Worlds collide when the proprietors of a stately English home generously invite two wounded soldiers to recuperate within their walls. But these aren’t just any soldiers — these are ANZACs. Echoes of their bravery on the beaches of Turkey have traveled throughout Europe and have lead Bill Gash and Jim Blake right into the heart of the British upper-class, and while they may not be prepared for the Lords, Ladies, titles & servants — the English aristocracy are certainly not prepared for two blokes from the Merrawinia Cattle Station.
Gallipoli Bill is the last professionally-performed stage play by Arthur Adams (1872 – 1936) and “deserves to be remembered not just as a historical curiosity but because of its conscious attempt to record some of the attitudes and slang of the Australian soldiers during the Great War of 1914 – 1919.” – Richard Fotheringham.
Gallipoli Bill is a cornerstone of ANZAC theatre and a first hand account of the social changes brought on by the war, all wrapped up with a romcom bow.
Arthur Henry Adams was a novelist, playwright, journalist, and editor of the Sydney Bulletin’s “Red Page.” As an ardent supporter of Australian playwrights, he was heavily involved in the local industry and frequently gave feedback and advice to aspiring artists, and criticised the dictators of main stage theatre for being indifferent to home grown talent.
In Gallipoli Bill he records the shifting social landscape, including industrialisation, gender roles and class structure in both Australia and England. It manipulates dramatic tools and features common at the time of writing, such as the inclusion of character Lady Vicky Polyblank, to reinforce this theme of a world in flux.
There are few figures (if any) that Australians revere more than the ANZAC. The impact these men and their legends have had on our national psyche is enormous. Adams’ play and Tal Ordell’s performance as Bill “helped mould the legend of the Aussie digger,” Richard Fotheringham, 2013.
Little is known about productions of Gallipoli Bill apart from a short professional production in 1926.
ISBN: 978 1921390 357
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