By Bryce Hallett
April 17 2003
By Hannie Rayson. Melbourne Theatre Company, presented by Sydney Theatre Company
Drama Theatre, Opera House
Hannie Rayson's rural family saga Inheritance abounds in crusty, battle-scarred and stoic salt-of-the-earth characters. It lacks focus and depth in parts, and too easily loses sight of incidental matters, but for all of that it remains a heartening, robust and entertaining drama.
It tells the story of two related clans, the Hamiltons and the Delaneys, who have forged their own determinedly proud, self-protective identities, and their competing rights to an apparently doomed, or at least ailing, patch.
It is a land of battlers and a place with a slim, suspicious connection with the city and one where there's no shortage of pressure and muddle. Like the Pickles and the Lambs in Tim Winton's Cloud Street. the inhabitants of Inheritance similarly live under what Sam Pickles called "the shifty shadow of God".
Ronald Falk's blustery bloke Farley Hamilton is a close kin to Winton's curmudgeonly patriarch, a man whose choices, failings and dishonesty plays a crucial part even after he's gone.
The families don't so much fight with each other as fall prey to ructions within. Rayson's episodic play amusingly relates some of the manipulative wiles and city vs bush clashes while seeking to fathom notions of genuine attachment to the land and complex ownership issues that are emotional and spiritual, or anything but black and white.
The play catalogues the social ills of rural Australia - most disturbingly the plight and fall of the farmer - and while its broad sweep is appealing, it occasionally loses track or skims the surface of characters and events. But such is Rayson's flair for language and her affecting depiction of the half-caste Nugget - the "black bastard" son of a white landowner denied his promised land - that Inheritance stands as a truthful and sobering work.
Simon Phillips's staging is deft, well-paced and generally solves the demands of a script that is filmic in structure and style. Shaun Gurton's barn-like structure of moveable wood panels and floorboards works well.
Best of all, Phillips is well served by a magnificent cast who have no trouble summoning the tough, resolute and, in the instance of the 80-year-old matriarchal twins, Dibs Hamilton (Monica Maughan) and Girlie Delaney (Lois Ramsey), the loss and sadness beneath their workaday rituals and grit.
Ramsey and Maughan are superbly deadpan and as dry as the Mallee. They deliver firmly delineated portraits of postwar working class Australians who are warm yet tough, and call a spade a spade.
Phillips runs a little too hard and fast with the comic business in a few of the earlier scenes, but manages to cleverly underscore the play's ironic humour and edge, especially in the use of Ian McDonald's scene-framing or fade-out music.
Most of the scenes, including the arrival of battered car wrecks or ceremonial utes on stage, bring forth lively and argumentative play as testy or cynical relations come under strain. Much humour springs from the inevitable, and predictable, spats between country and city folk, each of whom is almost alien to the other.
A good deal of the saga charts the wear and tear of personal relationships and the extent to which lies, half-truths or just plain old-fashioned gossip can bruise families and reputations and, moreover, exert a heavy toll.
In soaking up the spirit, mood and character of rural Australia, Inheritance understandably pours out cliches and familiar types - I don't say this as a criticism - but its subtext is more telling and insightful than audiences might at first think. It's a very different play to Rayson's Hotel Sorrento and Life After George. but it again reveals her to be a compassionate, inquiring writer who, in airing intolerances, passions, burdens and alienations, reveals a hard, divisive land. Her simple question, "Who gets the farm?" has no easy answers as these splintered "loving" tribes testify.
The play sets a couple of revelations in store concerning the outcast Nugget, and Wayne Blair gives an outstanding performance. The pivotal scene he shares with Falk's unrepentant Farley is a highlight of the production.
Contradictions, jealousies and blinkered or self-regarding interests colour the play.
If you think Dibs's mix of respectability, racism and religion makes for a volatile cocktail, then wait till you catch sight of Geraldine Turner's Hansonite trail-blazer Maureen Delaney. It's a breathtaking turn.
As her disillusioned husband Lyle, Steve Bisley is ideally cast: rugged, masculine, angry and falling apart. He is excellent and so, too, is Rhys McConnochie as Dibs's gay, city-dwelling son who seeks his self-serving place in the sun. It's an understated performance of a man who, in the eyes of his monstrous old man, was never destined to amount
Julie Nihill and Gareth Ellis add good support, each embodying a level of tolerance and candour - virtues that have little reward in a place where the politics of fear hold sway and where the meek most likely won't inherit the Earth.
