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y Brumby Innes : A Play in Three Acts single work   drama   - Three acts
Issue Details: First known date: 1927 1927
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Brumby Innes 'begins with a corroboree and, like Coonardoo, attempts to engage with a portrayal of Aboriginal life. Its central character, Brumby Innes, is a swaggering drunk who exploits the black workers on his station and abuses the women; he bears a close resemblance to Sam Geary in Coonardoo. Yet, Brumby Innes provides the central energy of the drama, and the celebration of that energy in the play conflicts with the dramatic critique of his sexism and racism. Brumby Innes's character exemplifies the ambivalent attitude in Prichard's work toward this type of male hero. Portrayed as stereotypically masculine, such characters are admired for their energetic, vital sexuality; yet, the extreme limitations of such maleness are also acknowledged.'

Source: Bird, Delys. 'Katharine Susannah Prichard.' Australian Writers, 1915-1950. Ed. Selina Samuels. Detroit: Gale, 2002. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 260.

Notes

  • Dedication: To Hilda Esson
  • Prichard submitted Brumby Innes to the 1927 Triad Drama Competition under the pen-name 'Meroo'.
  • The November 1972 production of Brumby Innes at the Pram Factory 'was so successful that a grant was sought and received to film the production. It was filmed at Channel 0 (now Channel 10) and went to air in June 1973 ... One result of the television production was that Koori members of the cast were picked up for other television productions.' (Casey, Maryrose. Creating Frames: Contemporary Indigenous Theatre: 1967-1990 (2004): 63-64.)
  • A sound recording, produced by the ABC, Sydney, 1993, is held at Fryer Library, University of Queensland Library.
  • Other formats: Also sound recording.

Production Details

  • Performed by the Australian Performing Group and Nindethana Theatre at the Pram Factory, Carlton, Melbourne, 1-30 November 1972. Director: John Smythe. Cast: Dennis Miller, Lynette Curran, Vic Marsh, Peter Cummins, Maria Briggs, Val Power, Elizabeth Hoffman, Monica Hoffman, Harry Williams, Joyce Johnson, Jack Charles, Bert Williams, Ian Johnson, Bernie Hoffman.

    Also produced at the Nimrod Uptairs, Surry Hills, Sydney, 28 November 1983; and at the Street Theatre Studio, Acton, Canberra, 23 September 1995.

  • (Brumby Innes did not achieve a promised production with the Melbourne Repertory Theatre although Katharine Susannah Prichard and the director, Gregan McMahon, corresponded about the style and design of the production.)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

      1927 .
      (Manuscript) assertion
      Note/s:
      • Typescript

      Holdings

      Held at: University of Queensland University of Queensland Library Fryer Library
      Note:
      Part of the Hangar Collection of Australian Playscripts.
  • Appears in:
    y Brumby Innes, and Bid Me to Love Katharine Susannah Prichard , Katharine Brisbane (editor), Sydney : Currency Methuen Drama , 1974 Z169610 1974 selected work drama (taught in 8 units)

    'Written in the 1920s, Brumby Innes confronts the turbulent relations between the sexes and the races in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is published with another Prichard play from the 1920s, Bid Me To Love which, by contrast, is set among the fashionable rich in the lush hills outside Perth.'

    'The two plays are compelling for their dramatic styles and for their insight into the novels which followed: Coonardoo and Intimate Strangers. And both had to wait more than forty years for their first production.' (Source: Reading Australia website)

    Sydney : Currency Methuen Drama , 1974
    pg. 49-128
    Note: Includes a preface by Ric Throssell (ix-xviii); notes on the Aboriginal characters in Brumby Innes by Carl von Brandenstein (104-104); a 'Glossary of Aboriginal Words in Ngaala-warngga Occurring in Brumby Innes (105-107) and a 'Glossary of Colloquialisms and Local Terms' (120-121).
  • Appears in:
    y The Penguin Anthology of Australian Women's Writing Dale Spender (editor), Ringwood : Penguin , 1988 Z438138 1988 anthology drama extract short story Ringwood : Penguin , 1988 pg. 543-593
    Note: Appears with the author's preface to the 1940 editition.

