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Drovers


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A: Louis Esson Pf: 1920, Melbourne Pb: 1923 G: Drama in 1 act S: Droving camp, Barklay Tableland, Australia, c.1920 C: 6m, 1 child (m)It is early morning in the camp for the men driving cattle across the great plains. A Jackeroo, a novice from the city, foolishly shoots at a dingo, causing the cattle to stampede. Briglow Bill is knocked from his horse and badly injured. Some painkiller is found, but he is too ill to continue. Boss Alec McKay, who has worked with Briglow for years, tells him that they must press on and leave Briglow behind, which Briglow accepts with serenity. Jackeroo protests, but, with a man short, he must go to help the others. The aboriginal boy Pidgeon is told to stay behind to watch over Briglow, and chants as Briglow dies.

A: Louis Esson Pf: 1920, Melbourne Pb: 1923 G: Drama in 1 act S: Droving camp, Barklay Tableland, Australia, c.1920 C: 6m, 1 child (m)

While Australian theatre was performing almost exclusively foreign imports, Esson from 1910 onwards wrote authentic Australian drama, usually set amongst the poor and often in the bush. In The Drovers he depicts the rough male camaraderie of the cattle men and the tough decisions that have to be faced. Briglow unsentimentally assents to being abandoned by his mates, because death has ‘to come sooner or later’. Through this acceptance, he becomes close to the soul of Australia, and the Aborigine will organize a ‘big-fellow corroboree alonga you’.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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