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y separately published work icon Lawson single work   drama  
Issue Details: First known date: 1943... 1943 Lawson
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Lawson is Oriel Gray's first full-length play, and is based on the stories of Henry Lawson. These stories include 'Past Carin', 'At Dead Dingo', 'Arvie Aspinall’s Alarm Clock','‘The Man Who Forgot', 'Pretty Girl in the Army', 'Water them Geraniums' and 'Steelman’s Pupil'.

The narrative begins with Wilson, Macquarie and Lawson yarning round a campfire beside a drover’s track. Lawson is the group’s chief storyteller. As each story materialises, the fire and the figures around it fade out and a spotlight thrown on the opposite side of the stage illuminates each new set of characters.


Characters 

Act 1 Scene 1


THE BALLAD SINGER

JOE WILSON 

MACQUARIE

LAWSON 

BOBBY 

MITCHELL 

ORACLE

CONSTABLE 

SCOTTY 

THE LITTLE MAN 

SMITH 

BOSS 

SERVANT GIRL 

MRS. ASPINALL 

AGENT 

BILLY 

CHINNY

DRUNK 

MARGE 

BILL 

JIM


ACT 2 SCENE 1 


GENT 1 

GENT 2 

STEELMAN 

MARY WILSON 

DORIE SPICER 

MRS. SPICER 

FLOWER GIRL

JACK MOONLIGHT 

BOYS

THE ARMY

OFFICER 

LASSIES 

HANNAH

MATRON 

RATTY WOMAN

CAPTAIN

Exhibitions

11455577

Notes

  • Based on the stories of Henry Lawson.
  • Available in braille format
  • Lawson was 'immediately popular with wartime audiences, particularly the American Soldiers, and was responsible for bringing an entirely new audience to the New Theatre’ (Harding, "The Torrents and the Doll', xii.).

  • ‘Left-wing theatre historian Ken Harper commented that Lawson played ‘to packed houses in both Sydney and Melbourne and in most other capital cities. It was both implicitly nationalistic at a time when things were not going well in the war (1943-44) and firmly in the democratic spirit of the 1890s’’ (Harper, 'The Useful Theatre: The New Theatre Movement in Sydney and Melbourne 1935-1983', Meanjin, 43 (1984) 63).

Production Details

  • 1943 : New Theatre, 167 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, Oct. 10, 17, 24.

    • Producer John Gray.
    • Cast Stan Polonsky (Lawson).
    • Performance attended by Mrs. Henry Lawson. 

    1944 : New Theatre, 92 Flinders St, Melbourne, 19 Feb. - 4 Mar.

    • Producers Mrs Esson and William Griffiths, Set designer John Bainbridge.
    • Cast of 20, James Young (Lawson).

    1944 : New Theatre, Sydney. Season commencing 4 June.

    • Producer Jerome Levy.

    1945 : New Theatre, Melbourne. Season commencing 6 Oct.

    1952 : New Theatre, Sydney, 17 Mar.

    • Performed as part of the Youth Carnival for Peace and Friendship.

    1953 : Adelaide New Theatre, Stow Hall, Flinders St, 10-12 Dec.

    • Producer Eric Walsh.
    • Cast Eric Walsh (Lawson), Ray Jury (Macquarie), John Aylen (Wilson), Margaret Ward, Pauline Adams, Margo Warner, Rex Munn, Don Porter, Alan Clisby, Yvonne Geary, Mary Muller, David Bryn, Alan Mathews, Jim O'Neil.

    1954 : New Theatre Plympton Park, SA, June. 

    1954 : New Theatre, Frankston, Melbourne.

    • Performed as part of the Victorian Drama League's one act play festival, which ran from 27 Oct. to 6 Nov.
    • Adjudicator Mr. Musgrove Turner.
    • Mr. Turner praised the acting and production but attacked the play as sordid and unreal. There were protests and expressions of sympathy with New Theatre from little theatre groups. 

    1955 : Performed by Melbourne New Theatre at the Victorian Drama League festival at Frankston.

    1960 : Ringwood Church of England Hall, Ringwood, VIC, 24 Sep.

    1961 : Waterside Workers' Federation Hall, 60 Sussex St, Sydney, Sat 18 March. 

    • Producer New Theatre, Director John Armstrong, Set designer Keith Gow, Backstage Tom Salisbury. 
    • Cast Jean Blue, Mark MacManus, Len Grant (Lawson), Denis Doonan, Jan Gabriel, Roger Milliss (Wilson), Neville Swanson (Macquarie), Leonie Geary. 
    • Presented every Saturday and Sunday with the exception of Easter weekend. 

