Our February picks for schools - 2 more great plays for the classroom
Tom Healey - AustralianPlays.org Literary Manager
Hello, and here we are in 2017!! To kick the year off I have chosen two plays by writers who are specialists in writing for young people, even though they hail from very different generations. Kate Rice is a WA-based playwright who trained at both NIDA (in playwriting) and the VCA in Melbourne (as an actor). She is the recipient of numerous commissions and is one of Australia’s most sought-after playwrights for young people. Ned Manning has recently returned to Sydney. Like Kate, he was an actor originally, but also worked as a teacher (at Newtown School for the Performing Arts) for many years and as a freelance playwright. For many years he wrote the ‘Actors at Work’ series for Bell Shakespeare which introduces children from year 3 to year 12 to the wonders of Shakespeare, all of which are available on our catalogue.
Kate Rice’s adaption of Sophocles’ ANTIGONE sets the action in a contemporary environment. Rather than the Greek setting of the original, this version is set amongst the contemporary environment of terrorism, and so brings in a strong and current political angle. Antigone is one of literature’s strongest heroines. The story of a daughter defying her father is as old as humanity, but she is a role model in the context of this story. In this version, as in the original, Antigone represents a newer and more flexible and forgiving generation, set to dissolve the set-in and conservative mores of the older generation. This version is especially intended for 16-18 year olds to perform.
Ned Manning's THE BRIDGE IS DOWN is a gentle and delightfully comic – and nostalgic – look at Australia in the 1950’s. Set amongst the Queen’s visit in 1953, Manning places a whole lot of women (10 to be precise) in a shearing shed where they are stuck, due to a torrential downpour. This is a great play to use as a bouncing-off point for how societies change over time, how attitudes and values shift as generations succeed each other. And a great piece for 10 girls!
Tom Healey, Literary Manager