A memoir in parts, from one of Australia's best-loved playwrights.
Hannie Rayson - writer, mother, daughter, sister, wife, romantic, adventuress, parking-spot optimist - has spent a lifetime giving voice to others in the many roles she has written for stage and television.
In her new book, she shines the spotlight on herself. This collection of stories from a dramatic life radiate with the great warmth and humour that has made Hannie one of the best-known playwrights in the country. From a childhood in Brighton to a urinary tract infection in Spain, from a body buried under the house to a play on a tram, Hello, Beautiful! captures a life behind the scenes - a life of tender moments, hilarious encounters and, inevitably, drama.
Hannie Rayson is a playwright and screenwriter. Her works - including Hotel Sorrento. Inheritance and Life After George - have been performed around Australia and internationally. She has been awarded two Australian Writers' Guild Awards, four Helpmann Awards, two NSW Premier's Literary Awards and a Victorian Premier's Literary Award. Her play Life After George was the first play to be nominated for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Hannie lives in Melbourne.
‘So beautifully written, so funny, so insightful and so obviously written by a warm and appealing human being.’ David Williamson
‘Smart, witty, warm, self effacing and hilarious. Each chapter is a shining gem—a passionate view, a formative experience, a mortifying anecdote. Hannie Rayson’s insight, honesty and ear for dialogue as one of Australia’s foremost playwrights is beyond dispute. Here she turns her talents to memoir and those closest to her with results so disarming and entertaining I didn’t want it to end.’ Kat Stewart
‘Hannie paints with vivid colours. Her development as a writer and a woman is richly portrayed, with all the shades of intense feeling and emotion that her dramatic characters share spilling from the page in a riot of evocative memories. Hello, Beautiful! is as nourishing and delicious as home-made soup.’ Noni Hazlehurst
‘Hannie’s writing shows the extraordinary truth of ordinary life—that it is, in fact, anything but ordinary. I was glued to this delightful book.’ Sigrid Thornton
‘Think of this as bottled sunshine….her anecdotes about family, friends and the community she belongs to, are told with perfect comic timing and one of the most acute ears in the business for dialogue.’ Caroline Baum, Booktopia Buzz
‘This is a book that welcomes readers generously into its author’s secure and stimulating private world – and makes us wish, as we reluctantly close the final chapter, that we could be there for real.’ Adelaide Advertiser
‘A book of beautifully crafted, free-flowing vignettes that illuminates with warmth and humour.‘ Australian
‘Every chapter tickles.’ Country Living
‘Rayson’s vignettes are perfectly constructed and she is a virtuoso of self-deprecating humour.’ Sydney Morning Herald
‘With her cooly curious eye and facility for dialogue, Rayson has chronicled key moments in the nation’s social history…Hello, Beautiful! is a scrapbook of Rayson’s family foibles, thoughts and simple dreams.’ Big Issue
‘It was a pleasure to read such a refreshing take on the genre of memoir, written with skill, warmth and optimism. Like every good theatrical experience, you are left wanting more.’ Good Reading
‘Beautifully structured and articulated, not to mention hilarious….Rayson reels you in with her storytelling.’ Australian Book Review
‘An easy, entertaining read, written in a chatty, friendly, open style.’ Starts at Sixty
a Study Of Inheritable Traits In Fruit Flies crosses were conducted with Drosophila melanogaster. Our objective was to examine the inheritance from one generation to the next. We collected the data from the Gregor Mendel's Theories Of Genetic Inheritance inherited characters. Different alleles will create different variations in inherited characters. The sescond idea is that for each character, an organism inherits Inherit The Wind 2 8217;s diplomats, the Bible-thumping, prophesizing blow-hards much like Brady in Inherit the Wind, are as much the bigoted and biased, sacrilegious and amoral Inherit The Wind God's diplomats, the Bible-thumping, prophesizing blow-hards much like Brady in Inherit the Wind, are as much the bigoted and biased, sacrilegious and amoral
Submitted by rachelmif to the category English Composition on 03/07/2009 05:25 PM
