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The Ham Funeral single work   drama   - Two acts
Issue Details: First known date: 1947... 1947 The Ham Funeral
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Production Details

  • Written in 1947, it was first produced at the Union Theatre, Adelaide by the Adelaide University Theatre Guild, 15 November 1961; then at the Palace Theatre, Sydney, in 1962. Numerous subsequent productions.


    New production staged at the Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne, on 16th April 2005.


    Produced by the State Theatre Company of South Australia, Adelaide, from 25 February 2012.


    Presented by Siren Theatre Company and Griffin Independent, 17 May to 10 June 2017.

    Producer & Director: Kate Gaul.

    Assistant Directors: Sally Dulson and Phaedra Nicolaidis.

    Designer: Jasmine Christie.

    Lighting Designer: Hartley T. A. Kemp.

    Composer & Sound Designer: Nate Edmondson.

    Cast: Andy Dexterity, Eliza Logan, Carmen Lysiak, Johnny Nasser, Jane Phegan, Sebastian Robinson, and Jenny Wu.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1947

Works about this Work

The Sovereignty of the Plays and Opportunities for New Publics Denise Varney , Sandra D'Urso , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Theatre, Modernism and Patrick White : Governing Culture 2018; (p. 105-110)

'Dramas of rejection and artistic opposition rarely play out as neat didactic narratives where the weak are overpowered by the strong, as in Carl Schmitt's friend—enemy distinction. The inevitably messy alliances, collusions, eruptions and flows of affect cannot be contained by applying easy binaries. When we consider the governing bodies involved in the Patrick White Affair, there were disagreements and tensions between members of the Board of Governors and tempers to be assuaged. While affect was projected onto Sir Lloyd Dumas in Harry Medlin's recollections decades after the fact, it is often scripted out of the adversarial negotiations documented in the Adelaide archives.' (Introduction)

The ‘Clowns’ Who ‘Cling to the Past’ : Sovereign Decision and the Practice of Exclusion Sandra D'Urso , Denise Varney , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Theatre, Modernism and Patrick White : Governing Culture 2018; (p. 85-104)

'As we saw in Chapters 2 and 3, the Governors rejected The Ham Funeral and Night on Bald Mountain; yet the plays were not passive objects. They had the power to create affects of disgust and anger in some, notably Glen McBride and Neil Hutchison, and joy and enthusiasm in others, such as Harry Medlin, Geoffrey Dutton and Max Harris. Reaching beyond the field of politics, Carl Schmitt recognizes the power of theatre when he ascribes something akin to sovereignty to the lifeworld of plays...' (Introduction)

‘Words Fail Me’ : The Ham Funeral and the 1962 Adelaide Festival Denise Varney , Sandra D'Urso , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Theatre, Modernism and Patrick White : Governing Culture 2018; (p. 31-58)

' The venue recommended for the premiere of The Ham Funeral at the 1962 Festival was the University of Adelaide's Union Hall theatre. The Board of Governors had an agreement with the venue's management, the University Theatre Guild, to stage the Festival's productions of Australian-authored or small-scale new plays from overseas in this space. In the 1960s, Union Hall was what we would consider today to be an off-Broadway or fringe venue, attracting small but drama-literate audiences. The Drama Committee was confident that the proposal to stage the premiere would be accepted, if not welcomed, by the Governors. In the wake of the proposal's unexpected and hostile rejection, the Guild went ahead with the production three months prior to the Festival. The publicity around the rejection of the play ensured that the premiere was a gala social event, attended by Patrick White, local dignitaries, friends of White's and several interstate critics.'  (Introduction)

The Archive, Governance and Sovereignty Sandra D'Urso , Denise Varney , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Theatre, Modernism and Patrick White : Governing Culture 2018; (p. 17-30)

'The rejections of The Ham Funeral and Night on Bald Mountain by the Adelaide Festival's Board of Governors were not random events but were linked to structures of governance and a presumption of sovereignty. Although the Board was not a statutory or corporate body, the Adelaide Festival's Board of governors and committees held regular meetings and kept formal and, at times, extensive minutes. Members of the Board and committees and Festival staff communicated to the outside world through written correspondence, press releases and Festival advertising and programs. This archive allows us to, reconstruct key events in Australian cultural history and address the critical questions they raise about the confrontation of a colonial culture with the emergent dynamic of modernism in the post-war period. ' (Introduction)

Introduction Denise Varney , Sandra D'Urso , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Theatre, Modernism and Patrick White : Governing Culture 2018; (p. 1x)

'In March 2012, the Adelaide Festival of Arts staged an exuberant steampunk   version of Patrick White's comic play The Ham Funeral, originally written in London in 1947 and first performed in Adelaide in 1961. The 2012 production celebrated the centenary of the writer's birth and marked 50 years since the Board of Governors of the 1962 Adelaide Festival had refused to stage the play's world premiere. Amid claims of philistinism, paternalism and amateurism, the Board had determined that the play's unsavoury themes, modernist form and poor box-office outlook made it unsuitable for a festival production. In recognition of the troubled history between the Adelaide Festival and White, 2012 Artistic Director Paul Grabowsky announced that the new production, directed by Adam Cook, would pay 'tribute to our Nobel Laureate' and finally see 'unfinished business finished'.' The Festival production, presented by the State Theatre Company of South Australia, made amends with a dazzling interpretation that drew out the flamboyant theatricality, humour and pathos of the play.'   (Introduction)

An Opera Looking for Its Music John Rickard , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May no. 271 2005; (p. 20-21)

— Review of The Ham Funeral Patrick White , 1947 single work drama
A review of the 2005 Malthouse Theatre production.
Society Still Haunted by the Spectres of its Past Thuy On , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 19 April 2005; (p. 14)

— Review of The Ham Funeral Patrick White , 1947 single work drama ; Journal of the Plague Year Tom Wright , 2005 single work drama
Classic White Off Beam for 2005 Audience Helen Thomson , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 18 April 2005; (p. 9)

— Review of The Ham Funeral Patrick White , 1947 single work drama
The Ham Funerald Owen Richardson , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 24 April 2005; (p. 32)

— Review of The Ham Funeral Patrick White , 1947 single work drama
Sex and Alma Lusty, the Landlady of a Dangerous Age Rosemary Neill , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 24 February 2012; (p. 17)

— Review of The Ham Funeral Patrick White , 1947 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)
One Plague and a Funeral Peter Craven , 2005 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 16 April 2005; (p. 4)
The Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne, opens its new season with a new production of The Ham Funeral by Patrick White and Journal of the Plague by Daniel Defoe.
Ham on Wry Peter Clarke (interviewer), 2005 single work interview
— Appears in: Limelight , May 2005; (p. 38)
Editor's note: Patrick White's play The Ham Funeral is rarely performed professionally in Australia. Malthouse artistic director Michael Kantor tells Peter Clarke why it should be, and why our theatrical heritage needs reviewing.
Privileging the Literary Helen Thomson , 2005 single work correspondence
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , June-July no. 272 2005; (p. 5)
Brindabella : Literary News from Around Australia Madeleine Byrne , 2005 single work column
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 19 no. 1 2005; (p. 99-100)

Awards

2017 winner Sydney Theatre Awards Best Direction of an Independent Production

(Kate Gaul, for the 2017 Siren Theatre production)

2017 nominated Sydney Theatre Awards Best Independent Production

(2017 Siren Theatre production)

Last amended 11 Dec 2018 08:13:54
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