Works about this Work

Different Workers : Political Commitment and Subaltern Labour in Katharine Susannah Prichard’s Brumby Innes Ellen Smith , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Postcolonial Writing , vol. 51 no. 6 2015; (p. 648-660)
'Katharine Susannah Prichard’s Aboriginal writings from the 1920s are among the earliest, by a communist, to represent Aboriginal workers in the Australian cattle industry. However, critics have not, in general, situated these writings in relation to Prichard’s Marxist politics or to left-wing discourse more generally. Indeed, there is a general consensus that Prichard’s socialism could not inform her writings about colonial relationships in the way it informed those about white workers. This article reassesses this position by situating her rarely read play Brumby Innes in relation to discourses about race and labour in the Communist Party and on the left in Australia in the 1920s. It argues that Brumby Innes grapples with the disconnection between the concerns of the Australian left and the conditions of Aboriginal workers, at times explicitly pointing to the left’s failure to address the exploitation of Aborigines working on cattle stations. It suggests that Prichard’s own orthodox Marxist commitments were stretched and challenged by her encounter with the Aboriginal worker, and that Brumby Innes constitutes a crucial meditation on silence, political inarticulacy and rage.' (Source: Abstract)
Brutalising the Aboriginal Body : Exposition of White Masculinity in Brumby Innes? Khairul Chowdhury , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Empowering and Disempowering Indigenes : Staging Australian Aboriginal Experience 2010; (p. 260-269)
The Politics of Race and the Possibilities of Form in the Work of Katharine Susannah Prichard Delys Bird , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: Frank Hardy and the Literature of Commitment 2003; (p. 185-197)
y Untitled Michael Walton , Sydney : 1997 8281319 1997 single work thesis

'A history of Katharine Susannah Prichard's 1927 play entitled Brumby Innes. The Prichard papers (NLA MS 6201) at the National Library of Australia were used to write the essay.' (Trove Australia)

Reality, 1927-Style, is Not So Far Away Helen Musa , 1995 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 26 September 1995; (p. 20)

— Review of Brumby Innes : A Play in Three Acts Katharine Susannah Prichard 1927 single work drama
Untitled Kay Dixon , 1995 single work review
— Appears in: Muse , November-December no. 147 1995; (p. 41)

— Review of Brumby Innes : A Play in Three Acts Katharine Susannah Prichard 1927 single work drama ; The Time is Not Yet Ripe : A Comedy in Four Acts Louis Esson 1912 single work drama
Katharine Susannah Prichard's Brumby Innes : Feminism and the Australian Outback S. K. Tikoo , 1994-1995 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Commonwealth Review , vol. 6 no. 1 1994-1995; (p. 59-70)
y Katharine Susannah Prichard and the Representation of Aborigines in Her Short Fiction, 'Brumby Innes' and 'Coonardoo' Lorena Gozzoli , Nedlands : 1994 Z1387821 1994 single work thesis
Gardening in the Never-Never : Women Writers and the Bush Helen Thomson , 1993 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Time to Write : Australian Women Writers 1890-1930 1993; (p. 19-37)
Thomson describes a feminised response to the Australian landscape, an expression of the Arcadian possibilities of the bush, as distinct from the masculine 'realist' response. She also notes women writers' sense of sisterhood with Aboriginal women, expressed through a shared benign relationship with the natural world.
Song of the Little Kangaroos : I Jack Beasley , 1993 single work criticism
— Appears in: A Gallop of Fire : Katharine Susannah Prichard: on Guard for Humanity : a Study of Creative Personality 1993; (p. 73-81)
Two Corroborees : Katharine Susannah Prichard's "Brumby Innes" and Mudrooroo's "Master of the Ghost Dreaming" Sue Hosking , 1992 single work criticism
— Appears in: Myths, Heroes and Anti-Heroes : Essays on the Literature and Culture of the Asia-Pacific Region 1992; (p. 11-19)
Prichard, Brumby Innes and the Frontier Robert Sellick , 1990 single work criticism
— Appears in: (Un)common Ground : Essays in Literatures in English 1990; (p. 75-83)
Katharine Susannah Prichard : A Relunctant Daughter of Mark Twain Ric Throssell , 1989 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , Winter vol. 3 no. 2 1989; (p. 89-93)
Paths Towards Purpose : The Political Plays of Katharine Susannah Prichard and Ric Throssell Ric Throssell , 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. 28-38)
Another Planet : Landscape as Metaphor in Western Australian Theatre Bill Dunstone , 1985 single work criticism
— Appears in: European Relations : Essays for Helen Watson-Williams 1985; (p. 67-79)
Katharine Susannah Prichard and Dionysos : "Bid Me to Love" and "Brumby Innes" D. Biggins , 1983 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: Southerly , September vol. 43 no. 3 1983; (p. 320-331)