In Hannie Rayson’s complex play ‘Inheritance’, there is an affray over the family farm, Allendale. The contemporary drama gives an insight of how rural Australia can be an extremely dark place, full of hardship and financial strain, leaving farmers unable to cope in their current situations. It proves time of abhorrent tragedies can tear away a family bond. The prologue was set in 1934, when ‘multiculturalism’ wasn’t heard of, homosexuals were discriminated against and aboriginals were denied the rights other Australians were benefiting. The play depicts a prejudiced and racist community, language emphasises this: Aborigines are "coons", Greeks are "wogs", and homosexuals are “poofters or pansy boys". To a degree, the characters in the play signify aspects of the Australian identity and experience. When the prologue was written (1934) it was a time when aboriginals weren’t given the rights other Australians were enjoying. Rayson uses Nugget to represent the wrongs of the past that haunt the present. He is an important symbol of the aboriginal population who was born as a result of a white man taking advantage of black women, used and discarded by white people and lost his birthrights. Nugget is overlooked in the play as he was a talented farmer with a lot of love for the land although was seen as a threat to others of their property rights. An example of prejudice against him was when he sensibly rejects a $100,000 deal to buy new farm machinery, Lyle mutters to him ‘bloody boong and ‘black bastard’. Aboriginals weren’t the only ones prone to discrimination in the play. Girlie makes assumptions about the Greeks who owned the pub ‘They’re thieves, those Greeks’. Maureen is an ambitious character with racist views. She refers to aboriginals as ‘the bloody Mabo mob’ and uses her own resentment to fuel her political campaign against multiculturalism in a speech she quoted ‘I’m talking about every Asian, Moslem and Hottentot who come here’. Maureen also prejudices.
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Autor: anton • June 10, 2011 • 719 Words (3 Pages) • 579 Views
Topic Question: 3 - "We all got trapped into doing things that we didn't want to do." Are all the characters trapped or do they act out of self-interest?
Hannie Rayson's complex play, "Inheritance", is a dramatic capture of the contrasting lifestyles of city and country folk in the 20th century and how inheritance proves to be an important role in the development of lifestyles of generations to come. People do not always inherit what they wish for, however they have the choice whether or not they will live there their lives around what they have inherited, or around there own desires. The characters inherit a range of valuables though many forms such as marriage, relational inheritance, and lifestyle and feel they are trapped when in fact the others act out of self interest for there own personal gain.
Marriage is a binding contract and although Dibs is the inheritor of Allendale (the family farm), though sadly she does not share the farming country spirit her husband Farley portrays. William furiously announced to Dibs "You've been whingeing about this house all our lives." Dibs has always wanted "her own brand new home, which she's dreamt of all her life" but William claims "the key issue for mum (Dibs) is that she is going to have to get some help with a certain person". As she is not willing to follow her actions of self interest as long as her marriage is intact. She is trapped due to her loyalty to her marriage and isn't freed until the end of the marriage at Farley's death.
Direct inheritance from pass downs from a parental figure to a child is always a valuable event that is non negotiable. William is trapped through his mother Dibs into (through being a descendant) into ownership of the farm. However, he acts through self interest wants to sell the farm for his partner Kevin which he advises "is my family". Dibs argues with him that he has no children "that's the difference. You don't know what it means to put yourself second. And as a result you seem to have lost the capacity for human charity." William never wanted to inherit the farm and so with his own self interest, chooses to sell it and reap its benefits for himself and his partner.
Along with material goods, people often inherit a way of life. Nugget, Lyle, Girlie, and Farley, after inheriting a life involved in some way in caring for the farm also inherited the typical country personality, all of which care for the
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DRAMA REVIEW- Draft Claudia Buttazzoni I didn't have the opportunity to see Hannie Rayson's first play Life After George and I couldn't be more disappointed, especially after seeing her latest play Inheritance. Inheritance is a wonderful piece of work. It is a sensitive, tender play, witty and sophisticated at the same time. It is also a very deep piece of work which covers many of our Nations biggest issues. Rayson weaves so many controversies together in the one play; gender identity, women's rights as land owners and the way they are viewed in a mans world, depression and suicide, city life versus life in the bush and one of Australia's longest existing battles- Aboriginal land rights. Inheritance is about rural Australia, which could only mean that it is a play about the land. It tells the story of five generations and just one farm. Twin sisters Girlie Delaney and Dibs Hamilton are preparing to celebrate their 80th birthday. . read more.
