An Ever Changing Idiom - Alana Valentine’s response to Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, by Ray Lawler
Alana Valentine reads her response to Summer of the Seventeenth Doll by Ray Lawler. It’s called An Ever-Changing Idiom and features in the Currency Press series, Cue the Chorus, in which an assortment of respected Australian playwrights respond to the work of their peers. You can download all the responses in the series from our website - currencypress.com.au
A little bit about Alana Valentine. She is one of Australia’s most renowned and respected writers. Valentine writes for the stage, screen, radio and multimedia projects, but is perhaps best known for her plays. She is well known for her rigorous use of research within the community she is writing about. Her work for the stage includes Run Rabbit Run, Parramatta Girls, Cyberbile, Ear to the Edge of Time and Comin’ Home Soon. She has received numerous awards, both in Australia and internationally.
Alana Valentine—one of Australia’s most renowned and respected playwrights, whose work includes Parramatta Girls, Eyes to the Floor, Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah, Grounded and Cyberbile—reads the preface to the double edition of Brumby Innes and Bid Me to Love, two plays written by another of Australia’s literary treasures, Katharine Susannah Prichard. The introduction was written by Prichard's son, Ric Throssell.
A little bit about Katharine Susannah Prichard
Prichard was born in Levuka, Fiji, where her father was editor of the Fiji Times. She matriculated from South Melbourne College and worked briefly as a governess. She later taught in Melbourne studying English literature at night.
In 1908 she travelled to London, working as a freelance journalist for the Melbourne Herald and, on her return, as the social editor of the Herald's women's page. In 1912 she left for England again to pursue a career as a writer and published two novels, The Pioneers and Windlestraws. She met the Australian Victoria Cross winner, Captain Hugo Throssell while away and in 1919 she married him and moved to Western Australia. Already a committed Communist in 1920, she was a founding member of the Communist Party of Australia. In 1922 her only son Ric Throssell was born. While she was on a trip to the Soviet Union in 1933 Hugo Throssell committed suicide.
From the 1920s until her death she lived at Greenmount, Western Australia, earning her living as a writer of novels, short stories and plays. Her novels include Black Opal; Working Bullocks; The Wild Oats of Han; Coonardoo; Haxby's Circus; Intimate Strangers; and the goldfields trilogy The Roaring Nineties, Golden Miles and Winged Seeds. Prichard was a member of the Communist Party of Australia until her death, and her political concerns were reflected in most of her published work. Her novels were published throughout the world and translated into numerous languages. In 1951 she was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature.
A few words about Brumby Innes and Bid Me to Love
Written in the 1920s, Brumby Innes confronts the turbulent relations between the sexes and the races in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is published with another Prichard play from the 1920s, Bid Me To Love which, by contrast, is set among the fashionable rich in the lush hills outside Perth.
Shafana & Aunt Sarrinah: What do you do when you disagree with someone you love? l Provocative Australian theatre
At the heart of Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah is the relationship between an aunt, Sarrinah, and her niece, Shafana. Both devout Muslims, the younger woman wants to put on a headscarf, the older woman tries to dissuade her. For Sarrinah, the hijab represents a world from which she has escaped; for her niece, Shafana, it is a personal statement of renewed faith.
Alana Valentine is one of Australia’s most renowned and respected playwrights. Her work for the stage includes Grounded, Cyberbile, Run Rabbit Run, Parramatta Girls, Eyes to the Floor, Watermark, Swimming the Globe, The Conjurers, Comin’ Home Soon, Dead Man Brake, Singing the Lonely Heart and Savage Grace.
Her writing has been awarded many times, including the Queensland and NSW Premier’s Awards, five AWGIE awards, including the inaugural David Williamson Prize and the Major AWGIE in 2013, the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award, a residency at the Banff Playwrights Conference in Canada, the ANPC/New Dramatists Award, a Churchilll Fellowship, a Centenary Medal and an International Writing Fellowship at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. In 2012 she won the prestigious STAGE Award—judged by Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights and Nobel Laureates—for her play Ear to the Edge of Time.
