3051570681426323000.jpg
Image courtesy of Penguin Books
y Signs of Life : A Play in One Act single work   drama  
Issue Details: First known date: 2012 2012
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'On a farm that has been parched by a drought of apocalyptic severity, Georgie, a white woman in her fifties, lives alone quietly contemplating her solitude. One evening, the silence of the expansive, isolated property is broken by the sound of a car spluttering to a stop. An Aboriginal man and woman come to the door for help and reluctantly Georgie allows them into her house.

Recently widowed, Georgie is not looking for company. She wants to be alone to mull over her future but her mysterious guests, Mona and Bender, demonstrate an inexplicable reluctance to oblige her.

Author Tim Winton is a household name on account of a succession of celebrated novels but has only very recently turned his attention to writing for the stage. Signs of Life is Winton's second stage play and marks a continuation of the creative partnership he has forged with Kate Cherry, Artistic Director of Perth's Black Swan State Theatre Company.

Winton's dramatic writing has a great deal in common with his prose, stylistically and thematically. Echoing elements of Dirt Music and Cloudstreet, Signs of Life is a work of magical realism where the dead speak with and watch over the living. Gently paced and deeply searching, this delicate new work for the stage is as evocatively atmospheric as any of the author's novels.' (Source: Sydney Theatre Co. website)

Production Details

  • Presented by Sydney Theatre Company, Black Swan State Theatre Company and Commonwealth Bank.
    First performed in Perth from 7 August 2012; performed in Sydney 7 November - 22 December 2012.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 2012
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin , 2013 .
      3051570681426323000.jpg
      Image courtesy of Penguin Books
      Extent: 136p.
      ISBN: 9780143570417 (paperback)

Works about this Work

Australian Literature, Risk, and the Global Climate Challenge Graham Huggan , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Literature, Interpretation, Theory , vol. 26 no. 2 2015; (p. 85-105)
'Envision two scenarios, the one real the other imagined, both played out in Australia's southeast regions. In the imagined one, taken from George Turner's post-apocalyptic story “The Fittest,” the year is 2035 and parts of Melbourne are under water. The embattled city is divided into two camps, the Swill and the Sweet, who make up nine tenths and one tenth of the population, respectively. The Swill live in run-down tenement blocks in the low-lying southern and western areas of the city, which are at the mercy of rising sea levels caused by the catastrophic melting of the ice caps. The Sweet look down on the Swill, both literally and metaphorically, from their privileged vantage on the higher levels. The Swill, meanwhile, are left to fend for themselves in a daily and brutal struggle for survival: jobless, hungry, they are little more than predatory animals, a racially stigmatized underclass equivalent to Asia's barbarian hordes (Maxwell 20–21; Morgan). In the real one, the year is 2013 and parts of Tasmania have been transformed into an inferno. A devastating heatwave covering most of the southern and eastern parts of Australia has caused wildfires to spread, with its largest offshore island bearing the brunt of it. There are few deaths, but hundreds of people are displaced and irreparable damage is done to thousands of hectares of land and property. Media commentators return to that most obdurate if readily reversible of clichés, Australia as un/lucky country, linking the sins of commission (the perils of boom-and-bust economics) to those of omission (the price paid for ecological neglect).1 Spoiling as always for a fight, the British environmental campaigner George Monbiot sanctimoniously reminds his antipodean cousins that they burn twice as much carbon as his own countrymen, and that the history of Australia, framed as a “land of opportunity in which progress is limited only by the rate at which natural resources can be extracted,” doubles as a cautionary tale of what happens when “climate change clashes with a story of great cultural power.” Lest the moral of the story be unclear, Monbiot flourishingly underscores it: “Australia's new weather,” he says, “demands a new politics, a politics capable of responding to an existential threat.”' (Author's introduction)
State of Nature on the Edge of Breakdown Victoria Laurie , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 19 July 2012; (p. 15)
Two-Step Victoria Laurie , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 28 - 29 July 2012; (p. 8-9)

