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Our Country's Good [Paperback]

Timberlake Wertenbaker
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 27, 1990 0871293420 978-0871293428 Acting
Australia 1789. A young married lieutenant is directing rehearsals of the first play ever to be staged in that country. With only two copies of the text, a cast of convicts, and one leading lady who may be about to be hanged, conditions are hardly ideal...Winner of the Laurence Olivier Play of the Year Award in 1988, and many other major awards, Our Country's Good premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1988 and opened on Broadway in 1991. 'Rarely has the redemptive, transcendental power of theatre been argued with such eloquence and passion.' Georgina Brown, Independent Methuen Student Editions are expertly annotated texts of a wide range of plays from the modern and classic repertoires. As well as the complete text of the play itself, the volume contains a chronology of the playwright's life and work; an introduction giving the background to the play; a discussion of the various interpretations; and notes on individual words and phrases in the text.

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Editorial Reviews


"Wertenbaker has searched history and found in it a humanistic lesson for hard modern times: rough, sombre, undogmatic and warm" The Sunday Times "Highly theatrical, often funny and at times dark and disturbing, it sets an infant civilization on the stage with clarity, economy and insight" The Daily Telegraph, Charles Spencer --The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph

About the Author

Timberlake Wertenbaker was born in France and was Resident Writer for 'Shared Experience' in 1983 and the Royal Court Theatre 1984-85. She is best known for her play Our Country's Good (1988), based on the novel The Playmaker by Thomas Keneally. First performed at the Royal Court in 1988, it was awarded the Laurence Olivier/BBC Award for Best New Play, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best New Foreign Play and was nominated for six 'Tonies'.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 109 pages
  • Publisher: Dramatic Publishing; Acting edition (February 27, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871293420
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871293428
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 4.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #483,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An amazing piece of drama January 25, 2006
As an A level theatre studies student, "Our Country's Good" is, for me, an extraordinary simulacrum of our current trauma, and the ways in which art can both enlighten the best in us and help us to transcend the intolerable worst.

The last reviewer, who stated the play as `stupid', obviously has no imagination and knows little about the underlying themes and context within each character and the play as a whole.

Rich, funny, haunting, and deeply moving, Wertenbaker has searched history and found a humanistic parable for our harsh modern era: theatre is what makes us human in the face of absolute cruelty.

"Our Country's Good" is definitely a must-read and see for anyone who believes in the ability of the theatre to move and change lives.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Top Ten Plays June 22, 2011
I saw this show years ago on Broadway. I was standing in the TIX line with my husband, and the woman behind us recommended it. Mimimal set, especially for a Broadway production, and almost all of the actors were playing double roles. The show is everything that is good about theatre. Maximum impact because the magic happens in the minds of the audience. I'm amazed that it isn't produced more frequently. The theme is theatre as a civilizing influence. I couldn't agree more.
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good God, How I Hate This Play December 27, 2004
I was in this play in college (also as David Collins, same as another reviewer, ironically) and yet I absolutely hated this play. Not only do I think that the dramatic action is just plain stupid (the structure of the play completely inhibits any dramatic build), most of the monologues do not read at all.

The male and female leads have a barely developed relationship that is almost never seen onstage. The male lead is possibly the most boring priss ever written. Supporting parts are barely examined or are introduced and then dropped (i.e. Watkin Tench, Collins, Meg, etc.) The play further ignores huge character points that were developed in the book, for instance, the past relationship between Dabby Bryant and the male lead. The only character in this drama worth playing is Harry Brewer who nonetheless is still a bizarre character whose Gollum-Schizophrenia monologue is almost as stupid as his lover's "If you live, I will..." monologue. How in God's name you actually build her speech in any fashion I'll never understand.

Essentially, the play tries unsuccessfully to mesh together realism with various Brechtian devices. While I can appreciate the play as something different from a lot of what is on the modern stage, sometimes change is not a good thing, as this piece of artistic pretension demonstrates.
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