Alan Seymour, author of The One Day of the Year, has died at the age of 87, more than five decades after his play asked important questions about Australians’ attitude to Anzac Day. While a new production was playing at the time of the playwright’s death, one wonders whether the work would have the same impact were it to appear for the first time today.
- Van Badham in Guardian Australia picked up the Anzackery theme (while misspelling the word) but felt the play said more about class, education and family. She picked up critic Katherine Brisbane’s comment at the time that the play showed a ‘movement away from British gentility towards examination of the knotty working-class roots of Australian life’.
- Marc McEvoy’s obituary in The Age traced Seymour’s interactions with Australian intellectual life over decades.
- Another obit from W Stephen Gilbert in Guardian Australia.
- A replay of a Margaret Throsby interview with Seymour in 2003. He says he saw the play as being about Anzac Day and the other elements, particularly the father-son conflict, were pointed out to him by other people. Another 2003 interview with Sharon O’Neill.
- David Berthold, blogging and in Crikey’s Daily Review, described ODY as a great play about families but noted the irony of Seymour dying in the Anzac centenary year.
- Seymour’s death got Matthew Westwood in The Australian thinking about how the arts community is treating the centenary.
- Finally, the Copyright Agency’s Reading Australia program offered some resources for teachers working with the play in class.
- There’s more: World Socialist Web Site (Kaye Tucker) on Seymour as a radical, anti-militarist playwright.
3 April 2015 and updated