y The Touch of Silk single work   drama   - Three acts
Issue Details: First known date: 1928 1928
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

A poignant drama centred on Jeanne, a homesick French war bride and her shell-shocked husband battling hardship and prejudice in a drought-stricken Mallee town.

Adaptations

y The Touch of Silk Betty Roland , 2011 9508264 2011 single work radio play

A poignant drama centred on Jeanne, a homesick French war bride and her shell-shocked husband battling hardship and prejudice in a drought-stricken Mallee town.

Notes

  • All productions and publications of this play after 1933 are credited to Betty Roland.
  • The Touch of Silk was revised in 1955.
  • Other formats: Also braille and sound recording.

Production Details

  • First produced by Frank Clewlow and the Melbourne Repertory Theatre at the Playhouse Theatre, Melbourne, 3 November 1928.

    Later productions have included:

    • Turret Theatre Company, Sydney, in 1929.
    • Adelaide Repertory Theatre, 24 May 1930.
    • Numerous amateur and at least 15 radio productions in Australia between 1938 and 1957.

    The first professional production was staged in 1976 at the Independent Theatre, Sydney.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

      1928 .
      Extent: 31 leavesp.
      Description: Typescript (photocopy).
      Written as: Betty M. Davies
      (Manuscript) assertion
      Note/s:
      • This version has one act.
      • Original in Australian Archives, ACT, accession A1336/1, item 17141. Includes copies of application for registration of copyright, 1928.

      Holdings

      Held at: University of Queensland University of Queensland Library Fryer Library
      Location: The Hanger Collection of Australian Playscripts
      Local Id: H1918

Works about this Work

Storytelling Permutations in the Performance of Life Narrative Betty Roland’s Caviar for Breakfast Maureen Clark , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Transnational Literature , November vol. 6 no. 1 2013;

Betty Roland (1903-1996), a little-known figure in Australian literary circles, was a prolific storyteller. Whilst there are few zones of literature into which she did not venture between the late 1920s and 1990, Roland is perhaps best remembered as a dramatist. Her Australian outback melodrama, The Touch of Silk, was first performed by the Melbourne Repertory Company in 1928, and is still produced today. Reviewers of the time described the play as ‘a beautiful and abiding piece’ of theatre, and named Roland as Australia’s first genuine playwright. Silk’s bleak twists and far-reaching insights into authoritarian bourgeois morality, helped to make it the first among a number of successful radio serials for Roland and paved the way for later film scripts. Perhaps because she was a playwright rather than a novelist at the time, Roland has never been grouped with Australia’s celebrated women writers of the 1920s and 30s, such as Miles Franklin, Eleanor Dark and Katharine Susannah Prichard. Roland was, however, engaged in a burgeoning cosmopolitan print-culture that extended well beyond those years as well as Australian borders. (Author's introduction)

Turn of the Century John McCallum , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Belonging : Australian Playwriting in the 20th Century 2009; (p. 1-22)
An Interview with Betty Roland Nicole Moore (interviewer), 2007 single work interview
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 67 no. 1-2 2007; (p. 362-376)
Rattling the Manacles : Genre and Nationalism in the Neglected Plays of the Campbell Howard Collection, 1920-1955 John McCallum , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: 'Unemployed at Last!' : Essays on Australian Literature to 2002 for Julian Croft 2002; (p. 86-104)
McCallum draws attention to a number of neglected plays of the 1920s-1950s in the Howard Collection and discusses the reasons why they were neglected unlike, for instance, the plays of Louis Esson. He argues that many of the best Campbell Howard plays didn't fit into the standard history of Australian drama. However, many skillful and professional playwrights whose scripts Howard collected were trying to write for the commercial theatre, and, a nationalist theatre lacking, wrote genre plays, "mostly realistic melodramas, thrillers and drawing room comedies" - the truly neglected Australian plays. Focussing on the sub-genres of bush realist melodrama, station dramas, family sagas, and country town comedies and dramas, McCallum's essay looks at a number of these plays, and at the interaction between genre and the goals of the nationalists.
Purse Strings and Apron Strings : Women's Economic Agency Susan Pfisterer , Carolyn Pickett , 1999 single work criticism
— Appears in: Playing with Ideas : Australian Women Playwrights from the Suffragettes to the Sixties 1999; (p. 95-127)
Into the Fray : Women and War Susan Pfisterer , Carolyn Pickett , 1999 single work criticism
— Appears in: Playing with Ideas : Australian Women Playwrights from the Suffragettes to the Sixties 1999; (p. 128-162)
Four Australian Women Playwrights Iris O'Loughlin , Marjorie Fitzgerald , Mona Brand , Nancy Wills , 1995 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Feminist Studies , no. 21 1995; (p. 129-152)
Four Australian women playwrights discuss aspects of their work. Includes extracts from plays performed at the conference.
Reading Touches Still Current Issues Ann Nugent , 1995 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 20 September 1995; (p. 39)

