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Issue Details: First known date: 1962... 1962 The Season at Sarsaparilla : A Charade of Suburbia in Two Acts
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Production Details

  • First performed by the Adelaide University Theatre Guild at the Union Theatre, Adelaide, on 14 September 1962.
  • Return season from 26 February to 31 March 2007 at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Changes to the set were made by the director to create a more modern scene.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

      ca. 1962 .
      Extent: 96l.p.
      Description: Typescript (photocopy). Manuscript emendations and staging notes.
      (Manuscript) assertion
  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Four Plays Patrick White , London : Eyre and Spottiswoode , 1965 Z455937 1965 selected work drama London : Eyre and Spottiswoode , 1965 pg. 75-177
    • Sydney, New South Wales,: Currency Press , 1984 .
      Extent: 103p.
      ISBN: 0868191078
      Series: Current Theatre Series Currency Press (publisher), 1983- series - publisher 'Current Theatre Series consists of Australian plays published with the program inserted and sold during theatre seasons. The aim of the series is to promote and encourage new dramatic writing and make it accessible to theatregoers and the public. The text is presented at the first day of rehearsal and does not contain changes which the author may choose to make after the play has commenced its present season - these will be incorporated into any new edition published by Currency.' Currency Press.
  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Collected Plays : Volume I Patrick White , Sydney : Currency Press , 1985 Z60895 1985 selected work drama (taught in 19 units) Sydney : Currency Press , 1985 pg. 75-177
  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Plays of the 60s : Volume 1 Katharine Brisbane (editor), Sydney : Currency Press , 1998 Z1174230 1998 anthology drama (taught in 2 units)

    'This collection includes: The Well (1960) by Jack McKinney, a rustic comedy in the Steele Rudd tradition set in Queensland; Burst of Summer (1960) by Oriel Gray is a realist play dealing with racial prejudice and is based on the brief success of the Aboriginal actress Ngarla Kunoth, who played Jedda in the Chauvel film; The Season at Sarsaparilla (1962), Patrick White's poetic satire examining the inevitable cycle of birth, copulation and death; White called it a 'charade of suburbia'; and The Promised Woman by Theodore Patrikareas which had its first stage production in Sydney in 1963 and is possibly the first play by a post-war immigrant staged in Australia. The play portrays migrants adapting to their new country and finding new identities and was adapted for the screen in 1974. (1 act, 2 women)' (Publication summary)

    Sydney : Currency Press , 1998
    • Strawberry Hills, Inner Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales,: Currency Press , 2019 .
      image of person or book cover 3967400172376986402.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 110p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 13 March 2019.
      ISBN: 9781760622947

Works about this Work

Modernist Drama Decried : Patrick White, Spoiled Identity, and Failure as a 'Logic of Use' Julian Meyrick , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australasian Drama Studies , October no. 71 2017; (p. 42-67)

This article discusses a hitherto unexamined letter exchange between the author Patrick White and the theatre director John Sumner. It concerns the production by the Union Theatre Repertory Company of two White plays in the 1960s: 'The Season at Sarsaparilla' (1962) and 'A Cheery Soul' (1963). The aperture of the correspondence also takes in productions of 'The Ham Funeral' (1961) and 'Night on Bald Mountain' (1964) by the Adelaide University Theatre Guild in the same period. Thus it provides a seminal example of 'failure' in White's five-year sojourn in Australian theatre from 1960 to 1965, a time when his four best-known plays were denounced by critics and rejected by audiences. By way of analysis, I deploy a range of interpre tive concepts drawn from Erving Goffman's Stigma (1963), most importantly the notions of 'spoiled identity' and 'role discrepancy'. I define the social fact of failure as a certain relation between actual social identity, virtual social identity, personal identity and ego-identity. The article examines the White- Sumner correspondence to show how failure was managed as a job of work by a 'logic of use' pursuant to its being a likely outcome of staging one of White's plays. In conclusion, it lists the features of a 'logic of use' and discusses the adaptive utility of failing in creative situations where the penalty to be paid - being designated 'a failure' - is both probable and heavy.'  (Publication abstract)

Before the Ham Funeral : 'The Young Man Appears' - John Tasker Returns Home Laura Ginters , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australasian Drama Studies , October no. 71 2017; (p. 13-41)

'The young Australian theatre director John Tasker arrived back in Australia in 1959, having spent the previous seven years in England and Europe training as an actor, but also absorbing the rich cultural life on offer. On his return, Tasker soon made the acquaintance of Patrick White, who quickly became convinced that Tasker was the most promising young director in Sydney: Tasker would go on to direct the premiere productions of three of White's plays in just over two years in the early 1960s, beginning with The Ham Funeral. This article serves as a 'prologue' to White's early reception in the Australian theatre, tracing Tasker's own engagement with (a broadly defined) modernism and examining how his early - and today almost unknown - productions in Australia reflected this affinity, attracted White's attention, and indeed presaged the successful launch of the theatrical careers of both men.'  (Publication abstract)

