"Australian Plays explore the different ways people cope when things change or go wrong"

Essay by ROXYHEARTHigh School, 11th gradeB+, September 2007

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Throughout history Australian plays have explored change, whether it be socially or politically driven and then, how they cope with the change or wrong doing. In the late 1960’s there was a revolutionary change in Australian theatre, though in the late 50’s it had become clear that a change was needed as Australians wanted to see ‘ordinary Australians, themselves, onstage’ and prior to this most plays were British or American. Debra Oswald’s play, Gary’s house explores how people in the ‘battling underclass’ kept leaving each other as their relationships with each other broke apart, also the isolation of lower socio economic people, and then how hardships cause people to come together in the end to cope with change or when something has gone wrong. Ray Lawler’s play Summer of the seventeenth doll which was written in the midst of cultural resurgence in Australia, the play explores the ageing and time, stereotypes and ideals, dreams vs.


Debra Oswald, examines relationships and how people struggle as they try to build lives for themselves. The underclass in the play are represented by Oswald to be determined and to be able to cope with, and deal with changes or problems that they are faced with, hence the characters being able to develop and ‘ battle on ‘. Gary’s house reflects the characters determination through a number of forms and features of the text, including the plot, stage directions and dialogue.

The plot, in Gary’s house places the characters on an isolated block of land in the bush, where Gary is building for the first time ever, a house which he can live in and that will be his house, as Gary builds the house onstage, it becomes a metaphor for Gary, making something out of life, against the odds; the house...