Oriel Gray lived in Sydney during the early part of her writing career and later re-located to Melbourne. Gray's major output as a playwright was in the period from the 1940s to the 1960s. Her plays are regarded as being ahead of their time due to the complex manner in which they deal with social issues. Gray inventively addressed issues of Aboriginal rights, life in the bush, migrant experience and women's employment.
Oriel Gray's Sur Le Pont is a one-act play set in the wardrobe room of the Talma Theatre in the small French provincial town of Arles in June 1944. The narrative begins shortly after an allied bombing raid has destroyed the armament compound hidden by the German military beneath the town's railway bridge.
The members of the small theatre company, which is currently presenting a revue, become aware that one of them is now passing information to the military police in order to propel his career opportunities elsewhere.(...more)
Set in the 1940s, Had We But World Enough dramatises the tension that arises in a country town over a teacher's decision to cast an Aboriginal girl as the Virgin Mary in a locally-written school nativity play. The casting is approved by the playwright, a journalist for the town's paper, and also a returned soldier who fought alongside Aboriginal servicemen. During the course of the narrative others find themselves being forced into taking sides, however. This leads to consequences that impact on the characters in different ways - affecting careers, relationships, social standing or conscience.(...more)
Set in the Post Office of the fictional town of Koorora a few years after the end of World War II. A desert settlement of some 67 people that exists mainly to support the building of the Trans-Australian Railway line (which crossed the Nullarbor Plain from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta), Koorora typifies the railway workers' joke that their trains 'stop at nothing.' The title is a reference to the local belief that birds, apart from the occasional crow, won't fly over or settle in Koorora because it too far from water.(...more)
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