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y The One Day of the Year single work   drama   - Three acts
Issue Details: First known date: 1960... 1960 The One Day of the Year
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Undoubtedly one of Australia's favourite plays, the One Day of the Year explores the universal theme of father-son conflict against the background of the beery haze and the heady, nostalgic sentimentality of Anzac Day. It is a play to make us question a standard institution - Anzac Day, the sacred cow among Australian annual celebrations - but it is the likeability and genuineness of the characters that give the play its memorable qualities: Alf, the nobody who becomes a somebody on this day of days; Mum, the anchor of the family; Hughie, their son, with all the uncertainties and rebelliousness of youth; and Wacka, the Anzac, with his simple, healing wisdom.'

(Description from publishers website)

Exhibitions

6996978
10628823
10626492

Adaptations

form y The One Day of the Year John Sumner , ( dir. Rod Kinnear ) Australia : Seven Network , 1962 7190729 1962 single work film/TV

A television adaptation of Alan Seymour's play.

form y The One Day of the Year Alan Seymour , United Kingdom (UK) : British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Anzac Day-A , 1962 7950956 1962 single work film/TV

'Anzac Day–a great national day of honour, a day of salute to the fallen, a day of grief ... or just a great meaningless booze-up?'

Source: Radio Times, 6 December 1962, p.47.

form y Die ene dag The One Day of the Year Meia Albarda (translator), ( dir. Dré Poppe ) Belgium : Belgische Radio en Televisie , 1969 7951285 1969 single work film/TV

An adaptation of Alan Seymour's The One Day of the Year for Belgian television.

form y The Last of the Australians Terry Stapleton , ( dir. Ian Crawford )et. al.agent) Melbourne : Crawford Productions , 1975 Z1814874 1975 series - publisher film/TV humour

The Last of the Australians was Crawford Productions' first attempt at a sit-com since Take That in the 1950s, and one of the few Australian sit-coms filmed in front of a live studio audience.

The script was based on Alan Seymour's play The One Day of the Year, which explores the clashing attitudes of a father and son towards Anzac Day. As Don Storey notes in his Classic Australian Television:

Seymour has been approached several times for the TV rights to the play, and he refused all offers, including one from an American film company. However, when scriptwriter Terry Stapleton approached him on Crawford's behalf, Seymour agreed to sell the rights. This was because scripts that Stapleton had prepared were given to Seymour, and he was pleased with the way Terry had handled the character interpretations.

The sit-com is centred around the characters of Ted Cook, his wife Dot, and his son Gary. Ted is a World War II veteran of strong conservative principles, frustrated by the direction in which modern Australian society is moving. Gary is a teenaged university student of strong liberal principles, his father's antithesis. Despite the fact that the show drew its tension from the clash between father and son, it preserved a strong degree of affection between the family members.

Storey emphasises that Terry Stapleton wrote all episodes himself (barring one collaboration with his brother Jim), and concludes 'The Last of the Australians is cleverly written, very funny, and, being made during the tenure of the Whitlam Government, contains many interesting political references. The acting and direction is superb, and there is no irritating canned laughter'. Similarly, Moran, in his Guide to Australian Television Series, describes the sit-com as 'a very likeable and funny comic inversion of the Seymour play'.

Reading Australia

This work has Reading Australia teaching resources.

Unit Suitable For

AC: Year 9 and 10 (NSW Stage 5)

Themes

Anzac Day, coming of age, generation gap, national identity

General Capabilities

Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding, Literacy

Notes

  • Seymour revised the play in the 1980s.
  • Other formats: Also braille, sound recording.

Production Details

  • First amateur production performed by the Adelaide Theatre Group, 20 July 1960. The first professional production was by the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust at the Palace Theatre, Sydney, 26 April 1961. The One Day of the Year has since been produced regularly around Australia and in numerous other countries.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1960
  • Appears in:
    y Theatregoer vol. 1 no. 4 1961 Z867588 1961 periodical issue 1961 pg. 25-44
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Angus and Robertson ,
      1962 .
      7782486481462905571.png
      Extent: 107p.
      Reprinted: 1976 ISBN of 1976 reprint: 0207133301
  • Appears in:
    y Three Australian Plays Hal Porter , Alan Seymour , Douglas Stewart , Harmondsworth : Penguin , 1963 Z893289 1963 selected work drama Harmondsworth : Penguin , 1963 pg. 23-96
  • Appears in:
    y Five Plays for Stage, Radio and Television Alrene Sykes (editor), St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1977 Z288060 1977 anthology drama criticism autobiography St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1977 pg. 28-82
      1979 .
      Alternative title: Rewrites for The One Day of the Year
      Extent: 86 leavesp.
      Description: Typescript (photocopy).
      (Manuscript) assertion

      Holdings

      Held at: University of Queensland University of Queensland Library Fryer Library
      Local Id: h1580B
      ca. 1984 .
      Extent: 86 leavesp.
      Edition info: Rev.ed.
      Description: Typescript (photocopy).
      (Manuscript) assertion
      Note/s:
      • Title page: Keith Richards production copy. Ms emendations and stage directions throughout.

      Holdings

      Held at: University of Queensland University of Queensland Library Fryer Library
      Local Id: H1580
      ca. 1984 .
      Extent: 1, 95 leavesp.
      Description: Typescript (photocopy).
      (Manuscript) assertion
      Note/s:
      • Cover note: Not yet performed.

