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y separately published work icon Away single work   drama   - Five acts
Issue Details: First known date: 1986... 1986 Away
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Commencing with a school performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Shakespearean themes of suffering and reconciliation persist as three families on separate holidays are united during a fierce storm.

'Immigrants Harry and Vic love their adopted country but are faced with their son Tom’s terminal illness. Jim and Gwen fret over their daughter Meg’s blossoming independence and her friendship with the socially unsuitable Tom. Roy is unable to console a grief-stricken Coral over the death of their only son in Vietnam.

'But with the help of some Shakespearean fairies and a spectacular storm, these families are reconciled and face the future anew.

'For two decades audiences have been enthralled by this story about the coming of age of both a group of individuals and the country in which they live. Despite being set almost 40 years ago, this multi-award winning play is as relevant as ever with its themes of reconciliation and loss.

'Away is sharply observed, clever, funny and yet very moving. Out of the familiar family ingredients, Gow has constructed a magical play that every Australian can relate to. It depicts the hopes of a new generation, prompting us to consider what is ultimately most important in our lives.' (Publication summary)

Reading Australia

Reading Australia

This work has Reading Australia teaching resources.

Unit Suitable For

AC: Year 10 (NSW Stage 5)

Themes

Australian identity, belonging, coming of age, connection to place, death, emotional age, family, friendship, generation gap, holidays, reality/unreality, reconciliation, redemption, relationships, resilience

General Capabilities

Critical and creative thinking, Literacy

Notes

  • Also published in braille format.

Production Details

  • First produced by the Griffin Theatre Co., Stables Theatre, Sydney, 7 January 1986 and by the Playbox Theatre Co., Melbourne, 1986.


    Toured Victorian regional centres 1987.


    20th anniversary tour 2006. Performed at The Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide, September 2006.


    Given a staged reading at the Ensemble Theatre, Kirribilli, 14-16 September 2016.

    Director: Janine Watson.

    Cast: Kate Box, Thomas Campbell, Rowan Davie, Stacey Duckworth, Sean O'Shea, and Suzanne Pereira.


    Produced by Griffin Theatre Company, SBW Stables Theatre, Kings Cross, 17 June - 8 July 2006.

    Director: Michael Gow.

    Designer: Robert Kemp.

    Lighting Designer: Damien Cooper.

    Cast: Leon Cain, Barbara Lowing, Joss McWilliam, Daniel Murphy, Francesca Savage, Richard Sydenham, and Georgina Symes.


    Performed at the Canberra Theatre 26-30 September 2006.


    Produced by Sydney Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre, 24 February to 25 March 2017.

    Director: Matthew Lutton.

    Designer: Dale Ferguson.

    Lighting Designer: Paul Jackson.

    Composer & Sound Designer: J. David Franzke.

    Choreographer: Stephanie Lake.

    With Marco Chiappi, Julia Davis, Wadih Dona, Glenn Hazeldine, Natasha Herbert, Heather Mitchell, Liam Nunan, and Naomi Rukavina.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Alternative title: Di xa
Language: Vietnamese

Works about this Work

Away (Sydney Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre) Ian Dickson , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: ABR : Arts 2017;

'Away reached the dubious status of ‘Australian Classic’ in a remarkably short period of time. It has become so ubiquitous that I would hazard a guess that fully two thirds of the Australian audience for this production who are under thirty will have been involved with the play either as performers, audience, or students. In the keynote address (‘The Agony and the Agony’) at the National Play Festival that Michael Gow gave in July 2016, required reading for anyone interested in theatre, he describes his ambivalent feelings about having written a work that has become a perennial set text – a sure way of having the life drained out of it. He also says, ‘for me Away is a play about death. In fact it’s an AIDS play, though I didn’t know it at the time.’' (Introduction)

2017 Arts Highlights of the Year Various , 2017 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , November no. 396 2017; (p. 39-43)

'To celebrate the year’s memorable plays, films, concerts, operas, ballets, and exhibitions, we invited twenty-six critics and arts professionals to nominate some personal favourites.' (Introduction)

Shadowplay Alison Croggon , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: The Monthly Blog , May 2017;

'Malthouse Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company’s co-production of ‘Away’ explores the shadows of Gow’s sunny and much-loved text.' 

y separately published work icon HSC English : Away Emily Bosco , South Yarra : Macmillan Education Australia , 2015 9105224 2015 single work criticism
Australian Stories Reflect the Familiar in a Strange Light David Malouf , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 10 July 2015; (p. 19)
Pointed and Poignant: The Kid Grows Up H. G. Kippax , 1986 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 10 January 1986; (p. 10) A Leader of His Craft : Theatre Reviews by H. G. Kippax 2004; (p. 279-280)

— Review of Away Michael Gow , 1986 single work drama
Close to Home Phil Brown , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: Brisbane News , 26 April - 2 May no. 584 2006; (p. 10-11)

— Review of Away Michael Gow , 1986 single work drama
Home and Away Brett Debritz , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: Brisbane News , 10 - 16 May no. 586 2006; (p. 37)

— Review of Away Michael Gow , 1986 single work drama
Deeper Insight into Tragedy and Love Bryce Hallett , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 19 June 2006; (p. 12)

— Review of Away Michael Gow , 1986 single work drama
Story to Take You Away Jeremy Eccles , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 15 September 2006; (p. 4-5)

— Review of Away Michael Gow , 1986 single work drama
That was Then, This is Now Samela Harris , 2006 single work column
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 9 September 2006; (p. 14-15)
Gow Goes 'Away' Murray Bramwell , 2006 single work column
— Appears in: The Adelaide Review , 8 - 21 September no. 300 2006; (p. 12)
'Speakest thou English?' : Shakespeare and Contemporary Australian Theatre Norbert Schaffeld , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: Shakespeare's Legacy : The Appropriation of the Plays in Post-Colonial Drama 2005; (p. 53-68)
'Page or Stage?' Michael Gow's Away Martin Thomas , 1989 single work criticism
— Appears in: New Theatre Australia , no. 9 1989; (p. 38-40)
Changing Scenery : The Central Character on the Australian Stage Hilary Beaton , 2001 single work criticism
— Appears in: Defining Acts : Australia on Stage : A Centenary of Federation Exhibition Celebrating the Australian Character on the Popular Stage over the Past 100 Years 2001; (p. 26-33)
‘The marking of the Centenary of Federation is more than just a celebration of past events. Coming of age involves part memory, part invention. The process is to recover, restore and even fabricate the monuments of social history. Landmarks, whether geographical, social or political, are cherished for the ways in which they trigger memories and shape the collective consciousness, this deepening our sense of ourselves as a race, a community or a nation. History resurrected can breathe new life into the established norms and force a reconsideration of assumptions.’ (p. 26)

Awards

2006 nominated Helpmann Awards for Performing Arts in Australia Best Play Nominted for the 20th anniversary Queensland Theatre Company production.
1987 winner AWGIE Awards Major Award
1987 winner AWGIE Awards Stage Award
1986 winner Victorian Green Room Awards
1986 winner Sydney Theatre Critics' Circle Award Best Play
Last amended 28 Feb 2019 12:00:05
Subjects:
  • Coast,
Settings:
  • Gold Coast, Queensland,
  • 1960s
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