A Cheery Soul Gave Us a Supreme Theatrical Monster Julian Meyrick , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Conversation , 31 January 2017;
'In 2004, Melbourne Theatre Company, where I worked at the time, asked me to write a short history for their 50th anniversary. A battered box was duly wheeled into my office, containing material from previous celebrations and books of yellowing press clippings.' (Introduction)
Patrick White A Theatre of His Own Andrew Fuhrmann , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , November no. 356 2013;
Australian Theatrical Modernism and Modernity : Patrick White's Season at Sarsaparilla Denise Varney , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australasian Drama Studies , April no. 62 2013; (p. 25-40, 224)

'In the last five years, two innovative revivals of Patrick White's early plays and at least three conferences in Australia and overseas have refocused critical interest on Australia's only Nobel Laureate in Literature. In 2012, the Adelaide Festival of Arts and the State Theatre Company of South Australia staged a contemporary gothic-punk-carnivalesque Inspired production of White's early expressionist play The Ham Funeral, first performed in 1961. Festival director, Paul Grabowski, noted that the inclusion of a new production of the play in the programme both celebrated the centenary of the writer's birth and redressed its infamous rejection by the 1960 Festival Board. The 2012 Ham Funeral follows the acclaimed Sydney Theatre Company (STC) 2007-08 revival of White's next play, Season at Sarsaparilla, first performed in 1962. STC associate director Benedict Andrews remediates the work, the first of White's plays to be set in suburban Australia, for the sensibilities of the twenty-first century in a stylish, well-funded production for contemporary audiences. These productions point to new interest in White's theatre that is also evident in recent conferences and scholarly publications.' (Author's introduction)

Birth, Copulation and Death Nicholas Jose , 1985 single work review
— Appears in: The Adelaide Review , December/January no. 9 1985; (p. 24-25)

— Review of The Season at Sarsaparilla : A Charade of Suburbia in Two Acts Patrick White , 1962 single work drama
Suburbia, in All Its Ragged Glory Bryce Hallett , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 5 March 2007; (p. 17)

— Review of The Season at Sarsaparilla : A Charade of Suburbia in Two Acts Patrick White , 1962 single work drama
Suburbia Sizzles in a Wry White Season John McCallum , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 6 March 2007; (p. 10)

— Review of The Season at Sarsaparilla : A Charade of Suburbia in Two Acts Patrick White , 1962 single work drama
Colourful Reworking of White Jason Blake , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 11 March 2007; (p. 21)

— Review of The Season at Sarsaparilla : A Charade of Suburbia in Two Acts Patrick White , 1962 single work drama
Suburban Lives in a Goldfish Bowl Martin Ball , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 16 January 2008; (p. 7)

— Review of The Season at Sarsaparilla : A Charade of Suburbia in Two Acts Patrick White , 1962 single work drama
Australian Contemporary Drama : Patrick White (from Australian Contemporary Drama 1909-1982 : A Critical Introduction) Dennis Carroll , 1990 extract
— Appears in: Critical Essays on Patrick White 1990; (p. 174-189)
Remembering Masculinities in the Theatre of War Jonathan Bollen , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australasian Drama Studies , April no. 46 2005; (p. 3-19)
Surveys post-war theatrical productions of plays which articulate men's experiences at war and back home. '...this article explores the propagation of gender anxieties in performance during the post-war period of suburban expansion. In contrast with more recent productions which have sought to celebrate the survival, ingenuity and achievements of Australian men at war, productions from the post-war period were less overtly nationalistic and less assertively masculinist. ... post-war productions celebrated less the heroism of men at war than the nostalgia of their returning home' (3).
The Way We Were Rosalie Higson , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 17-18 February 2007; (p. 16-17)
Rosalie Higson talks with Benedict Andrews about his production of The Season at Sarsaparilla with the Sydney Theatre Company's Actors Company in March 2007.
Benediction on Patrick White Robin Usher , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 12 January 2008; (p. 16)
Patrick White Peter Fitzpatrick , 1979 single work criticism
— Appears in: After 'The Doll' : Australian Drama Since 1955 1979; (p. 49-68)

Awards

2008 winner Victorian Green Room Awards Production : Theatre - Companies For the 2008 Sydney Theatre Company / Melbourne Theatre Company production.
2007 nominated Helpmann Awards for Performing Arts in Australia Best Play Nominated for the 2007 Sydney Theatre Company production.
1962 recipient Elizabethan Theatre Trust
Last amended 14 Jun 2019 09:45:55
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