    1961 : Grenfell, Wed 28 June. 

    • Best Lawson Festival.
    • Birthplace of Lawson.
    • Celebration of poet's birthday. 

    1961 : Sydney Drama Festival of the Arts Council of Australia, Wed 30 Aug. 

    1961 : Turner Hall, Ultimo, NSW, 4 Oct. 

    1966 : Henderson Hall, Mt Isa, QLD, 1 Sep. 

    1967 : New Theatre, Melbourne, 17 June. 

    • Director Terence Ward.
    • Cast of 18, George Cunningham (Lawson), Ocker Hall (Wilson), John Ford (The Oracle), Brian O'Callaghan (Drunk in 'At Dead Dingo' and 'The Army'), John Cunningham, Clem Parkinson, Frank Butson, Cal O'Callaghan, Stephen Grey, Sally Green, Sadie Kirsner, Loretta Garvey (Sister Hannah), Irene Horvitz, Len Dowdle (Steelman). 
    • Continued indefinitely on Friday and Saturday nights at 8:15 at Centre 63 (corner Sutherland St and Guildford Lane). 

    1967 : Willard Hall, Adelaide, 5 July. 

    1967 : Sandgate District State High School, 26 Sep. 

    • Performed as part of the Warana Junior Drama Festival. 

    1983 : University of Newcastle Drama Theatre, Callaghan, NSW, 21 May. 

    1983 : 321 Glenferrie Rd, Malvern, VIC, 29 June. 

    1983 : 848 Glenhuntly Rd, Caulfield South, VIC, 6 July.

    1983 : 528 Hampton Rd, Hampton, VIC, 23 July. 

    1983 : Sacred Heart Hall, St Kilda West, VIC, 24 July. 

    1983 : Pumpkin Theatre, Richmond, VIC, 13 Aug. 

    1983 : Monash High School Theatrette, Clayton, VIC, 19 Oct. 

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

      1943 .
      image of person or book cover 562044780401565314.jpg
      This image has been sourced from New Theatre History : Oriel Gray
      Description: Playscript
      (Manuscript) assertion
      Note/s:
      • Three copies of the typescript held at the Fryer Library, The University of Queensland. Also held at the Campbell Howard Collection, Dixson Library, University of New England.

      Holdings

      Held at: University of Queensland University of Queensland Library Fryer Library
      Location: The Hanger Collection of Australian Playscripts

Works about this Work

y separately published work icon Australian Women Playwrights : The Sacrifice of Oriel Gray Merrilee Moss , Clayton : Monash University , 2015 10799496 2015 single work thesis

'Australian Women Playwrights: the Sacrifice of Oriel Gray argues that multi-award winning left-wing Australian playwright Oriel Gray was sacrificed in 1955 by and for the dominant discourse in one symbolic act of “violence”. It investigates contributing elements and circumstances that may have worked together and separately to create and maintain Gray’s liminal status in the theatre world, despite her significant achievements, for more than half a century, and asks how it has been possible for Gray and her considerable body of work to be “forgotten” again and again. It also seeks to examine the manner in which Gray as an outsider/stranger/artist depicted sacrifice and expressed liminality in her work, and argues that Gray’s position provided her a particular point of view. The artwork at the centre of the thesis is the play script Oriel, structured by a dialogue between two Australian playwrights: ‘Oriel’ from the mid-twentieth century, and modern-day playwright, ‘Moss’. As a secondary task, both artwork and dissertation speculate on what effect the forgetting of Gray and her work may have had on the situation for women playwrights today, focusing particularly on contemporary multi-award winning left-wing Melbourne playwright, Patricia Cornelius. With reference to psychoanalysis, sociology and anthropology, using a feminist lens and a synthesized practice-as-research methodology, this thesis highlights Gray as an innovative, important playwright, and argues that she was sacrificed precisely because of her significance.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon Upstaged : Australian Women Dramatists in the Limelight at Last Michelle Arrow , Annandale Strawberry Hills : Pluto Press Currency Press , 2002 Z997385 2002 single work criticism
Brave Red Witches : Communist Women, Identity and the New Theatre Susan Pfisterer , Carolyn Pickett , 1999 single work criticism
— Appears in: Playing with Ideas : Australian Women Playwrights from the Suffragettes to the Sixties 1999; (p. 162-193)
Playing with the Past: Towards a Feminist Deconstruction of Australian Theatre Historiography Susan Pfisterer , 1993 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australasian Drama Studies , October no. 23 1993; (p. 8-22)
Playing by the Book : Four Plays by Australian Playwrights Darryl Emmerson , 1990 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , December-January (1990-1991) no. 127 1990; (p. 41-42)