'Of Katharine Susannah Prichard's seventeen plays, some remain unproduced, most are unpublished, and two or three appear to be lost. In recent years attention has been drawn to her dramatic writing by the Currency Methuen edition of Bid Me To Love (not previously published), and the revised version of Brumby Innes (originally published in 1940). Both plays were written in 1927. The percipience of their treatment of sexuality has been remarked upon by Margaret Williams, in her review of the Pram Factory's premiere production of Brumby Innes in 1972 and by Katharine Brisbane in her Introduction to the Currency Methuen edition of the plays. Both critics stress Katharine Prichard's forward-looking approach to sexuality, especially in Brumby Innes. Miss Brisbane observes that "Brumby Innes was half a century ahead of its time in the values it gives to romance and sexuality" (p. xxv).' (Publication abstract)

Drama Terry Sturm , 1981 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Oxford History of Australian Literature 1981; (p. 175-267)
Recovery J. J. Healy , 1978-1989 single work criticism
— Appears in: Literature and the Aborigine in Australia 1770- 1975 1989; (p. 139-153)
Natural Sexuality : Katharine Prichard's "Brumby Innes" Margaret Williams , 1973 single work review
— Appears in: Meanjin Quarterly , Autumn vol. 32 no. 1 1973; (p. 91-93)

— Review of Brumby Innes : A Play in Three Acts Katharine Susannah Prichard 1927 single work drama
Untitled Virginia Patricia Duigan , 1972 single work review
— Appears in: The National Times , 6-11 November 1972; (p. 21)

— Review of Brumby Innes : A Play in Three Acts Katharine Susannah Prichard 1927 single work drama
Natural Sexuality : Katharine Prichard's "Brumby Innes" Margaret Williams , 1973 single work review
— Appears in: Meanjin Quarterly , Autumn vol. 32 no. 1 1973; (p. 91-93)

— Review of Brumby Innes : A Play in Three Acts Katharine Susannah Prichard 1927 single work drama
Reality, 1927-Style, is Not So Far Away Helen Musa , 1995 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 26 September 1995; (p. 20)

— Review of Brumby Innes : A Play in Three Acts Katharine Susannah Prichard 1927 single work drama
Untitled Kay Dixon , 1995 single work review
— Appears in: Muse , November-December no. 147 1995; (p. 41)

— Review of Brumby Innes : A Play in Three Acts Katharine Susannah Prichard 1927 single work drama ; The Time is Not Yet Ripe : A Comedy in Four Acts Louis Esson 1912 single work drama
Brumby Innes 1940 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 16 October vol. 61 no. 3166 1940; (p. 2)

— Review of Brumby Innes : A Play in Three Acts Katharine Susannah Prichard 1927 single work drama
Untitled Virginia Patricia Duigan , 1972 single work review
— Appears in: The National Times , 6-11 November 1972; (p. 21)

