Some Recent Australian Plays, and Problems of Their Criticism


Few Australian critics would to-day be prepared to say that the Australian theatre contributes on equal terms with other centres of activity to the development of drama as a form, or that Australian dramatists have written plays which take their place quietly and of right among the best being written elsewhere. For those who agree that the drama is both a major cultural expression and a major artistic form in the life of the West, and that its best achievements, from fifth century Athens on, have bulked large among its greatest literature, the failure of Australian drama so far to produce plays of full significance to the contemporary English speaking theatre must be a matter of regret and concern—and discussion. I wish, therefore, to identify and examine here what I see as some of the basic elements in this situation, and to adduce some general considerations on what is involved; without engaging in any very close criticism of individual plays.

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Published 1 October 1967 in Volume 3 No. 2. Subjects: Australian drama, Australian literature - Comparisons with overseas literature, Critical reception, Pessimism.

Cite as: Porteous, Alexander. ‘Some Recent Australian Plays, and Problems of Their Criticism.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 3, no. 2, 1967, doi: 10.20314/als.f3294de9a6.