Use the Internet, critical commentar- ies and reviews to arrive at a detailed knowledge and understanding of the critical reception of Rayson’s writing. What viewpoints do you support? What viewpoints do you refute?
The plays Hotel Sorrento
‘At the core of this play is a family struggling with loyalty, loyalty to each other and loyalty to their own story.’
Dr Tess Brady
In Hotel Sorrento, the Moynihan family is the context for Rayson’s discussion of personal and Australian identity. Meg Moynihan insists that her second novel ‘Melancholy’ is fiction but her sisters do not agree. Hilary and Pippa believe that Meg has invaded their pri- vacy and revealed the secrets of their shared past. The sisters claim that Meg may have changed the names but she has still written her family’s story.
Do you agree with Brady’s reading of Hotel Sorrento?
Discuss Rayson’s anecdote about seeing Hotel Sorrento performed in London.
Drawing on pertinent quotations from Hotel Sorrento generate a dis- cussion of loyalty.
Hotel Sorrento was made into a feature film by Richard Franklin in
Information about the film and reviews are available on the internet. Develop a detailed comparison of a scene from the play and the same scene in the film. Describe how Ray- son’s scene is recreated in the film and evaluate the effectiveness of the adaptation.
Life After George
Life After George begins at Peter George’s funeral. His wife, two ex- wives and daughter have gathered to- gether to bury him. Through a series of flashbacks, the play narrates George’s personal and political journey. George, a brilliant academic, was a flawed, energetic and complicated man who
lived his life with passion and gusto. He was charismatic, careless and some- times cruel, but he never failed to revel in life’s offerings and to celebrate the importance of the life of the mind.
In Life after George, Rayson investi- gates why those studying at universities are no longer students but customers and considers how such a corporate agenda has changed education. Her main character Peter George supports education as Rayson would like it to be, a liberal, classical education for life.
Do you like Peter George? Or is ‘like’ the wrong word to use?
‘I wanted to create a man who was committed and believed truly in scholarship.’
What moments and statements in Life After George show this to be true?
Rayson acknowledges that George is a mass of contradictions. She draws on a poem by Walt Whitman to justify her assessment of George and to explain her interest in creating complex char- acters.
Compile a profile for one of Rayson’s characters. Use moments and state- ments from the play to highlight the contradictions that are evident in the character’s nature and behaviour.
What I Wrote: Hannie Rayson men- tions Rayson’s resignation from the board of the Victorian College of Arts was prompted by discontent and a difference of opinion. Read and discuss Rayson’s public statements about university education:
Degrees of Separation: The Univer- sity and the Spirit of Enquiry (2001): <http://www.flinders.edu.au/alumni /alumni-community/investigator
Keynote address at the Regional Arts Australia first national confer- ence, Mt Gambia, 1998: <http:// www.countryarts.org.au/ccd/docs/ hannie.html>