Enhanced Program Notes


Pearls: Enhanced Program Notes

I am currently developing these notes to have them ready in time for the Adelaide Fringe 2024 season. In the meantime, I have included the text from the printed program.

From the program

My dad always said that relationships are like icebergs—outsiders only see the ten percent above the water, and the rest is invisible to us. Nothing has taught me the truth of this as much as the search for my mum’s pearls. When it seemed that my dad had lost my mum’s string of pearls, I was devastated. I had many things to remember her by—dressmaking patterns, Leonard Cohen albums, and even other jewellery—but nothing held the intimacy of the pearls. Over time, the pearls became a lightning rod for the more difficult elements of my grief, particularly as I came to understand the enormity of what she had lost by dying so young. I knew it was irrational, but I saw the loss of the pearls as a betrayal to her memory. When the pearls were finally found, every truth I thought I knew about my parents’ relationship was turned on its head.

 Of course, our parents leave us much more than physical artefacts and it is the lessons we learn from them (good and bad) that truly shape us. Most of my mother’s spoken advice was pretty odd and delivered in her desert-dry style, but it all reflected her great intellect and her deep compassion. And her lesson in what it really means to live every day as if it is your last is perhaps the most profound thing I will ever learn.

 Pearls marks a significant change in the direction of my work. After publishing two novels, I was intending to write about Mum in a memoir, but the more I wrote the more I realised I was writing a piece for performance rather than publication. I have dabbled in stand-up, but I had never written for theatre and I hadn’t acted since I was Grandpa Joe in Port Pirie Youth Theatre’s production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factor. And it was seven years since I’d done any real stand-up. Through a short course, and some long lunches, Maggie helped me to understand the shift to writing for theatre. And Ross helped me to understand how I might get Pearls to work on stage. He taught me things I didn’t know that I didn’t know. His great love for theatre and his depth of knowledge opened a new world to me.