Patrick White’s The Ham Funeral (written 1947, first performed in 1961) has not received much critical or dramaturgical interrogation, and yet this play provides insight into how the internationally renowned novelist translated and transformed language for the stage. The draw of the inevitable somatic embodiment of the play-text is central to White’s dramaturgical knack for creating characters for the stage. This chapter considers dramaturgy as an active literary critical method that renders a narrative ‘live’ and manifesting the playwright’s intentions. White’s The Ham Funeral can be seen as a case study for how he specifically defied traditional Australian dramatic conventions of the mid-twentieth century in order to propel new ways of writing plays for Australian audiences. His focus on the somatic rendering of language in The Ham Funeral specifically requires live bodies to realise crucial dramatic meaning occurring at the interface between language and liveness.