The One Day Of The Year

by Alan Seymour

19 May – 13 June 2015

“ Well, you know what day this is? This days used to mean someth’n’ once...If it wasn’t for men like my old man this country’d never bin heard of. They put Australia on the map they did, the ANZACs did. An’ bloody died doin’ it. ”

The first UK production in over 50 years

★★★★★ Britishtheatre.Com
★★★★ The Guardian
★★★★ Theatrecat
★★★★ Londontheatre1.Com
★★★★ Theatre Bubble

In a production commissioned by the Finborough Theatre as part of its GreatWar100 series to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign, Defibrillator return to the Finborough Theatre with the first UK production in over fifty years of Alan Seymour’s iconic play The One Day of the Year, directed by Wayne Harrison, former Artistic Director of the Sydney Theatre Company, opening for a four week limited season on Tuesday, 19 May 2015 (Press Nights: Thursday, 21 May at 7.30pm).

Is ANZAC Day just an excuse for “one long grog-up” or is it a day when Australians reflect on those who have paid the ultimate price?

One of Australia’s most popular and favourite plays, The One Day of the Year explores the universal theme of father-son conflict against the background of the beery haze and the heady, nostalgic sentimentality of ANZAC Day – Australia’s equivalent of Remembrance Sunday – and a sacred cow among Australian annual celebrations.

For war veterans like Alf and his friend Wacka, ANZAC Day is an opportunity to commemorate history and the forging of Australia’s national identity.

For Alf’s son Hughie, reacting against everything his father stands for, ANZAC Day is a just an out-of-date nationalist nostalgia fest, so he decides to do a photo-essay for a magazine portraying the “real” celebration of the day: ex-servicemen passed out in the gutter in an alcoholic stupor…

The One Day of the Year generated huge controversy in Australia following its publication in 1960 with a policeman stationed at the stage door to ward off the angry public, while death threats were sent to the author. Last seen in the UK at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in 1961, this production rediscovers an Australian theatre classic.

Marking the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign and taking place during a year of world-wide ceremonies commemorating the battle, the production is presented as part of the annual Australia and New Zealand Festival of Literature and Arts.

About Playwright Alan Seymour

Playwright Alan Seymour was born in Fremantle, Western Australia, in 1927. Known as a playwright, novelist, television writer and producer, and theatre critic, his plays include Swamp Creatures, The Gaiety of Nations, A Break in the Music, The Pope and the Pill, The Shattering and The Float. He has also written novels including The Coming Self-Destruction of the United States and spent time working for the BBC for which he wrote adaptations of L.P. Hartley’s Eustace and Hilda, Antonia White’s Frost in May and John Masefield’s The Box of Delights. Alan Seymour died on 23 March 2015, aged 87.

About Director Wayne Harrison

Director Wayne Harrison is a former Artistic Director of Sydney Theatre Company, as well as Creative Director of Sydney's New Year’s Eve celebration, the director of the Closing Ceremony for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, and co-producer of Gumboots, Tap Dogs, Slava’s Snowshow and Fosse for Back Row Productions and Clear Channel Entertainment (Europe). Recent international theatre includes Letter to Larry (Theatre Nesle, Paris), For Crying Out Loud (The Grand Theatre, Ontario), Human Nature -The Motown Show (The Venetian, Las Vegas), The Choir of Man (Darwin Festival), RU4Me (Australian tour), Celebrity Autobiography and Love, Loss, and What I Wore (Sydney Opera House and Ross Mollison International) and Sunday in the Park with George (NIDA, Sydney). He is Head of Creation for Spiegelworld International for which he has directed Absinthe, Desir, Empire (all in New York City), Vegas Nocturne (Las Vegas) and Absinthe (Miami and Las Vegas). His 2015 projects include Don Reid’s Young and Jackson (45 Downstairs, Melbourne), Justin Fleming’s Shellshock (Riverside Theatres, Parramatta).

About Defibrillator

Defibrillator return to the Finborough Theatre following sell out four star productions of Doug Lucie’s Hard Feelings in 2013 and Rebecca Gilman’s Blue Surge in 2011. They also staged the highly successful season of The Hotel Plays by Tennessee Williams at the Langham Hotel in 2014.

The Great War 100 Series

THEGREATWAR100 series is a new occasional series of works about – or written during – the Great War to be presented by the Finborough Theatre from 2014 to 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

The Press on The One Day Of The Year

“An Australian classic” The Australian

“ANZAC Day explodes into a domestic battleground in the Australian classic One Day of the Year" Daily Mirror (Australia)

“The One Day of the Year’s place in the history of Australian drama is not based on notoriety but on its universal relevance” The West Australian

“The One Day of the Year occupies an important place in Australian theatre.” The Times (Australia)

“Seymour’s play has qualities of human and social interest that remain unimpaired by time and change” Sydney Morning Herald

The Press on Director Wayne Harrison

“Spectacular and kinetically stunning” David Cote, Time Out New York on Empire (New York)

“Let yourself be carried away by this passionate, astonishing production” Novel Observateur on Letter to Larry (Paris)

“An unmissable theatrical event” Sydney Morning Herald on End of the Rainbow (Sydney Opera House)

The Press on Defibrillator at the Finborough

On Hard Feelings by Doug Lucie

“Defibrillator’s production is enjoyably snappy, with an excellent ensemble cast who create a convincing dynamic.” ★★★★ Daisy Bowie-Sell, Time Out

“Hillier’s production coaxes vividly particularised performances” ★★★★ Michael Billington, The Guardian

On Blue Surge by Rebecca Gilman

“This is an evening of great theatre.” ★★★★ Jeremy Kingston, The Times

“Ché Walker's production hits exactly the right note of pained intimacy” ★★★★ Michael Billington, The Guardian

“This is the UK première...and it's surprising that it has taken so long to come here” ★★★★ Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard

19 May – 13 June 2015

Tickets and Times

Tuesday 7:30pm
Wednesday 7:30pm
Thursday 7:30pm
Friday 7:30pm
Saturday 3:00pm (from second week of the run)
Sunday 3:00pm

Approximately two hours and 20 minutes