
— Appears in: Theatre Australia , Christmas vol. 1 no. 5 1976-1977; (p. 42-43)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
[Untitled] L. Glickfeld , 1977 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian Jewish News , 4 February 1977; (p. 14)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
Untitled Gus Worby , 1979 single work review
— Appears in: Theatre Australia , vol. 3 no. 7 1979; (p. 33)

— Review of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Ray Lawler 1955 single work drama
'Summer of the Seventeenth Doll' and 'Summer of the Aliens' : Arcadia, Dystopia and the Australian Ethos T. G. A. Nelson , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: 'Unemployed at Last!' : Essays on Australian Literature to 2002 for Julian Croft 2002; (p. 105-118)
Compares the representations of Australians and Australian life and ethos in Lawler's and Nowra's plays.
Engaging the Audience Christa de Jager , 2003 single work column
— Appears in: Muse , July no. 230 2003; (p. 5)
Recognising the Rituals of Lawler Anna Murdoch (interviewer), 1983 single work criticism interview biography
— Appears in: The Age , 31 December 1983; (p. 7) The Advertiser , 14 January 1984; (p. 34)
Coming of Age on Stage Graeme Blundell , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 26-27 November 2005; (p. 16-17)
On the fiftieth anniversary of the first production of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Graeme Blundell recalls the impact Lawler's '"state-of-the-nation" play at a crucial time of change.'
Lawler and His Summer of the Seventeenth Doll 黄源深 , 1995 single work criticism
— Appears in: A Unique Literature : A Critical View of Australian Literary Works 1995; (p. 106-112)
Before 'The Doll' Eunice Hanger , 1960 single work criticism
— Appears in: Galmahra 1960; (p. 11, 13, 15, 17)
In Celebration of the True-Blue Tongue Jonathan Dart , 2007 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 15 December 2007; (p. 21)
Summer of the Seventeenth Doll was one of the first plays that really captured the vernacular of Australia.
The Doll and Australia 1958 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 28 January 1958; (p. 2)
'The Doll' in New York Hugh Hastings , 1958 single work correspondence
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 25 January 1958; (p. 2)
Reflections on a Revival of the Doll Ian Callinan , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , November no. 306 2008; (p. 43-45)
More than fifty years after first seeing a production of Ray Lawler's Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, Ian Callinan reflects on the experience of watching La Boite's 2008 revival of a classic Australian play.
Be Warned : This Show Is Special Lawrence Money , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 8 December 2008; (p. 18)
y Companion to Ray Lawler, The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll and Alan Seymour, The One Day of the Year J. G. Baker , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1965 Z1556867 1965 single work criticism
A Fall of Eagles : Ray Lawler's Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Peter Fitzpatrick , 1982 single work criticism
— Appears in: Viewpoints : H.S.C. English Literature , no. 83 1982; (p. 175-183)
Contexts of 'The Doll' : Discussion of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Peter Pierce , 1985 single work criticism
— Appears in: Viewpoints : H.S.C. English Literature , no. 86 1985; (p. 170-176)
Settling the Land John McCallum , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Belonging : Australian Playwriting in the 20th Century 2009; (p. 51-76)
Into the City John McCallum , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Belonging : Australian Playwriting in the 20th Century 2009; (p. 77-90)
y A Text Response Guide to Ray Lawler's Summer of the 17th Doll Kerry-Ann O'Sullivan , Ballarat : Wizard Books , 1994 Z1612237 1994 single work criticism
y The Historical Relations Between Theatre and Film: 'The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll' Tom O'Regan , Perth : Centre for Research in Culture and Communication (Murdoch University) , 1995 Z1627641 1987 single work criticism Using the theatrical and film productions of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll as an example, Tom O'Regan explores the failure of film studies to create the kind of productive relationship with theatre/performance studies that it had had for more than a decade with literary theory. He argues that 'nowhere is this more evident than in the separation of the study of Australian theatre and filmmaking in critical discourse. This is despite the fact that the theatre has constituted a reference point for film producers from pre-sound cinema days to the present in terms of film properties, script-writers, acting talent, and directors; and there has always been a significant crossing over of personnel from one medium to the other right up to David Williamson in the present.'
Why Our Art's in the Wrong Place Michaela Boland , 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 10 November 2009; (p. 1)
Gendered Terrorism : Intertext, Context, and Richard Flanagan's The Unknown Terrorist Theodore F. Sheckels , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 24 no. 1 2010; (p. 35-39)
Last amended 5 Mar 2015 12:01:09
Settings:
  • Carlton, Parkville - Carlton area, Melbourne - North, Melbourne, Victoria,
  • Ingham - Cairns area, Queensland,
  • 1950s
Influence on:
Explore:
8360883
8360828
Newspapers:
    Powered by Trove
    X