A brief tour through early Australian history will clarify just how much Significance and meaning The Doll contributed when it was first released. The early theatre in Australia was influenced by the happenings in other parts of the world. The early settlers from Europe strove to maintain the cultural traditions of the societies they had left behind, and in time, this became a big barrier for Australian theatre between originality and imitation. As the plays performed were imported from overseas, so the acting styles in Australia followed those that were fashionable in Europe. By the Nineteen Seventies, melodrama had become very popular in Europe and America. Most melodramas performed in Australia were adaptations of novels or plays that were once successful in England or America. Eventually melodrama aged and Pantomime had become the new craze in Australia, following of course, the European trend. The pantomimes were often a satirical record of the events of the year, and usually included contemporary issues such as education acts and fashion. By the Twentieth century however, Australia slowly started originating an aspect of the plays that were being produced in Europe. They as usual had taken the trends from Europe and America, but adapting them to the Australian Scene. The majority of the plays in the Post war period reflected issues and concerns of the time; this is because the Australian playwrights started writing realistically about the issues facing their country. At the conclusion of World War Two, the themes were beginning to change in Australian theatre. The plays began to move away from the outback and focus more on issues in urban Australia. Indeed the post war period was the beginning of a new and more assertively Australian drama.
"Lawler has written a play so superbly true to Australian thought and the Australian Scene that theatrical conventions disappear" (Melbourne Argus, 29 November 1955)
Indeed, The Doll provided a breakthrough from a two-dimensional world of theatre, into the world of Realism, that Australians instantly grasped and enjoyed. The acceptance of The Doll led to a new confidence among actors, playwrights and directors. They became courageous and experimental with the theatre and the variety of issues they willed to explore. The characters authenticity and honesty, Roo and Barney acting as 'ordinary' Australian workers, Emma and Bubba acting as simple girls next door, and Olive and Pearl serving beers at a pub. These characters appealed greatly to the audience because if their honesty and customary lives. The audience at the time managed to really identify with them. Never before had Australian theatre been so real, honest and authentic, and it was this raw honesty that rewarded The Doll its victory.
Summer Of The Seventeenth Doll explored and criticised the themes of growing up, mateship, conflict between dreams and reality and the corroding...