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Removalists


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A: David Williamson Pf: 1971, Melbourne Pb: 1972 G: Play in 2 acts S: Police station and the Carters' flat, Melbourne, 1970s C: 4m, 2fSergeant Dan Simmonds is an old-time cynical policeman in his fifties who seeks only a quiet life, so when the keen young Constable Ross joins his station, Simmonds quickly cuts him down to size. Kate Le Page, the wife of a dentist, comes with her younger sister Fiona to register a complaint of wife-battering by Fiona's working-class husband Kenny Carter, and Simmonds seizes the opportunity to examine her bruised thighs with great care. Kate has already arranged for Fiona to leave Kenny, and Simmonds, hoping to get to know Kate better, volunteers his and Ross's help with the removalists (i.e. furniture removers) the following evening. The next day, all Fiona's attempts to get her husband Kenny to go out to the pub fail, so he is present when Kate, the removalist, and the two policeman arrive at his flat and begin removing furniture. When Kenny becomes abusive, Simmonds handcuffs him to the door. After the women and the workman have left, Ross, who has been an unwilling participant in this venture, becomes so incensed with Kenny's insults and the deprecating remarks of his boss that he finally lashes out at Kenny and kills him. Simmonds and Ross agree to pretend that they were acting in self-defence and begin hitting each other to create ‘evidence’ that Kenny had been violent.

A: David Williamson Pf: 1971, Melbourne Pb: 1972 G: Play in 2 acts S: Police station and the Carters' flat, Melbourne, 1970s C: 4m, 2f

Through pieces like this and Don's Party, Williamson has become Australia's most popular and successful playwright, charting with cool detachment the macho culture of the Australian male. The Removalists is a tragedy of human idealism: all Ross's good intentions to work for a better world are swallowed up in a culture of violence and abuse. Men are ‘the removalists’, emptying their lives of gentleness, love, and understanding for fear of being thought unmanly.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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Authors

David Williamson (b. 1942)


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