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The Orange Grove by George Landen Dann



THEMES: Love, Betrayal, Revenge
LENGTH: 1 Hour
CAST SIZE: 7 – 8 Cast Members

Carrie lives alone on her impoverished river-flats farm. Isolated and forgotten by the world.


Carrie lives alone on her impoverished river-flats farm. Isolated and forgotten by the world, she relies on the company of the birds and trees. With her parents long gone, and her neighbour’s constant excuses not to visit her, she ekes out an existence from her old orange grove tree.

But her solitude is shattered when David, a dark, handsome stranger appears, resembling her past lover. While David draws up his proposal for the development of a new road and bridge, Carrie’s grip on reality begins to slide as she mixes recollection of a past betrayal with David’s new one – the possible resumption of her land.

Exploring classic themes of love, betrayal and revenge, The Orange Grove is unique in its form. Combining naturalistic dialogue and poetic descriptions, the heightened and distorted version of Carries reality comes to life in this play that is truly ahead of its time.

Historical Significance

A truly magnificent example of the Australian theatrical cannon. The Orange Grove is Australia’s answer to The Cherry Orchard.

A little known but terrifically successful Queensland playwright, George Landen Dann is the dark horse of Australian theatre history and a key figure in this collection.

The Orange Grove exhibits Landen Dann’s signature tragic style and themes of isolation, stagnancy and decay. It is perhaps his most masterful expression of it, thanks to his experimentation with form and medium. Written at a time in his life where he could finally live on his own terms, the play showcases his connection with the Australian landscape, and intuitive understanding of the people who populate it.

Throughout Australian history, land has had a symbolic importance specific to our culture. Landen Dann exploits this in The Orange Grove, using a physical place to underline conceptual themes and character relationships. These discourses around environment and the relationship humans have with it is a key feature in Australian theatre, and one which is thoroughly entrenched into

The central theatrical question is one of legacy and the meaning of human existence. The way it is played out through prose and beautifully constructed characters make the play a prime example of “personal is political.”

“Here was a drama which would stand comparison with Euripides’ Medea,” O.D Zieman 1958.

Production History

The Orange Grove originated as a radio play and was broadcast from 1958 – 1963. Alrene Sykes later mounted a new radio production of The Orange Grove, which included emerging Brisbane performers such as Jennifer Blocksidge and David Clendinning as the narrators. Jennifer later featured in a stage reading of the work in the early 1990s, which was directed by Richard Fotheringham at the time of establishment of the George Landen Dann Award.

ISBN: 978 1 921390 33 3

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