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Trinity News : July 2008
“OUR COUNTRY’S GOOD” ALL THE BETTER FOR THE BEST WORK GIVEN TO IT! Taken from the hulk prisons and respectable regiments of England, and sent to the uttermost parts of the globe, the group of people—soldiers and convicts---who formed the First Fleet and who were the first white inhabitants of New South Wales, found there was no need to be put in prisons constructed of stone and iron, for the country it self offered them little if any chance of escape either for convict or guard. Governor Arthur Phillip had the task of rehabilitating the convicts to have them become eventually responsible members of the society which he had also to establish. The play, Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker, presented by Trinity Grammar School Year 11 Drama class under the direction of Mr Brendan Duhigg, Master of Drama, presented one of the efforts of the early colony to bring some degree of civilisation to its social fabric by having the convicts put on a play. Despite much bitter opposition from some of the soldiers, and no small amount of self-deprecation by the convicts, Phillip charged Second Lieutenant Robert Clark to carry out this task. The Recruiting Officer, a famous play of the period, was chosen to be performed. The hope of some of the officers was that theatre, as an expression of civilisation, could provide some vision beyond their present circumstances to the members of the colony. It is interesting to observe that recently the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, at the 2020 Summit felt that modern school curricula should feature the teaching of the performing arts for the same reasons as did Governor Phillip. The Trinity and Danebank Drama students carried out this rather difficult play with no small degree of expertise. In the many dramatic moments when emotions of hate, scorn, despair, love and compassion were portrayed, the young dramatists brought much talent to their contribution. The “play within a play” approach was on the whole handled very well, the most dramatic sequences occurring when, after accused and adjudged guilty on flimsy evidence which was later proved false, the players heroically rose above the humiliation two officers heaped upon them after interrupting a rehearsal; and continued with their lines to the sound accompaniment off stage of the convict being flogged. During the interval, the audience gathered in the foyer was startled into silence when the character Liz Morden ran shouting through the crowd, and up the staircase, where, apprehended by some soldiers and being dragged back down the stairs, gave a most moving and passionate apologia of the convicts’ position. The audience, under the eye of the soldiers, moved back into the auditorium, the short dramatic presentation having reinforced the mood of the play. T h e s imp l e set, with its suggestion of the sails of the First Fleet, and the several square black cubes suggesting the harshness of the colony’s environment, was excellently supplemented by the sound and lighting. Costumes and make-up were also most appropriate for the period, and front of house, programmes and ticketing all contributed to making Our County’s Good the effective, moving and thought-provoking production that it was. Congratulations to all concerned. Ron Ogier THE GARY CATALANO CREATIVE WRITING COMPETITION The Gary Catalano Creative Writing Competition, established in memory of noted Australian poet and art critic, and former Old Trinitarian, Gary Catalano (1947 – 2002), with generous sponsorship by the Old Trinitarians Union and the Parents and Friends Association, is now in its fifth year. On Wednesday 4 June, in the Senior and Middle School Head Master’s Assemblies, the winners were announced, and presented with their certificates and prizes, by this year’s guest judge, Mr Christopher Richardson, an Old Trinitarian of the Class of 2000. Mr Richardson, whose long-held ambition is to be a full-time writer, tells the story of his life since leaving the School as follows. ‘From 2001 to 2004 I attended the University of Sydney, studying History, Performance, but mostly Literature, gaining First Class Honours with a thesis on “violence and escape” in the works of Victorian children’s poet, Edward Lear, author of “The Owl and the Pussy-cat.” During this time, I returned to Trinity to coach debating, drama, and direct a production of The Wind in the Willows. ‘In my final year of university, I wrote three non-fiction picture books for Scholastic Australia, which were also published in New Zealand, Canada and the United States, and earned a nomination in the Australian Publishers’ Association Awards for Excellence in Educational Publishing. The following year I wrote another three titles for the series, which involved interviewing a NASA astronaut. ‘Since then, I have completed 18 months of travel, from Turkey to Morocco and India, with two months writing in Florence, and five months in Barcelona, completing a novel which has been flattered by Lyn Tranter of Australian Literary Management, and Dyan 6 TRINITY NEWS Blacklock of Omnibus Books, but is not quite there yet. Hopefully you’ll see it in all good bookstores soon. In the meantime, I am working in the office of Scholastic Australia, and writing the second instalment of my proposed Trilogy.’ The winning contributions will be published later this year in Pressings, Trinity’s annual anthology of student writing. Dr Allan Pride | English Department Our Country’s Good