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  • Were you surprised by Rayson’s ex- planation of how her decision to end Act One was made under pressure and without any real sense of what was going to happen next?

  • Life After George is a moving and perceptive insight into social change.’ Is this how you see the play?


Inheritance is a play set over country and over time.’

  • Dr Tess Brady

Inheritance is a powerful family saga set in the sprawling Mallee District of Victoria. The Delaneys and the Hamil- tons gather to celebrate the eightieth birthdays of the families’ matriarchs and twin sisters Dibs and Girlie. When it emerges that the family farm may be sold, the battle to decide the rightful heir begins.

Rayson’s play deals with divisions. The division between the city and the bush, the division between black and white, and the division between duty and freedom.

  • ‘Inheritance is about ownership, belonging and our relationship to the land.’ Is this an apt summary of the play?

  • As you view What I Wrote: Hannie Rayson, compile a list of statements that explain Rayson’s decision to write a play about rural Australia.

  • ‘Inheritances, who gets what and why, have always been the stuff of great drama.’ Do you agree? Draw on moments and statements from the play to support your evaluation.

  • Do you think Inheritance allows urban audiences to understand the plight of people in rural areas?

  • In Inheritance, Rayson doesn’t sup- port One Nation ideals and values, but she investigates what drives people to support and vote for such values. How does Rayson achieve this intention?

Two Brothers

‘It’s about two brothers who are divided politically. A family that’s riven by an ideological divide.’

  • Hannie Rayson

One brother is a prime minister in wait- ing. The other is a left-wing community lawyer and activist. Their relationship is one of affection and respect that accommodates their ideological differ- ences. The play opens on a dark and stormy night when James Benedict, the Minister for Home Security, stabs a man to death, in self-defence. The man is the sole survivor from an Indonesian fishing boat packed with refugees that went down in the Indian Ocean on Christmas Day.

In Two Brothers, Rayson uses family to discuss evil and power. Is it acceptable to do evil if by doing it we can create a much greater good? Both brothers are caught in the crossfire of this dilemma.

  • What does Two Brothers tell us about power and the psychology of deci- sion makers?

  • What does Rayson claim as the start- ing points for Two Brothers?

  • Make a list of the events and issues that are the focus of Two Brothers. Use the internet to learn more about the issues that are debated in Two Brothers.

Given Two Brothers was the story of two brothers on different political sides and debated Australia’s attitudes to asylum seekers, many saw the play as a provocative documentary. The play’s subject matter was debated in The Age. Rayson was compelled to write a defence of the drama. The media hype ensured the play was performed to packed houses.

  • Use the internet to find out more about the way critics, commentators and audiences responded to the play. Rayson’s reply was published in The Age on 19 April 2005.

  • Two Brothers is a compelling, pro- vocative and entertaining thriller.’ Do you agree with this assessment of the play?

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