The Summer of the 17th Doll

Topics: Australia, Government of Australia, Opera Australia Pages: 3 (826 words) Published: July 28, 2008
1) The Australian play, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, set the foreground of a new chapter in Australian Theatre, and is still seen as an important factor in the context of its evolution. Written in the 1950s by Ray Lawler, it was a first for Australian theatre, and helped to eliminate the cultural cringe which had held Australian theatre back from its full potential. Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, also known as The Doll, presented to the public, a truly Australian play written by an Australian, with home grown actors, a first for its time. Australians were at last presented with a true and realistic representation of themselves which they could relate and sympathize to. This is why The Doll is seen as important in the context of Australian’s theatre evolution.

2) To understand its importance to Australian theatre one should consider the context prior to The Doll. In the early 1900s, before The Doll, and after the war, at a time when Australia was loosening its economic, social and cultural ties with England, Australia struggled with its own sense of self. This was major setback for development of national identity in Australian theatre, and was known as the cultural cringe, a term used to describe the lack of confidence in Australian cultural values and products. As a result, the best artists and playwrights were compelled to go overseas to gain recognition. Also, overseas playwrights and actors were imported, reinforcing the belief that ‘the best’ came from overseas. In time we will see The Doll changes this perception and encourages Australians to value their own culture and what it has to offer, and thus proving pivotal in Australian theatre history.

3) In the period leading up to The Doll, most of the plays were of a melodramatic style, therefore proving that The Doll was important in the evolution of Australian theatre. Usually consisting of a collection of Australian stereotyped characters, the melodramatic style of production gave an...
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