      Holdings

      Held at: University of Queensland University of Queensland Library Fryer Library
      Local Id: H1580A
  • Appears in:
    y Three Australian Plays Hal Porter , Alan Seymour , Douglas Stewart , Harmondsworth : Penguin , 1963 Z893289 1963 selected work drama Ringwood : Penguin , 1985 pg. 25-96
    Note: Rev. ed.
  • Appears in:
    y Three Australian Plays Hal Porter , Alan Seymour , Douglas Stewart , Harmondsworth : Penguin , 1963 Z893289 1963 selected work drama Ringwood : Penguin , 1994 pg. 25-96
      .
      Description: typescript.
      (Manuscript) assertion
      Note/s:
      • A typescript of play which is marked up for film adaptation held at Flinders University, Adelaide.

      Holdings

      Held at: Flinders University of South Australia
Alternative title: Der eine Tag im Jahr
Language: German
    • Reinbek,
      c
      Germany,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Rowohlt ,
      1963 .
      Extent: 148p.

Works about this Work

The Narrow Road to the Deep North and the De-Sacralisation of the Nation Lars Jensen , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Le Simplegadi , no. 16 2016; (p. 74-85)

Richard Flanagan’s novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North represents yet another addition to the catalogue of Australian war experience literature. The awards and accompanying praise the novel has earned since its release in 2013 reflects a widespread appreciation of its ability to reimagine Australia in a saturated terrain. Flanagan’s novel can be read as a critique of the rise of militant nationalism emerging in the wake of Australia’s backing of Bush’s ‘war on terror’ and the idea that the arrival of boat refugees requires a military and militant response. This article discusses how the novel’s shift from battle heroics to the ordeal of POWs in the Thai jungle represents a reimagining – away from the preoccupation with epic battles – but not necessarily a challenge to the overriding emphasis on baptism of fire narratives as the only truly national narratives.

Full Text PDF

[Essay] : The One Day of the Year Anne Pender , 2014 2014 single work essay
— Appears in: Reading Australia 2013;

Written for the Copyright Agency's Reading Australia project, this essay serves as an introduction to Alan Seymour's play.

The 'Deficit of Remembrance' : The Great War Revival in Australia and Ireland Dominic Bryan , 2011-2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Exhuming Passions : The Pressure of the Past in Ireland and Australia 2012; (p. 163-186)
Festival Turns to the 'Hood to Get its Groove Back Wendy Frew , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 20 October 2011; (p. 16)
A Theatrical Turning Point Philip O'Brien , 2010 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 12 July 2010; (p. 9)
The One Day of the Year 1964 single work review
— Appears in: The Realist , June no. 15 1964; (p. 18)

— Review of The One Day of the Year Alan Seymour 1960 single work drama
Homefront Battlefireld John McCallum , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 11 April 2003; (p. 14)

— Review of The One Day of the Year Alan Seymour 1960 single work drama
Dynamic Take on Timeless Classic of Failed Dreams Peter Wilkins , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 15 April 2008; (p. 9)

— Review of The One Day of the Year Alan Seymour 1960 single work drama
Anzacs and Angries M. Harris , 1960 single work review
— Appears in: Nation , 30 July 1960; (p. 19)

— Review of The One Day of the Year Alan Seymour 1960 single work drama
"The One Day of the Year" : a Discussion Gordon Kirby , 1961 single work review
— Appears in: Melbourne University Magazine , Spring 1961; (p. 68-69)

— Review of The One Day of the Year Alan Seymour 1960 single work drama
Tiny Voice Amid Giants' Din Alan Seymour , 2003 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 28 March 2003; (p. 19)
Stirring Struggle Endures to This Day Richard Jinman , 2003 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 2 April 2003; (p. 20)
Jinman discusses with Seymour his inspiration for writing The One Day of the Year and highlights the changes (and similiarities) in Australian society during the forty-plus years since the play's original production.
An Old War Horse Returns to the Fray Alan Seymour , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: Newswrite : The Newsletter of the New South Wales Writers' Centre , April no. 125 2003; (p. 7, 32)
Alan Seymour discusses the 2003 Sydney Theatre Company Production of The One Day of the Year, retraces its turbulent beginnings at the Adelaide Festival of 1960 and comments on the currency of the play 43 years after it was first written.
y The One Day David Malouf , Collingwood : Black Inc. , 2015 Z1101325 2003 single work essay

''Silence was a deeply established tradition. Men used it as a form of self-protection; it saved those who had experienced the horrors of war from the emotional trauma of experiencing it all over again in the telling. And it saved women and children, back home, from the terrible knowledge of what they had seen and walked away from … One result of this was that the men who had actually lived through Gallipoli and the trenches did not write about it.'

'In the century since the Gallipoli landing, Anzac Day has taken on a different tenor for each succeeding generation. Perceptively and evocatively, David Malouf traces the meaning of this 'one day' when Australians stop to reflect on endurance, service and the folly of war. He shows how what was once history has now passed into legend, and how we have found in Anzac Day 'a truly national occasion.'' (Publication summary)

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).
Last amended 23 May 2017 11:05:18
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