First written and performed in 1972. However, this version was loose, rudimentary, and under-researched. For the 1984 version I read Blainey, Reynolds, C.D. Rowley, Judith Wright, Lyndall Ryan, Bernard Smith and Humphrey McQueen. Once digested, I applied Brectian Epic techniques to the structure, had the names of scenes (all theatrical styles) announced by actors and songs by singers, and also included, ironically, some of the music of Percy Grainger.
The play narrates the revolutionary feats and achievements of one Captain Midnight VC (he won the VC in World War I), the bastard son of an indigenous woman and English peer. Politically charismatic, he eventually leads an uprising of blacks (aided by black brothers from Africa and the USA) which compels the government to eject all whites from Tasmania and give it back to the Aborigines, as `Trugininiland’.
‘Hibberd’s inventiveness shows scholars how we should go about more than one aspect of our business, so that any debt he might feel towards historians has been more than repaid.’
- Humphrey McQueen
‘Captain Midnight is a rorty, rumbustious comic tale….It language is extravagant. its large gallery of characters vivid, if unsubtle. It gallops along, stopping every 10 mins or so for a song, ending on a high note with Midnight taking over as President of the new ‘goanna-republic’ of Trugininiland, alias Tasmania.’
- Leonard Radic (The Age, July 1984)
COPY of COVER of ‘Captain Midnight VC.’