Alexander Buzo Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Alexander Buzo has written for both film and television, coauthoring the script for the television production of Ned Kelly (1970) and writing the screenplay for the short film Rod (1972). He has also contributed articles to journals and newspapers such as The Australian Financial Review, National Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and The Adelaide Review.


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Alexander Buzo was playwright-in-residence for the Melbourne Theatre Company in 1972-1973. During that period, his historical play Macquarie and a satire on big business, Tom, were produced. He was awarded the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal for those two plays in 1972. Buzo also received a fellowship from the Commonwealth Literary Fund in 1970 and a grant from the Literature Board of the Australia Council in 1973 and 1979. In 1972, he received the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal, and in 1998, the University of New South Wales bestowed the Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement on him.

One of Buzo’s greatest achievements has been to alter the image of the Australian theater. He belongs to the New Wave of Australian playwrights who began to come to prominence in the 1960’s and whose spiritual mentor was Ray Lawler, whose Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (pr. 1955, pb. 1957) was the first Australian play to win international attention.

Buzo’s first important play, the one-act Norm and Ahmed, won for him as much notoriety as fame. It was the subject of a number of prosecutions for indecency, provided by the play’s obscene closing line. Norm and Ahmed was introduced to the public in 1968, at the Old Tote Theatre in Sydney, as part of an experimental Australian play season. It was accompanied by another one-act play, The Fire on the Snow (pr. 1941), by Douglas Stewart,...

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(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)


Arnold, Roslyn. “Aggressive Vernacular: Williamson, Buzo, and the Australian Tradition.” Southerly 35, no. 4 (1975). Arnold looks at Buzo and David Williamson, focusing on the language used.

Fitzpatrick, Peter. “Alexander Buzo.” In After “The Doll”: Australian Drama Since 1955. Sydney: Edward Arnold, 1979. Fitzpatrick examines the qualities shared by Buzo and David Williamson: the fact that “they were the first to be granted the token of legitimacy,” that “their developing ‘professionalism’ was marked by their writing for film,” and that they “share a preoccupation with the values and life-styles of their own generation.” Analyzes the language in Buzo’s plays.

Holloway, Peter, ed. Contemporary Australian Drama. Rev. ed. Sydney: Currency Press, 1987. Holloway looks at modern Australian drama, including the works of Buzo. Bibliography and index.

McCallum, John. “Coping with Hydrophobia: Alexander Buzo’s Moral World.” Meanjin 39, no. 1 (April, 1980): 60-69. Analyzes the characters in Buzo’s early plays (up to Tom), portrayed mostly as victims of an “amoral and dehumanising society.” Also examines the shift in style from these early “angry” plays, as Buzo called them, to a new style of romantic comedy and witty...

(The entire section is 462 words.)