— Review of Signs of Life : A Play in One Act Tim Winton 2012 single work drama
Tim Winton : Author, Playwright, Small-Town Guy Tim Elliott , 2012 single work biography
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 27-28 October 2012; (p. 4-5)
In a World of Their Own Elissa Blake , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 2 November 2012; (p. 11)

— Review of Signs of Life : A Play in One Act Tim Winton 2012 single work drama
Pedersen and Whyman Showing Signs of Life Margaret Smith , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: Koori Mail , 31 October no. 538 2012; (p. 41)
'A new play by celebrated author Tim Winton has brought Aboriginal actor Aaron Pedersen back to the stage.' (Source: Koori Mail, issue 538 2012).
Signs of Life Elissa Blake , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: Sun Herald , 11 November 2012; (p. 13)

— Review of Signs of Life : A Play in One Act Tim Winton 2012 single work drama
A New Generation Delivers Clare Morgan , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 20 October 2011; (p. 4)
Two-Step Victoria Laurie , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 28 - 29 July 2012; (p. 8-9)

— Review of Signs of Life : A Play in One Act Tim Winton 2012 single work drama
In a World of Their Own Elissa Blake , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 2 November 2012; (p. 11)

— Review of Signs of Life : A Play in One Act Tim Winton 2012 single work drama
Signs of Life Elissa Blake , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: Sun Herald , 11 November 2012; (p. 13)

— Review of Signs of Life : A Play in One Act Tim Winton 2012 single work drama
A New Generation Delivers Clare Morgan , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 20 October 2011; (p. 4)
State of Nature on the Edge of Breakdown Victoria Laurie , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 19 July 2012; (p. 15)
Tim Winton : Author, Playwright, Small-Town Guy Tim Elliott , 2012 single work biography
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 27-28 October 2012; (p. 4-5)
Pedersen and Whyman Showing Signs of Life Margaret Smith , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: Koori Mail , 31 October no. 538 2012; (p. 41)
'A new play by celebrated author Tim Winton has brought Aboriginal actor Aaron Pedersen back to the stage.' (Source: Koori Mail, issue 538 2012).
Australian Literature, Risk, and the Global Climate Challenge Graham Huggan , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Literature, Interpretation, Theory , vol. 26 no. 2 2015; (p. 85-105)
'Envision two scenarios, the one real the other imagined, both played out in Australia's southeast regions. In the imagined one, taken from George Turner's post-apocalyptic story “The Fittest,” the year is 2035 and parts of Melbourne are under water. The embattled city is divided into two camps, the Swill and the Sweet, who make up nine tenths and one tenth of the population, respectively. The Swill live in run-down tenement blocks in the low-lying southern and western areas of the city, which are at the mercy of rising sea levels caused by the catastrophic melting of the ice caps. The Sweet look down on the Swill, both literally and metaphorically, from their privileged vantage on the higher levels. The Swill, meanwhile, are left to fend for themselves in a daily and brutal struggle for survival: jobless, hungry, they are little more than predatory animals, a racially stigmatized underclass equivalent to Asia's barbarian hordes (Maxwell 20–21; Morgan). In the real one, the year is 2013 and parts of Tasmania have been transformed into an inferno. A devastating heatwave covering most of the southern and eastern parts of Australia has caused wildfires to spread, with its largest offshore island bearing the brunt of it. There are few deaths, but hundreds of people are displaced and irreparable damage is done to thousands of hectares of land and property. Media commentators return to that most obdurate if readily reversible of clichés, Australia as un/lucky country, linking the sins of commission (the perils of boom-and-bust economics) to those of omission (the price paid for ecological neglect).1 Spoiling as always for a fight, the British environmental campaigner George Monbiot sanctimoniously reminds his antipodean cousins that they burn twice as much carbon as his own countrymen, and that the history of Australia, framed as a “land of opportunity in which progress is limited only by the rate at which natural resources can be extracted,” doubles as a cautionary tale of what happens when “climate change clashes with a story of great cultural power.” Lest the moral of the story be unclear, Monbiot flourishingly underscores it: “Australia's new weather,” he says, “demands a new politics, a politics capable of responding to an existential threat.”' (Author's introduction)
Last amended 19 Jul 2013 10:01:43
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