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Untitled Peter Robinson , 1995 single work review
— Appears in: Muse , October no. 146 1995; (p. 29-30)

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Betty Roland : Life Enhancer Berwyn Lewis , 1989 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Australian Magazine , 29-30 April 1989; (p. 5)
y Australian War Drama: 1909 to 1939 Susan Diana Cullen , 1989 Z362683 1989 single work thesis
y An Improbable Life Betty Roland , Sydney : Collins , 1989 Z552022 1989 single work autobiography
Introduction Philip Parsons , 1988 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Touch of Silk [and] Granite Peak 1988; (p. vii-xxiii)
Delights of the Improbable Life Anna Murdoch , 1988 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: The Age , 24 September 1988; (p. 10)
Telling Touch Jennifer Ellison , 1988 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 11 October vol. 110 no. 5639 1988; (p. 140)

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Untitled Chris Boyd , 1988 single work review
— Appears in: The Melbourne Times , 28 September 1988;

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Untitled Lewis Glasscastle , 1988 single work review
— Appears in: Melbourne Report , November 1988;

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Untitled John Larkin , 1988 single work review
— Appears in: The Sunday Press , 2 October 1988;

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Untitled David Matthews , 1988 single work review
— Appears in: The Herald , 26 September 1988;

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Untitled Leonard Radic , 1988 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 27 September 1988;

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Uneven Classic David Matthews , 1985 single work review
— Appears in: The Adelaide Review , November no. 19 1985; (p. 18)

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Melbourne Theatres Caleb Mortimer , 1929 single work review
— Appears in: The Home , 2 January vol. 10 no. 1 1929; (p. 18)

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Four Plays by Australians Joan Morgan , 1942 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Quarterly , vol. 14 no. 4 1942; (p. 110-111)

— Review of Red Sky at Morning : A Play in Three Acts Dymphna Cusack 1935 single work drama ; Daybreak : A Play in Three Acts Catherine Shepherd 1942 single work drama ; Interval : A Play in Three Acts Sumner Locke Elliott 1942 single work drama ; The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Six Plays 1942 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 23 September vol. 63 no. 3267 1942; (p. 2)

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
To-Day on the British Stage 1943 single work review
— Appears in: The Times Literary Supplement , 20 February 1943; (p. 94)

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Telling Touch Jennifer Ellison , 1988 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 11 October vol. 110 no. 5639 1988; (p. 140)

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
More Than a Touch of Class Brian Hoad , 1975 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 11 October vol. 97 no. 4978 1975; (p. 59)

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Untitled Chris Boyd , 1988 single work review
— Appears in: The Melbourne Times , 28 September 1988;

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Untitled Lewis Glasscastle , 1988 single work review
— Appears in: Melbourne Report , November 1988;

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Untitled John Larkin , 1988 single work review
— Appears in: The Sunday Press , 2 October 1988;

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Untitled David Matthews , 1988 single work review
— Appears in: The Herald , 26 September 1988;

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Untitled Leonard Radic , 1988 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 27 September 1988;

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Reading Touches Still Current Issues Ann Nugent , 1995 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 20 September 1995; (p. 39)

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Untitled Peter Robinson , 1995 single work review
— Appears in: Muse , October no. 146 1995; (p. 29-30)

