HunterJAS2020—KH revision.pdf (259.3 kB)
Khaki on the Stage and Silver Screen in Interwar Australasia
journal contributionposted on 2023-04-04, 18:50 authored by Kathryn HunterKathryn Hunter
Making meaning from the First World War was not only the preserve of the poets, novelists and historians who helped shape Anglophone modern memory. In Australasian theatres, halls and cinemas in the 1920s and 1930s, the war formed a backdrop for drama, adventure, romance and comedy. “Tommies”, diggers, plucky nurses and courageous widows populated vaudeville and movies, helping Australians and New Zealanders make sense of their war. Exploring the remnant evidence of such ephemeral popular performances, this article focuses on popular, everyday narration of the Great War that was often shared as part of an audience. How can we understand war-themed comedies and romances in the context of widespread mourning and sometimes painful reintegration of soldiers back into civilian life? In what ways can popular visions of the Great War on screen and stage expand our notions of how the conflict was made sense of in the postwar decades? Moving away from a focus on trauma, this article broadens understandings of the emotional spectrum available in the interwar period for interpreting the impact of the First World War.