Daniel Mannix one-man play opens in Melbourne

A new one-man play written by comedian Rod Quantock about the late Melbourne Archbishop Daniel Mannix explores the role of the Church in political debates.

Kairos reports that Mr Quantock decided to write a play about Archbishop Mannix (1864-1963) after being asked to write a speech a few years ago for a dinner held at Raheen, Kew.

He still does not know why he was asked - Mr Quantock never knew Mannix, nor is he Catholic - but he found himself fascinated by the man's powerful personality.

Archbishop Mannix made more than just a profound contribution to Melbourne's Catholic community: he shaped many Australian institutions.

"He was really a remarkably impressive man," says Mr Quantock.

Quantock's first conscious memory of Mannix is his death at the age of 99, when an estimated 200,000 people filed past his coffin. "My speculation is that he died then because he didn't want to get a telegram from a British queen (for his 100th birthday)," Mr Quantock says, his comic roots shining through.

He describes his play as a contemplative piece that hopefully recreates something of the times. It covers the period from Mannix's arrival in Melbourne in 1913 until just after World War I.

To research Mannix's life, Quantock turned to the words others had said and written about him, and the words of Mannix himself as quoted in The Advocate.

In 1999, then Governor Sir James Gobbo paid tribute to Melbourne's longest-serving Archbishop when a bronze statue of Mannix commissioned by then Archbishop George Pell was unveiled. "His leadership was not founded on what we would now term public relations or the pursuit of popularity," Sir James said.

Sir Robert Menzies, noted Sir James, had described Mannix as a man with "a power of persuasive speech I have never known surpassed."

"Mannix", to be performed and staged by television veteran Terence Donovan, will run at Trades Hall, Carlton, from 7-25 June.

Paying Tribute (Kairos Catholic Journal 11/6/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Mannix (Melbourne Stage)
Notable Irish Australians: Daniel Mannix
Daniel Mannix (Wikipedia)

Exhibition of religious life dating back (Mosman Daily 6/6/06)

9 Jun 2006