AustLit logo
Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 Making Room for Modernism : The 1979 Sydney Theatre Company Production of Patrick White's a Cheery Soul
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The question for theatre-makers is: how to make the stage new? How can theatre escape what is already given? 'The painter does not paint on an empty canvas', write Deleuze and Guattari, 'and neither does the writer write on a blank page; but the page or canvas is already so covered with preexisting, preestablished clich s that it is first necessary to erase, to clean, to flatten, even to shred, so as to let in a breath of air from the chaos that brings us the vision'. We might say that the stage, too, no less than the canvas and the page, is full of clich s, pre-established rhythms of characterisation and plotting, in dialogue and gesture, setting and design, which crowd on to every stage and ghost every performance. Based on a viewing of a recently restored archival recording, this article offers the example of the 1979 Sydney Theatre Company production of Patrick White's A Cheery Soul. Sweeping aside White's detailed stage directions and placing the character of Miss Docker in an abstract but atmospheric landscape, the production carried its audience into a world that baffled naturalistic conventions of meaning and connection, broke with clich and successfully created something new for the Australian theatre.'

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. 89-111
Last amended 19 Jan 2018 12:40:21
89-111 Making Room for Modernism : The 1979 Sydney Theatre Company Production of Patrick White's a Cheery Soulsmall AustLit logo Australasian Drama Studies
  • Sydney, New South Wales,
  • 1979
    Powered by Trove