— Review of Brumby Innes : A Play in Three Acts Katharine Susannah Prichard 1927 single work drama
A Brutal, Vital Bit of Theatre Maurice Dunlevy , 1972 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 25 November 1972; (p. 12)

— Review of Brumby Innes : A Play in Three Acts Katharine Susannah Prichard 1927 single work drama
Untitled L. Glickfeld , 1972 single work review
— Appears in: The Sunday Telegraph , 5 November 1972; (p. 26)

— Review of Brumby Innes : A Play in Three Acts Katharine Susannah Prichard 1927 single work drama
Untitled J. Hocking , 1972 single work review
— Appears in: Nation Review , 4-10 November 1972; (p. 92)

— Review of Brumby Innes : A Play in Three Acts Katharine Susannah Prichard 1927 single work drama
Untitled Leonard Radic , 1972 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 13 December 1972; (p. 2)

— Review of Brumby Innes : A Play in Three Acts Katharine Susannah Prichard 1927 single work drama
Untitled Barry Watts , 1972 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 11 November 1972; (p. 32)

— Review of Brumby Innes : A Play in Three Acts Katharine Susannah Prichard 1927 single work drama
Brumby Innes Ayesha , 1940 single work review
— Appears in: The Western Mail , 26 December 1940; (p. 7)

— Review of Brumby Innes : A Play in Three Acts Katharine Susannah Prichard 1927 single work drama
The Politics of Race and the Possibilities of Form in the Work of Katharine Susannah Prichard Delys Bird , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: Frank Hardy and the Literature of Commitment 2003; (p. 185-197)
Katharine Susannah Prichard's Brumby Innes : Feminism and the Australian Outback S. K. Tikoo , 1994-1995 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Commonwealth Review , vol. 6 no. 1 1994-1995; (p. 59-70)
y Katharine Susannah Prichard and the Representation of Aborigines in Her Short Fiction, 'Brumby Innes' and 'Coonardoo' Lorena Gozzoli , Nedlands : 1994 Z1387821 1994 single work thesis
Brutalising the Aboriginal Body : Exposition of White Masculinity in Brumby Innes? Khairul Chowdhury , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Empowering and Disempowering Indigenes : Staging Australian Aboriginal Experience 2010; (p. 260-269)
Drama Terry Sturm , 1981 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Oxford History of Australian Literature 1981; (p. 175-267)
Prichard, Brumby Innes and the Frontier Robert Sellick , 1990 single work criticism
— Appears in: (Un)common Ground : Essays in Literatures in English 1990; (p. 75-83)
Katharine Susannah Prichard : A Relunctant Daughter of Mark Twain Ric Throssell , 1989 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , Winter vol. 3 no. 2 1989; (p. 89-93)
Recovery J. J. Healy , 1978-1989 single work criticism
— Appears in: Literature and the Aborigine in Australia 1770- 1975 1989; (p. 139-153)
Gardening in the Never-Never : Women Writers and the Bush Helen Thomson , 1993 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Time to Write : Australian Women Writers 1890-1930 1993; (p. 19-37)
Thomson describes a feminised response to the Australian landscape, an expression of the Arcadian possibilities of the bush, as distinct from the masculine 'realist' response. She also notes women writers' sense of sisterhood with Aboriginal women, expressed through a shared benign relationship with the natural world.
Another Planet : Landscape as Metaphor in Western Australian Theatre Bill Dunstone , 1985 single work criticism
— Appears in: European Relations : Essays for Helen Watson-Williams 1985; (p. 67-79)
Two Corroborees : Katharine Susannah Prichard's "Brumby Innes" and Mudrooroo's "Master of the Ghost Dreaming" Sue Hosking , 1992 single work criticism
— Appears in: Myths, Heroes and Anti-Heroes : Essays on the Literature and Culture of the Asia-Pacific Region 1992; (p. 11-19)
A Note on Brumby Innes Dennis Douglas , Margery M. Morgan , 1970 single work criticism
— Appears in: Komos , vol. 2 no. 1970; (p. 139-140)
Katharine Susannah Prichard and Dionysos : "Bid Me to Love" and "Brumby Innes" D. Biggins , 1983 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: Southerly , September vol. 43 no. 3 1983; (p. 320-331)