— Review of Froggie Steve J. Spears , 1984 single work drama ; Lawson Oriel Gray , 1943 single work drama ; You'll Die Laughing Harry Reade , 1988 single work drama ; Definitely Not the Last : A Rock'n'Roll Fable John Romeril , 1985 single work musical theatre
Playing by the Book : Four Plays by Australian Playwrights Darryl Emmerson , 1990 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , December-January (1990-1991) no. 127 1990; (p. 41-42)

— Review of Froggie Steve J. Spears , 1984 single work drama ; Lawson Oriel Gray , 1943 single work drama ; You'll Die Laughing Harry Reade , 1988 single work drama ; Definitely Not the Last : A Rock'n'Roll Fable John Romeril , 1985 single work musical theatre
Untitled Leslie Rees , 1943 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Quarterly , December vol. 15 no. 4 1943; (p. 127)

— Review of Lawson Oriel Gray , 1943 single work drama
Henry's Centenary Phillip Adams , 1967 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 22 July vol. 89 no. 4559 1967; (p. 43)

— Review of Lawson Oriel Gray , 1943 single work drama
Lawson Returns to NT M. A. B. , 1961 single work review
— Appears in: Tribune , 15 March no. 1194 1961; (p. 7)

— Review of Lawson Oriel Gray , 1943 single work drama

'Some of the best-loved of Henry Lawson's short stories are dramatised by Oriel Gray in her play 'Lawson', which opens at the WWF Theatre on Saturday.' (Introduction)

y separately published work icon Exit Left : Memoirs of a Scarlet Woman Oriel Gray , Ringwood : Penguin , 1985 Z291120 1985 single work autobiography

'Tranquility is not the point at all in Oriel Cray's `Exit Left' (Penguin, 227pp., $7.95). With keen intelligence and wry humour her 'Memoirs of a Scarlet Woman' open the world of Australian bohemia in the '30s and '40s. Innocent though it all seems now, Gray's socialist upbringing, immersion in the theatre of the Left and the Communist Party — as well as her stealing of her sister's husband? — definitely won disapprobation in her day. She depicts the passionate commitment, fun and guilty failures of her youth with detachment and amused calm. Now I know who popularised the songs that were still around in my university days; what 'James McAuley was like in his wild youth; and how the coming of World War 11 interrupted some of the processes that would have cured the cultural cringe years before Australians finally stood tall. I enjoyed this crisply written and unsentimental book. ' (Veronica Sen review : The Canberra Times 24 February 1985 p8)

Oriel Gray : A Forgotten Playwright Angela Hillel , 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. 17-27)
Playing with the Past: Towards a Feminist Deconstruction of Australian Theatre Historiography Susan Pfisterer , 1993 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australasian Drama Studies , October no. 23 1993; (p. 8-22)
Brave Red Witches : Communist Women, Identity and the New Theatre Susan Pfisterer , Carolyn Pickett , 1999 single work criticism
— Appears in: Playing with Ideas : Australian Women Playwrights from the Suffragettes to the Sixties 1999; (p. 162-193)
y separately published work icon Australian Women Playwrights : The Sacrifice of Oriel Gray Merrilee Moss , Clayton : Monash University , 2015 10799496 2015 single work thesis

'Australian Women Playwrights: the Sacrifice of Oriel Gray argues that multi-award winning left-wing Australian playwright Oriel Gray was sacrificed in 1955 by and for the dominant discourse in one symbolic act of “violence”. It investigates contributing elements and circumstances that may have worked together and separately to create and maintain Gray’s liminal status in the theatre world, despite her significant achievements, for more than half a century, and asks how it has been possible for Gray and her considerable body of work to be “forgotten” again and again. It also seeks to examine the manner in which Gray as an outsider/stranger/artist depicted sacrifice and expressed liminality in her work, and argues that Gray’s position provided her a particular point of view. The artwork at the centre of the thesis is the play script Oriel, structured by a dialogue between two Australian playwrights: ‘Oriel’ from the mid-twentieth century, and modern-day playwright, ‘Moss’. As a secondary task, both artwork and dissertation speculate on what effect the forgetting of Gray and her work may have had on the situation for women playwrights today, focusing particularly on contemporary multi-award winning left-wing Melbourne playwright, Patricia Cornelius. With reference to psychoanalysis, sociology and anthropology, using a feminist lens and a synthesized practice-as-research methodology, this thesis highlights Gray as an innovative, important playwright, and argues that she was sacrificed precisely because of her significance.' (Publication summary)

Last amended 26 Feb 2018 08:53:30
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