They met online. She’s a nurse in her forties, trapped in a loop of catastrophic debt. He’s in IT, trapped in his own loop of nightly porn-trawling. Both crave something else, but not necessarily each other. A deceptively compassionate cringe-comedy of mid-life loneliness and hidden zip folders.
Please note: this episode contains strong language and adult themes.
Declan Greene is a writer and theatre-maker based in Melbourne. His plays include A Black Joy, Moth, Summertime in the Garden of Eden and Little Mercy. His work has been produced at Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, the Sydney Opera House and various backyards in suburban Melbourne. Awards include the Malcolm Robertson Prize, the R.E. Ross Trust Playwright’s Development Award, an AWGIE Award and Green Room Awards.
Election night 1969: Don and Kath hope for a change of government and give a party to watch the results. But as the tide turns against Labor, faded ideals and disappointed hopes begin to reveal themselves. This brilliant satire examines a society on the threshold of emerging from a generation of comfortable, conservative political and social values.
David Williamson is Australia’s best known and most widely performed playwright. He was the first person outside Britain to receive the George Devine Award (for The Removalists) and the awards kept coming. They include: twelve AWGIE Awards; five Australian Film Institute Awards for Best Screenplay; The United Nations Association of Australian Media Peace Award in 1996; and in 2005, the Richard Lane Award for services to the Australian Writers’ Guild. David has also received four honorary doctorates and been made an Officer of the Order of Australia. His prodigious output for the stage includes The Removalists, The Department, The Club, Travelling North, Brilliant Lies and Dead White Males.
Lewis is a bit of a non-participant in life, but when he takes up an opportunity to direct a play at a mental institution - for a bit of extra cash - he gets much more than he bargained for. He becomes emotionally involved with his actors’ lives as his production lurches forward, and the anti-Vietnam war protests take place in the streets outside.
Louis Nowra is one of Australia’s most successful writers. He has penned novels, crafted film scripts, authored two memoirs and worked as a librettist, but he is perhaps best known for his plays. Since the early 1970s he has created over 30 stories for the stage; several of them have earned a rightful place in the Australian dramatic canon, and our hearts. They include Summer of the Aliens, Radiance, The Golden Age, The Temple and Albert Names Edward.
Two couples set out to betray their partners. A lover returns from the past and a husband doesn’t answer the phone. A woman disappears. Her neighbour's the prime suspect. In this masterfully interconnected polyphony, an evocative mystery unravels alongside a devastating tale of disconnection between individuals, partners and communities.
Andrew Bovell writes for the stage, television and film. In 1992 he wrote the original screenplay for Strictly Ballroom and in 2001 he went on to adapt his stage play Speaking in Tongues in to the feature film, Lantana. The film premiered at the Sydney Film Festival in 2001 and went on to screen at numerous international film festivals winning many awards. Most recently Andrew adapted John Le Carre’s novel A Most Wanted Man.
His theatre credits include Scenes from a Separation (with Hannie Rayson); Speaking in Tongues, which premiered at Griffin Theatre in 1996 and has had over 50 other productions worldwide; Holy Day, which won the Louis Esson Prize for Drama at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and the AWGIE Award for Best Stage Play (2002); and When the Rain Stops Falling, which won Queensland and Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for Best Play, the Adelaide Critics Circle Individual Award, Sydney Theatre Award for Best New Australian Work and 3 Greenroom Awards including Best New Writing for the Australian Stage.
An adaptation of Timothy Conigrave's landmark book that faithfully captures the fifteen-year relationship between Conigrave and the love of his life, John Caleo. Speaking across generations, sexualities and cultures, this is a heart-wrenchingly honest portrayal of what it means to grow up, how we form relationships, and why we need to love and be loved.
Tommy Murphy is one of Australia’s most beloved playwrights. His original stories, and his adaptations, have been warmly received - both critically and commercially. The adaptation of Timothy Conigrave’s best selling book, Holding the Man, is one of Tommy’s standouts. It won several awards and was presented by some of the country’s biggest theatre companies, playing to packed houses in most Australian capital cities, and travelling overseas to New Zealand, the US and London's West End.