y Shipwreck : A Drama in Four Acts single work   drama   - Four acts
Issue Details: First known date: 1986... 1986 Shipwreck : A Drama in Four Acts
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The play is set on the lonely Gippsland coast in the late 19th century. Stumpy Johnson lives by the old Cornish trick of luring ships to destruction and collecting and selling the flotsam and jetsam. Martha Kennedy forces her daughter Madge to become Johnson’s second wife. The police catch up with Johnson and he goes to gaol. During his absence his son by his first marriage and Madge fall in love and live together. A child is born. Johnson is released before his full sentence is served, returns and in his vengence kills the baby, shoots his son and chains Madge to the wall of the house. He whips the bullocks with a barb wire lash which flies back and tears his eyes, the bullocks stampede and rush over him and he staggers back to the house, but of course Madge cannot help him, and wouldn't. He dies and Madge is rescued by a passing coastal vessel which calls in, and Johnson’s corpse is taken on board to be tipped over the side when the vessel is at sea.' (Source : University of New England website)

Notes

  • Esson wrote the first draft of Shipwreck : A Drama in Four Acts in 1924 and reworked it in 1928.
    (Source: Louis Esson : Plays 1 : Terra Australis, edited by John Senczuk.)

Production Details

  • First produced in a reheased reading at the 'Conference on Australian Drama, 1920-1955', Drama Department, University of New England, 3 September 1984. The reading was directed by Gabrielle Hyslop.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Rattling the Manacles : Genre and Nationalism in the Neglected Plays of the Campbell Howard Collection, 1920-1955 John McCallum , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: 'Unemployed at Last!' : Essays on Australian Literature to 2002 for Julian Croft 2002; (p. 86-104)
McCallum draws attention to a number of neglected plays of the 1920s-1950s in the Howard Collection and discusses the reasons why they were neglected unlike, for instance, the plays of Louis Esson. He argues that many of the best Campbell Howard plays didn't fit into the standard history of Australian drama. However, many skillful and professional playwrights whose scripts Howard collected were trying to write for the commercial theatre, and, a nationalist theatre lacking, wrote genre plays, "mostly realistic melodramas, thrillers and drawing room comedies" - the truly neglected Australian plays. Focussing on the sub-genres of bush realist melodrama, station dramas, family sagas, and country town comedies and dramas, McCallum's essay looks at a number of these plays, and at the interaction between genre and the goals of the nationalists.
"Something with a Cow in It" : Louis Esson's Imported Nationalism John McCallum , 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. 39-52) Overland , September no. 108 1987; (p. 6-13)
McCallum argues that Esson's attempts to translate the folk dramas of Ireland to an Australian context failed because of the absence of a similar folk background.
Rattling the Manacles : Genre and Nationalism in the Neglected Plays of the Campbell Howard Collection, 1920-1955 John McCallum , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: 'Unemployed at Last!' : Essays on Australian Literature to 2002 for Julian Croft 2002; (p. 86-104)
McCallum draws attention to a number of neglected plays of the 1920s-1950s in the Howard Collection and discusses the reasons why they were neglected unlike, for instance, the plays of Louis Esson. He argues that many of the best Campbell Howard plays didn't fit into the standard history of Australian drama. However, many skillful and professional playwrights whose scripts Howard collected were trying to write for the commercial theatre, and, a nationalist theatre lacking, wrote genre plays, "mostly realistic melodramas, thrillers and drawing room comedies" - the truly neglected Australian plays. Focussing on the sub-genres of bush realist melodrama, station dramas, family sagas, and country town comedies and dramas, McCallum's essay looks at a number of these plays, and at the interaction between genre and the goals of the nationalists.
"Something with a Cow in It" : Louis Esson's Imported Nationalism John McCallum , 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. 39-52) Overland , September no. 108 1987; (p. 6-13)
McCallum argues that Esson's attempts to translate the folk dramas of Ireland to an Australian context failed because of the absence of a similar folk background.
Last amended 10 Mar 2017 10:40:42
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