'This is What Happens When You Get Extremely Happy' And There's a Track Winding Back: The Road Less Travelled

Connolly, Maureen Therese (2007). 'This is What Happens When You Get Extremely Happy' And There's a Track Winding Back: The Road Less Travelled MPhil Thesis, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, University of Queensland.

       
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Author Connolly, Maureen Therese
Thesis Title 'This is What Happens When You Get Extremely Happy' And There's a Track Winding Back: The Road Less Travelled
School, Centre or Institute School of English, Media Studies and Art History
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Mr Venero Armanno
Subjects 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Abstract/Summary This thesis has a strong research component; the discipline was to write a creative dissertation and a critical essay within this research. The Creative dissertation is entitled This Is What Happens When You Get Extremely Happy and is set in 1973 at Hornet Bank Station, Central Queensland. The critical essay is called There's a Track Winding Back: The Road Less Traveled. Together these to pieces explore the relationship between Australian Baby Boomers and the generation of World War Two; the Hammerstein musicals, Carousel, Oklahoma, Show Boat, and South Pacific; and the role of the musical form in popular entertainments. Thematically, Hammerstein's musicals engaged with the pressing social issues of this time: he wrote of the importance of spiritual place and rural community. Research undertaken for this thesis found Hammerstein's musicals to criticise excessive bonding and bridging when it occurred at the expense of bridging the divides between them, alienating those groups positioned as 'different'. The analysis proceeds by associative layering. Reflections on musical history give way to the study of human behaviour. The social sciences, particularly Robert Putnam's theory of social capital, are linked with Hammerstein's librettos. Jung's theories of duality and the Orpheus/Eurydice legend are used to textually reread the position of women in these musicals. The Australian context for this research was the historical events that took place at Hornet Bank Station in Central Queensland. There , in 1857, a group of Jimman men launched a dawn raid to revenge the rape of indigenous women by white invaders. Eleven Europeans were killed setting off a series of vicious reprisal attacks. The creative dissertation is a transportation of this same material and incorporates a large oral history component, involving members of the Aboriginal community in Brisbane, which sought to provide a cultural memory of the historical events that took place at Hornet Bank Station in 1857. An unreconciled tension between indigenous spirituality and foreign spiritualities informs much of the work herein. The three main characters of my play are Gloria, Genevieve and Ivy. Gloria and Genevieve are both unaware of the myths and legends of their European ancestry. They undertake a spiritual quest, but in doing so break a promise to God. The atonement they must make brings them into conflict with Ivy, who makes them question the foundations of their beliefs.

 
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