A Stretch of the Imagination
Other Plays by Jack Hibberd
Hibberd, Jack (Australian playwright, essayist, librettist, linguist, medical doctor, novelist, poet, short story writer, b. Warracknabeal, Victoria, Australia, April 12, 1940-____), “A Stretch of the Imagination,”
a __-minute comedy in English, set in ________, Australia, 1972,
© 1972 by Jack Hibberd;
• in Jack Hibberd’s A Stretch of the Imagination, introduced by the author, preface by Margaret Williams (Sydney, Australia: Currency Press, 1973), ISBN 0858930269, ISBN 0858930277, 53 pp.;
• in Plays of the 70s, vol. 1, edited by Katharine Brisbane (Strawberry Hills, New South Wales, Australia: Currency Press, 2000), ISBN 0868195480, containing Michael Boddy and Bob Ellis’ The Legend of King O'Malley; Alma De Groen’s “The Joss Adams Show,” 2m2f; John Romeril’s “Mrs Thally F,” 3f; Jack Hibberd’s “A Stretch of the Imagination,” 1m; David Williamson’s The Removalists;
• also, in Jack Hibberd’s Selected Plays (Sydney: Currency Press, 2000), ISBN 0868196320, 148 pp.;
• script/rights available from Currency Press, P.O. Box 2287, Strawberry Hills, New South Wales 2012, Australia, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.currency.com.au/contact.aspx, telephone 61 (0)2 9319 5877, fax 61 (0)2 9319 3649;
• contact Jack Hibberd's agent, Fran Bryson, Bryson Agency Australia Pty. Ltd., telephone +61 3 9620 9100 or fax +61 3 9621 2788.
Monk O'Neil (m), a cantankerous, repulsive, vulgar, erudite old curmudgeon.
• Premiered 1972.
• “. . . ‘A Stretch of the Imagination’ introduces us to the painfully lonely world of Monk O’Neil, one of the great comic creations of Australian dramatic literature.”—Australian Plays, http://www.currency.com.au/plays.htm, accessed August 18, 2003. “Archetype of Australian character.”—Currency Press catalog excerpt sent by Claire Grady, email@example.com, November 25, 2002.
• “O'Neil is a cantankerous, repulsive, vulgar, erudite old curmudgeon . . . , who can free-associate between tomatoes and Pythagorus, Narcissus and politicians, Baudelaire and fucking and never drop the ball. He can call Proust ’sport' and get away with it; he can clean his feet with rosary beads and get away with that, too. In fact these moments of contradiction (of elevating the base or debasing the elevated, depending on how you look at it) reach an apotheosis when he attempts to piss into a large pot on stage, turns to the audience and delivers the contrapuntally poetic line, 'I void nill [sic].' It’s a significant line because, although Monk O'Neil lies so far outside the boundaries of socially acceptable behaviour that he can get away with just about anything, he cannot get away from growing old and dying. . . . At the heart of Hibberd’s unsentimental, raucous, bawdy text is a poignant narrative of bodily decay and the encroachment of death. . . . The shadowy form of Monk O'Neil is both monstrous and deformed and yet strangely stylised and delicate. More kabuki or butoh than Dimboola. Lisa Kerrigan.”—On Stage Melbourne, http://www.axs.com.au/~onstage/shows/97/osmastrr.html, accessed November 25, 2002.
• Playwright, poet and novelist. Born in Warracknabeal, Victoria, Hibberd studied medicine at the University of Melbourne, and practised as a doctor in Melbourne from 1964 until 1973. He was closely associated with the Australian Performing Group until 1976. His plays include A stretch of the imagination (1973) and Dimboola (1974). More recent works include the novels Memoirs of an old bastard (1989), The life of Riley (1991), and Perdita (1992). He has also published translations of poems by Baudelaire, Le vin des amants (1977), and with Garrie Hutchinson, The barrackers' bible: a dictionary of sporting slang (1983).——Papers of Jack Hibberd (1940- ) - MS 6607, http://nla.gov.au/nla.ms-ms6607, accessed August 21, 2003.
• “Jack Hibberd has been called the most innovative Australian playwright of his generation. His career began in 1967 and his prolific output extends vigorously into the new century. His early plays, collected here, have endured the test of time and continue to be performed, studied and read for pleasure. White with Wire Wheels satirises a culture of masculinity expressed in cars, booze and work; Dimboola, playing out the wedding reception from hell, is probably Australia’s most performed play; and A Stretch of the Imagination introduces us to the painfully lonely world of Monk O’Neil, one of the great comic creations of Australian dramatic literature.”—Australian Plays, http://www.currency.com.au/plays.htm#Hibberd, accessed November 25, 2002.
• Research could include the National Library of Australia, http://www.nla.gov.au/ms/findaids/6607.html, which houses archives of Hibberd’s papers 1965-2000, including 43 boxes (particularly Box 35) and 2 folio items include correspondence, drafts of plays and novels, theatre programs, reviews, newspaper cuttings, notebooks and other papers. Correspondents include: J.D. Hainsworth, Graeme Blundell, Laurie Clancy, Helen Garner, Patrick McCaughey, Martin Friedel, John Tittenson.
• Also, research could include The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature, second edition, pp. 367-68.
• Also, research could include the plays of David Eliott Brown, Scottish playwright (1964-2005): "Rosie's Oddball Hymnologic Way to Auntie Brigitte's," http://www.heniford.net/4321/index.php?n=Citations-R.RosiesOddballHymnologicWayToAuntieBrigittes-1f, as well as "Empty and Ready," "Just One of Those Nights," "Rosie," "Rosie Raümt Auf," "Sally Faces Up."
• Jack Hibberd has undertaken writing Musical Parts, a cycle of some thirty plays for production in the new millennium.
ageing, Australia, death, iconoclast, loneliness.