As the relations from the city begin to arrive, the strain begins to show. Most of the strain and stress revolves around the never answered and always burning question- who will get the farm. One of Rayson's greatest achievements, if not the greatest, is the way she is able to incorporate into her play pressing issues via the family's sagas. The main theme of Inheritance is obviously 'who gets the farm'. Whose is the ownership of Allandale? Is it the person who holds the deed? The person who works the land? Perhaps the true and rightful owners of Allandale are the indigene from whose ancestors the land was taken from. Inheritance combines straightforward narrative with layer upon layer of complexity and meaning. All the subtlety and mystic of the script is brought out by a magnificent cast and clear, strong directing. Veteran actors Lois Ramsay and Monica Maughan head the cast as the twin sisters Dibs and Girlie. . read more.
The shock is not the fact that the adopted, Aboriginal son Nugget is actually Dibs' husband, Farley's, biological son, but the way and the degree that Nugget is rejected. He is Farley's right hand man and the best farmer in the family, however a mixture of sexual jealousy and the down right racism that comes from Debs, see Nugget rejected and discriminated against. Blair's performance as Nugget is outstanding and comes close to measuring up to Bisley's portrayal of Lyle. Simon Philips direction is straightforward, clear and strong. He maintains a good pace throughout the play and draws out strong characteristics and characterisations of each character. Inheritance is a truly fantastic play, one I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend. Rayson has created a realistic world of family, life and human struggle that relates to people from the city as much as it does people whole live out in the country. A captivating play that takes you on an emotional journey and keeps you thinking about some of the issues it tackled for days, Inheritance is a play not to be missed. . read more.
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The Themes In Hannie Rayson’s Hotel Sorrento Essay, Research Paper
One of Hannie Rayson’s main concerns in her play Hotel Sorrento is the characters’ need to face the truth about themselves and the past. This issue is present throughout the play and is weaved into the themes of loyalty versus truth and the intimate bond between sisters to reinforce the powerful link between literature and real life. Rayson also looks deeply at the nature of Australian identity, the relationship between cultural identity and literature and the power of art to transform.
Rayson investigates the theme of loyalty, truth and betrayal through the characters’ need to face the reality of the past. Each character voices an opinion on which they see to be more important, truth or loyalty. For example Marge believes that loyalty can be followed like a religion. “Once you’ve signed up you don’t have to ask so many questions.” By this she is suggesting that loyalty can be followed blindly without questioning the people or events that are being protected. Edwin agrees with Marge’s thoughts on this subject. “I think that people hold on to these things, like the notion of loyalty, or truth, as if they were unassailable.”
As the play develops the sisters become aware that they must put aside loyalties and begin to confront their past so that they can reconcile their differences and begin to enjoy the future. This is shown by Meg’s conflict of emotions when dealing with her country and family.
“If you ask the average Brit what he knows about Australia, he’ll probably say Fosters and vomit. The trouble is that your average Aussie bloke on the loose in London regardless of whether he’s backpacking or wheeling and dealing, does nothing to dispel this image. When I meet Australians over here I take some comfort in the fact that it is only a minor outbreak. At home we’re talking epidemic!”
Because of the high esteem Australians hold for loyalty and mateship Meg was unable to confront her past. This was especially true in the Moynihan family because Wal was brought up believing that loyalty was “unassailable” even if it meant sacrificing the truth. Australian ideals and beliefs have destroyed Meg’s family and in the process she has lost her respect for Australian men and Australian culture.
Meg uses her identity as an expatriate to condemn Australian men and Australian culture.
TROY: He said that people only travelled when they needed to run away.
EDWIN: Well two of his daughters did travel. What did he say about that?
TROY: He said they were running away.
As Wal suggests Meg’s status as an expatriate also stems from the sisters’ inability to deal with the past. Because she was unable to confront the truth surrounding Gary’s death due to what she believed to be loyalty toward her family Meg was forced to escape Australia’s suffocating culture.
