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A Stretch of the Imagination


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A: Jack Hibberd Pf: 1972, Melbourne Pb: 1973 G: Monodrama in 1 act S: Monk O'Neill's hut and surroundings, Australian outback, 1960s C: 1mMonk O'Neill has rejected society, or been rejected by it, and now lives in complete isolation on One Tree Hill. We follow him through the course of one day (perhaps his last?). He gets up, urinates, carries out his daily chores, eats, and talks non-stop about his life, past and present. He reminisces about climbing Mount Kosciusko with his mate Les Darcy, about visiting Paris, about a love affair that went wrong because of his own macho thoughtlessness, about a snap frost that destroyed his vegetables. A particular source of guilt is that he cut down the tree on One Tree Hill, and he is now attempting to atone by collecting his urine to feed nutrients into the soil. He is aware that he will not be able to continue much longer like this, now that his legs and bladder are failing. Overcoming the terror of his impending demise, he settles down to sleep for the night.

A: Jack Hibberd Pf: 1972, Melbourne Pb: 1973 G: Monodrama in 1 act S: Monk O'Neill's hut and surroundings, Australian outback, 1960s C: 1m

Australian drama tends to deal with the urban environment in which most Australians live, clinging to the coast of their vast continent. Hibberd's play about an eccentric individual living miles from any human society has proved one of the most popular of his plays and has been performed internationally. The authentic setting and language may be a naturalistic portrayal of a not wholly likeable character, but it goes beyond mere naturalism to explore man in relation to his environment and, curiously for a monodrama, in relation to other people.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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Jack Hibberd (b. 1940)


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