W. H. Donald
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See also Don the Movie


 An hour-length play designed for secondary schools & colleges ...

Don began life as an experimental play at La Mama Theatre (Melbourne) in 1997 forming part of a double-bill  called Flashback.

[ SEE WEB REFERENCE ON www.axs.com.au/~onstage/shows/97/osmflasr.html ]

Don was successful in certain scenes and clearly aroused interest in the central figure, an enigmatic and forgotten "player" in modern Chinese history.

    ".... Things improve radically as well as dramatically in "Don", an investigation of W. H. Donald, the Australian who became adviser to China's early 20th century leader, Chiang Kai-shek. The writing is tighter, the themes clearer and, with effective performances from Sarah Woods (as the Polish journalist, Ilona 'Ralf' Sues), and Bruce Kerr (as Donald), the production is a far better vehicle for the combined talents of writer, director and actors.

    This little known man in a momentous historical period makes for terrific theatrical subject matter, and the play in general is a fine treatment."

    Christine Davey, Star Observer, Feb. 7, 1997

    "... Don is a brilliant concept for theatre though; the story of Australian-born adviser to Chiang Kai-shek, W. H. Donald ...  The writing is astute and the characters are fascinating, but there is no through line, narrative or even central voice telling these stories. When author Frank Bren returns with Don as a full length play it promises to be interesting, but currently Don is merely a collection of intriguing snippets."

Jonathan Marshall, In-Press, Feb. 5, 1997

Like the La Mama production, the play in development is based on the author's books-in-progress and attendant research. It is best described as a "newspaper cabaret" or dramatised newsreel, designed for touring to arts centres and secondary schools. Don is a powerful combination of history and drama leavened with black humour.

For more details, contact author-producer Frank Bren on frankmondial@yahoo.com .

See also Don the Movie



HomeDon Who?!World views DonA Chinese life ...Don - the BookDon - the PlayDeath in ShanghaiScholarlyChinese researchOn the AuthorTOPPersonals 

Copyright, Frank Bren 2001. Photographs of Mr. Donald and friends are reproduced by kind permission of the Donald family (Australia) and Ansie Lee Sperry (USA). For all enquiries, please contact the Manager via frankmondial@lycos.com . Oh, and many thanks for visiting this site.