Through Meg’s expatriate eyes Rayson looks at the changes that Australian culture and identity has undergone over a ten-year period. Meg sees Australia as a country that “honours ordinariness” and is “rife with xenophobia and anti-intellectualism.” This is a very limited view of Australian life and relies heavily on her family influences of drinking, fishing, mateship and the role of the mother.
Australian identity is an important issue in the play because it deeply involves the observer characters of Marge, Dick and Edwin. Each character’s opinions are influenced by their relationship with Meg and her novel. For example Edwin’s view on Australian identity, becomes contradictory as the play progresses. He begins to recognise Meg’s need to accept her identity as an Australian so that her family can begin to reconcile their differences. For example on his arrival in Sorrento he states that:
“This town feels like everyone in it was born into middle age. D’you know, the only conversations I’ve had since we arrived, have been about children and compost.”
As he begins to realise that Australia and Sorrento are an important part of Meg’s life, his views on Australian culture begin to soften.
“It isn’t as harsh. The light. In fact it is very gentle. very mellow.”
Dick’s views on the issue of Australian identity are clouded by his journalistic approach to conversation. He is always trying to get a reaction from Meg by expressing views that attack the foundations of her beliefs.
“These bloody smart arse expatriates. I mean what is it that that makes them think that living elsewhere automatically qualifies them to make sweeping generalisations about this place. Things change. The woman hasn’t lived here for ten years. Look what’s happened in that time.”
One of the most calculated statements on this issue comes from the character of Marge.
“Australia can’t be contained in this sort of broad brushstroke you’re asking for. Great big vision makes very empty pictures if you don’t attend to the details”
Marge is indicating that Australia is made up of millions of individuals and that it is unfair to make sweeping generalisations about their cultural identity.
The sisters seem to experience a love/hate relationship with family life. On one hand it holds the key to fond childhood memories of Sorrento and their parents. The restoration of family life promotes the girls into the roles that make them feel secure within the family. For example Pippa becomes the insecure, immature and inadequate baby of the family. She must believe that by acting in this manner her sisters will forgive her act of betrayal toward them.
“You think I’m still an angry young thing, don’t you? You may think this is bullshit, but I’m a different when I’m away. I’m a different person. If you met one of my friends in New York and you said, ‘Pippa’s such a cot case isn’t she?’ they wouldn’t know what you were talking about”
The girls’ memories of Sorrento also include information they would rather leave buried in the past. Their need to function as a ‘normal’ Australian family overshadows their ability to confront their problems. It takes Meg’s book Melancholy to delve into the girl’s dilemmas and assess whether or not they wish to continue pretending.
“I wanted to see if I could fit into this family again. I wanted to see if the three of us could be together. I want to know now, whether you two think it’s possible? You’ll never forgive me, will you, for writing about something that we couldn’t talk about”
The refusal by Pippa and Hilary to recognise Meg’s book as an attempt to examine and better understand the truth about their family and themselves shows that literature does not always have the desired effect of the author. Meg’s need for reconciliation and her honesty about their problems did change the sisters, but it also destroyed their relationship. As Meg says to Troy “That’s the thing you have to be careful about with fiction. It leads us to believe that reconciliations are possible.”
Melancholy is seen by Dick as: “A very nice, sentimental, lightweight piece of fiction.” He thinks “Great literature awakens us to our humanity It certainly isn’t about gender politics, that’s for sure.” He is incapable of understanding the novel because he has not experienced the emotions the novel raises. Meg uses literature as a form of therapy. Her book has the power to deal with the guilt and anger she has experienced after Gary’s death. This is the reason that Marge enjoys the novel. She can relate to the character’s emotions and draw on the therapy that the book radiates. “I was so much like Helen” she comments, referring to the character of Helen in Melancholy.
Hannie Rayson effectively uses Hotel Sorrento to explore the themes of loyalty versus truth, the intimate bond between sisters, the nature of Australian identity, the relationship between cultural identity and literature, the power of art to transform and the characters’ need to face the truth about themselves and the past. The themes are intertwined to bring the characters and events to life, with the use of problems and dilemmas that the ‘ordinary’ Australian can relate too. None of the themes stand alone in importance and all build on each other to develop a play “Of great poignancy and reverberation.”