'Amid the brothels, grog shops and run-down boarding houses of inner-city Surry Hills, money is scarce and life is not easy. Crammed together within the thin walls of Twelve-and-a-Half Plymouth Street are the Darcy family: Mumma, loving and softhearted; Hughie, her drunken husband; pipe-smoking Grandma; Roie, suffering torments over her bitter-sweet first love; while her younger sister Dolour learns about life the hard way.' (Book description from publisher's website.)
A BBC television adaptation of Ruth Park's novel.
Adapted from Ruth Park's novel of the same name, The Harp in the South is a six-part mini-series that follows the lives of an impoverished Irish-Australian family during the late 1940s. The Darcy family have moved from the bush to a housing-commission enclave in inner-city Sydney: a world of sly grog shops, prostitutes, pimps, and boarding houses. The father, Hughie, was a shearer's cook who lost his job through alcoholism. Although he is now able to hold down a job, his pay is often docked because he's recovering from a hangover. The family is held together by Mumma Darcy, a kindly but uneducated woman who still cannot get over the loss of her son, who disappeared as a child many years ago. The Darcys' two remaining children are Dolour (who is still at school) and Rowena (who works in a local factory). In order to make ends meet, the family take in boarders, some of whom are quite strange.
'A great Australian novel. A landmark theatre event. A portrait of Sydney as it once was.
'The world premieres of The Harp in the South: Part One and The Harp in the South: Part Two are designed to be enjoyed as one unforgettable, epic theatrical experience.
'This major new work is one of the most ambitious productions STC has ever created. Celebrated playwright Kate Mulvany has adapted novelist Ruth Park’s revered Australian trilogy – Missus, The Harp in the South and Poor Man’s Orange – and spread these beloved stories across two equally ambitious plays.
'The two parts stand alone, but together they offer over five hours of monumental, exuberant theatre. It’s a moving family saga and a celebration of Sydney in all its funny, gritty glory.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
Unit Suitable For
AC: Year 11 (Unit 2)
ageing, Australian humour, coming of age, domestic life, life and death, love, poverty, resilience, romance, the Depression, the past
Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding, Information and communication technology, Literacy, Personal and social
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
'Head south on Elizabeth Street, turn left after Devonshire. Butt Street is more of an alley, with a slight kink at the beginning. Apartments and warehouses loom either side. You are walking towards Clisdell Street in August 1940, and on the left in the gutter is the corpse of Bill Smillie, gambler, gunman, SP standover. Next to his body is a dead cat.' (Introduction)