What we can't keep
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Set in a small village after a cliff slide tragedy has killed thirteen villagers who were on the beach below, the play focuses on the fractured relationship between Gillian and her husband Burdet, whose daughter Natalie was among those on the beach. Gillian believes her daughter is still alive. After a sole survivor is found in a newly formed cave she becomes obsessed by the belief that others, including Natalie, are waiting to be rescued in the rocks. She fights with her husband and community in order to keep searching, growing more desperate each day to bring her daughter home. When reason fails, she turns to the local carnival’s mythic ