The One Day of the Year – Therry Dramatic Society

The One Day of the Year – Therry Dramatic Society

The One Day of the Year is an Australian play by  Alan Seymour originally written in 1958 about Anzac Day. Alf’s son Hughie and his girlfriend Jan plan to document Anzac Day for the university newspaper, focusing on the drinking on Anzac Day. For the first time in his life Hughie refuses to attend the dawn service with Alf. When he watches the march on television at home with his mother and Wacka, he is torn between outrage at the display and love for his father.

John Rosen is formidable as Alf, the nobody who becomes a somebody on this day of days. He finds the perfect balance between bigoted working-class, Pom-hating veteran of the second world war and a vulnerable middle-aged father, escaping the disappointments of civilian life. Julie Quick is the perfect foil as his wife and the anchor of the family, Dot Cook. Jai Pearce, in his first role outside of school, delivers a strong performance as Hughie, their son, with all the uncertainties and rebelliousness of youth; and Ashley Penny, a now frequent performer in Adelaide community theatre, is perfectly pushy as his upper-class girlfriend Jan.  Christopher Leech rounds out the cast nicely as the wise and steadfast family friend Wacka.

Director Kerrin White keeps the pace moving along nicely and his staging choices work well. He recognises that despite the initial controversy surrounding the play, it is as much about family dynamics, generational differences, class conflict and the richness of the archetypal characters as it is about the way Anzac Day is commemorated. This production brings these characters to life in all their frustrating, humorous and pitiful glory and it is evident why this remains one of Australia’s most popular plays.

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