Who has not heard the first footfall of age approaching?

CHARMIAN: It’s all right for old George to go on about it all the time. There are better ways to put it. Thomas Gray, for one: ‘...Full many a flower is born to blush unseen/ And waste its sweetness on the desert air...’ The cracks and trails of age approach, they are spiderwebs dangled by harpies. I hear the soldiers of the mortality cavalry charging me down. I believed we were promised glory. There are too many liars. Only the moon hasn’t lied. She understands I am still young. I am in Kiama. I am a child again. The nightmare has never started. They call me beautiful. On the beach the sea is honest to me and whispers its secrets in rhythm and sibilance.

About the Script


George Johnston and Charmian Clift were iconic Australian writers. He was dynamic and worldly, she was beautiful and clever. After they left Sydney for London, and then the Greek islands, their marriage should have been blessed. Although Johnston was eventually to have great success with My Brother Jack and its sequels and Clift had her own career, it transpired that their time overseas was anything but idyllic. This epic play explores the the legend of their lives together.


Jack Johnston, aged about 30, as he would have been in "My Brother Jack."
Young George Johnston
Older George Johnston
Young Charmian Clift
Older Charmian Clift
Peter Finch, the actor, aged about 30
Toni Burgess, a friend of Charmian’s
Errol Knox, editor of the "Melbourne Argus"
Martin Johnston, aged about seven
Martin Johnston, aged about thirteen
Martin Johnston, aged about twenty
Shane Johnston, aged about four
Shane Johnston, aged about nine
Jason Johnston, aged about eight
‘Big’ Grace, an American friend of George’s in her fifties


Two hours (two intervals).

Production History

Unstaged as yet.


"Refreshingly ambitious in its conceptual and imaginative scope..."
Debbie Lee, Deputy Commissioning Editor for Drama, SBS Independent, May, 2000.

"...we did enjoy reading it, and are aware of the play's many strengths, particularly theme and plot. It is a terrific story, of historical significance and makes for great drama. You have chosen a rich and engaging subject...The characters in the play are alive and credible and the dialogue is sharp, clever and clear...Our readers enjoyed the sweep of the story, and recognised the epic nature of its theatricality and production demands..."
Lauren Tayor, Literary Associate, Playbox Theatre.

"... you have a lyrical depth and sensitivity..."
Carole Sklan, Executive Producer, ABC TV Drama, December, 2000.

"...a well researched story, written with skill and care..."
Hal McElroy, Producer, November, 2000.

"... your work is ambitious and... this play in particular reveals both ability and talent..."
Chris Mead, Australian National Playwrights' Conference, March 2005.

Read the script

If you want to read the script please email me at simon@simonluckhurst.com.