Mixmasters and Lino: Iconic Australian modernity in Patrick White’s The Season at Sarsaparilla

Denise Varney
Vol 31, Number 2, p.85
This article considers Zygmunt Bauman’s proposition that consumerism is the new form of social arrangement in liquid modernity . Drawing on the first performance of Patrick White’s ‘The Season at Sarsaparilla’ in 1962, the article analyses the language, scenography and dramatic cosmos of White’s suburbia. It finds that an atmospherics of repression, of unrequited desire and brief illicit sexual encounters take place behind the scenes of public behaviour which is increasingly concerned with the practice and display of consumption . The great Australian emptiness that White sees as an infection that stymies Australian culture is about to be filled with shopping.