'Of Katharine Susannah Prichard's seventeen plays, some remain unproduced, most are unpublished, and two or three appear to be lost. In recent years attention has been drawn to her dramatic writing by the Currency Methuen edition of Bid Me To Love (not previously published), and the revised version of Brumby Innes (originally published in 1940). Both plays were written in 1927. The percipience of their treatment of sexuality has been remarked upon by Margaret Williams, in her review of the Pram Factory's premiere production of Brumby Innes in 1972 and by Katharine Brisbane in her Introduction to the Currency Methuen edition of the plays. Both critics stress Katharine Prichard's forward-looking approach to sexuality, especially in Brumby Innes. Miss Brisbane observes that "Brumby Innes was half a century ahead of its time in the values it gives to romance and sexuality" (p. xxv).' (Publication abstract)

Paths Towards Purpose : The Political Plays of Katharine Susannah Prichard and Ric Throssell Ric Throssell , 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. 28-38)
Song of the Little Kangaroos : I Jack Beasley , 1993 single work criticism
— Appears in: A Gallop of Fire : Katharine Susannah Prichard: on Guard for Humanity : a Study of Creative Personality 1993; (p. 73-81)
Dramatic Writing in Australia Nettie Palmer , 1928 single work criticism
— Appears in: Illustrated Tasmanian Mail , 4 April 1928; Nettie Palmer : Her Private Journal Fourteen Years, Poems, Reviews and Literary Essays 1988; (p. 336-339)
y Untitled Michael Walton , Sydney : 1997 8281319 1997 single work thesis

'A history of Katharine Susannah Prichard's 1927 play entitled Brumby Innes. The Prichard papers (NLA MS 6201) at the National Library of Australia were used to write the essay.' (Trove Australia)

Brumby Innes : Australian Drama 1927 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Mail , 27 November 1927; (p. 1)

'Under the auspices of J. and N. Tait, a search was instituted some months ago for an Australian playwright, whose work would be worthy of production in the capital cities. To-day the judges came to a unanimous decision, after reading 107 plays which came from entrants in all States.

'The winner was Katherine [sic] Susannah Prichard, of Greenmount, Western Australia. Under the pen name of Meroo, Miss Prichard entered a three-act drama entitled Brumby Innes. According to Gregan M'Mahon, who probably will be its producer, Brumby Innes is comparable with the best work of Eugene O'Neill, the greatest of all present-day American dramatists.'

Different Workers : Political Commitment and Subaltern Labour in Katharine Susannah Prichard’s Brumby Innes Ellen Smith , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Postcolonial Writing , vol. 51 no. 6 2015; (p. 648-660)
'Katharine Susannah Prichard’s Aboriginal writings from the 1920s are among the earliest, by a communist, to represent Aboriginal workers in the Australian cattle industry. However, critics have not, in general, situated these writings in relation to Prichard’s Marxist politics or to left-wing discourse more generally. Indeed, there is a general consensus that Prichard’s socialism could not inform her writings about colonial relationships in the way it informed those about white workers. This article reassesses this position by situating her rarely read play Brumby Innes in relation to discourses about race and labour in the Communist Party and on the left in Australia in the 1920s. It argues that Brumby Innes grapples with the disconnection between the concerns of the Australian left and the conditions of Aboriginal workers, at times explicitly pointing to the left’s failure to address the exploitation of Aborigines working on cattle stations. It suggests that Prichard’s own orthodox Marxist commitments were stretched and challenged by her encounter with the Aboriginal worker, and that Brumby Innes constitutes a crucial meditation on silence, political inarticulacy and rage.' (Source: Abstract)
Last amended 12 Oct 2016 16:00:19
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