— Review of The Touch of Silk Betty M. Davies 1928 single work drama
Rattling the Manacles : Genre and Nationalism in the Neglected Plays of the Campbell Howard Collection, 1920-1955 John McCallum , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: 'Unemployed at Last!' : Essays on Australian Literature to 2002 for Julian Croft 2002; (p. 86-104)
McCallum draws attention to a number of neglected plays of the 1920s-1950s in the Howard Collection and discusses the reasons why they were neglected unlike, for instance, the plays of Louis Esson. He argues that many of the best Campbell Howard plays didn't fit into the standard history of Australian drama. However, many skillful and professional playwrights whose scripts Howard collected were trying to write for the commercial theatre, and, a nationalist theatre lacking, wrote genre plays, "mostly realistic melodramas, thrillers and drawing room comedies" - the truly neglected Australian plays. Focussing on the sub-genres of bush realist melodrama, station dramas, family sagas, and country town comedies and dramas, McCallum's essay looks at a number of these plays, and at the interaction between genre and the goals of the nationalists.
Australian Literature Society [Meeting Report] 1930 single work column adventure
— Appears in: All About Books , 18 August vol. 2 no. 8 1930; (p. 198)
Palmer denies the rumour that Franklin is Brent of Bin-Bin, Leckie reviews A Touch of Silk and Derham concludes that women 'are not natural artists'.
Four Australian Women Playwrights Iris O'Loughlin , Marjorie Fitzgerald , Mona Brand , Nancy Wills , 1995 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Feminist Studies , no. 21 1995; (p. 129-152)
Four Australian women playwrights discuss aspects of their work. Includes extracts from plays performed at the conference.
An Interview with Betty Roland Nicole Moore (interviewer), 2007 single work interview
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 67 no. 1-2 2007; (p. 362-376)
Turn of the Century John McCallum , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Belonging : Australian Playwriting in the 20th Century 2009; (p. 1-22)
Recent Australian Drama in Print Allan Ashbolt , 1946 single work criticism
— Appears in: Focus , December-January vol. 1 no. 11 1946-1947; (p. 31-33)
Drama Terry Sturm , 1981 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Oxford History of Australian Literature 1981; (p. 175-267)
The Recent Past May Too Often Be Outdated Ron Blair , 1975 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 27 September 1975; (p. 9)
After 46 Years, Betty's Touch Returns Neil Jillett , 1974 single work column
— Appears in: The Herald , 23 March 1974; (p. 6)
The Play that Waited 47 Years Lenore Nicklin , 1975 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 20 September 1975; (p. 9)
Betty Roland's 'The Touch of Silk' and 'Granite Peak' Sue Thomas , 1986 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australasian Drama Studies , April no. 8 1986; (p. 81-94)
Play Takes a Bow 47 Years Late Jock Veitch , 1975 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Sunday Telegraph , 21 September 1975; (p. 42)
Introduction Philip Parsons , 1988 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Touch of Silk [and] Granite Peak 1988; (p. vii-xxiii)
Betty Roland : Life Enhancer Berwyn Lewis , 1989 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Australian Magazine , 29-30 April 1989; (p. 5)
The Development of Australian Drama William Moore , 1937 single work criticism
— Appears in: Best Australian One-Act Plays 1937; (p. xix-xxvii)
Delights of the Improbable Life Anna Murdoch , 1988 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: The Age , 24 September 1988; (p. 10)
Privileged, Authentic, Transcendent, Arcane: Limits of Naturalism in Some Contemporary Australian Plays Judith Barbour , 1977 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , March vol. 37 no. 1 1977; (p. 77-92)
y Australian War Drama: 1909 to 1939 Susan Diana Cullen , 1989 Z362683 1989 single work thesis
The Live Theatre H. A. Lindsay , 1958 single work correspondence
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 3 September vol. 79 no. 4099 1958; (p. 47)
Sports Lovers and Sports Haters : Attitudes to Sport in Some Australian Plays Richard Fotheringham , 1986 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Drama 1920-1955 : Papers Presented to a Conference at the University of New England, Armidale, September 1-4, 1984 1986; (p. 89-98)
Last amended 6 May 2016 11:45:08
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