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Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 Robyn Nevin, Patrick White and the Art of the Modern in Australian Theatre
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'Patrick White's love of the theatre began early in life and he especially enjoyed the company of actors. He wrote roles for specific actors, such as Kerry Walker and Max Cullen, frequently made recommendations to directors as to which actors should play particular parts in his plays, and spent long periods at rehearsals observing quietly. At times, he was overcome with emotion as the actors worked. White also famously 'took up' a few Australian actors and cultivated their friendship, notably Walker and Kate Fitzpatrick. 

'Perhaps more than any other actor, Robyn Nevin brought White's modernist theatricality to life in her extraordinary portrayal of Miss Docker in Jim Sharman's production of A Cheery Soul in 1979. H.G. Kippax described Nevin's performance as 'dazzling', referring to the production as both 'spectacular and poetic'. This article considers Robyn Nevin in the context of theatrical modernism and the plays of Patrick White. Nevin's range is wide and her capacity for comic acting is particularly versatile. Nevin's comic acting in White's plays demonstrates her contribution to an Australian style of acting that is evident in the work of Nevin as well as in that of Walker and Cullen. This style of acting, developed in Australia with directors John Bell, Rex Cramphorn and Jim Sharman, has powerfully shaped our understanding of White's plays and modernist drama, allowing a new perspective on aesthetic modernism. The article focuses on the constellation of White, Sharman and Nevin in creating the landmark production of A Cheery Soul in 1979.'  (Publication abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Australasian Drama Studies Appraising Aesthetic Modernisms in Australian Theatre: Patrick White and Beyond no. 71 October 2017 12749766 2017 periodical issue

    'This Special Issue began life as a one-day symposium at the University of Melbourne in November 2015, called ‘Reappraising Aesthetic Modernisms in Australian Theatre: Patrick White and Beyond’. It aimed to re-engage with the question of modernism as a style, a question of form and an approach to dramaturgy and theatricality in the Australian and international contexts. Some of the articles in this issue were first presented at the Melbourne symposium, while those by theatre artists Kerry Dwyer and Nicola Heywood started out as talks given at ‘Ten Questions about the Australian Theatrical Avant-Garde’, a symposium held at the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Sydney in November 2016, co-convened by Ian Maxwell and Mike Mullins. As a collection, the articles featured in this issue address the question and the problem of aesthetic modernism and its impact on twentieth-century Australian playwriting, performance and staging practices.' (Editorial introduction)

    pg. 68-88
Last amended 19 Jan 2018 12:31:10
68-88 Robyn Nevin, Patrick White and the Art of the Modern in Australian Theatresmall AustLit logo Australasian Drama Studies