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Title: Moving out: centrifugal patterns of masculinity in urban Australian plays, 1955-70 and 1985-2000
Contributor(s): Kiernander, Adrian Rodney (author)
Publication Date: 2006
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Abstract: At first glance, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, first performed in1955, is an exemplary text for an investigation of theatrical masculinity in Australia in the 1950s. The central male characters, Roo and Barney, have become symbols of a 1950s-style masculinity. However the complexities of the play reveal that these two characters are much more problematic than this straightforward picture would suggest. Certainly they do many of the things that counted in terms of the stereotype of idealised masculinity: they have earned the admiration and devotion of the women in the play and are described in godlike or superhuman terms, and as eagles flying down out of the sun (Lawler 1978: 250), they perform hard physical labour, they live and work in the bush, they smoke and drink hard, they speak forcefully and directly, and so on. What is more pertinent to this chapter,they are highly mobile, moving on an annual cycle from work in the canefields of Queensland to the layoff in the city of Melbourne. The title of the play itself draws attention to the cyclical nature of their lives, and the importance of mobility for the performance of their masculinity. However, as Michael Mangan reminds us, masculinity is relational (2003: 9), and in this play the relationality of gender begins to call into question the ideal masculinity of the two heroes.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: What a Man's Gotta Do? Masculinities in Performance, p. 72-86
Publisher: CALLTS (Centre for Australian Language, Literature, Theatre and Screen Studies, University of New England)
Place of Publication: Armidale, Australia
ISBN: 1921208023
Field of Research (FOR): 190499 Performing Arts and Creative Writing not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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