Summer of the Seventeenth Doll


Ray Lawler

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Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Characters

Roo Webber

Roo is a "ganger" (boss) of sugarcane cutters in northern Australia. He's the best of the best at his job and takes great pride in this fact. Every layoff season, from December to April, he… read analysis of Roo Webber

Olive Leech

Olive is a thirty-seven-year-old, happily employed barmaid who lives with her mother, Emma, in Carlton, Victoria. Olive looks forward to the layoff season when her lover, Roo, and Roo's friend Barney visit and… read analysis of Olive Leech

Pearl Cunningham

Pearl is one of Olive's coworkers at the pub, though she's much less content with her position than Olive is. Pearl is a widow about Olive's age with an eighteen-year-old daughter named Veraread analysis of Pearl Cunningham

Barney Ibbot

Barney is Roo's best friend. Though Olive describes him as being short, the stage directions indicate that he's only short in relation to Roo. He's about forty, beginning to gray, and has a potbelly… read analysis of Barney Ibbot

Bubba Ryan

Bubba is a twenty-two-year-old young woman who lives next door to Emma. She's been joining in on the layoff season festivities since she was a small child and views Barney and Roo as uncles… read analysis of Bubba Ryan
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Emma Leech

Emma is Olive's seventy-year-old mother. She allows the layoff season shenanigans to take place at her home in Carlton, Victoria, and Olive lives with her the rest of the year. Emma is a wry… read analysis of Emma Leech

Johnnie Dowd

Roo hired Johnnie to replace Tony Moreno in the cane fields up north. He's a young, strong, and burly man. Roo soon found that Johnnie was stronger and faster than he was, which resulted in… read analysis of Johnnie Dowd


Nancy was one of the original four who stayed at Emma's house for the layoff season. Though she never appears in the play—she married several months before the seventeenth layoff season—the other characters mention… read analysis of Nancy
Minor Characters
Tony Moreno
Tony is a man that Roo fires in the cane fields and then replaces with Johnnie Dowd. Though his age is never stated, he's likely around Roo's age, and it's this that finally makes Roo realize he's old. Tony never appears in the play.
Vera is Pearl's eighteen-year-old daughter. She never appears in the play herself.