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Ray Lawler (Raymond Evenor Lawler) Biography

(1921– ), (Raymond Evenor Lawler), The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, Kid Stakes, Other Times

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Mary Lavin Biography to Light Shining in Buckinghamshire

Australian playwright, born in Melbourne; he left school at the age of 13, and later began working as an actor with the National Theatre Company of Melbourne. He received widespread fame with his play The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (1955), a tragi-comic drama about two sugar-cane cutters, Barney and Roo, and their Melbourne girlfriends whom they visit annually, during the summer ‘lay-off’ period, bringing with them their traditional gift of a kewpie doll; on the seventeenth summer the men are faced with the reality that their women no longer find the arrangement acceptable. The play was regarded as a milestone in Australian drama for its examination of cultural and sexual stereotypes and its reassessment of the myth of the bush; it was made into a film in 1960 and was later complemented by two related plays, Kid Stakes (1975) and Other Times (1976). Other plays on similar themes include The Piccadilly Bushman (1959) and The Unshaven Cheek (1963). A later play, Godsend (1982), has a religious theme and is set in England.

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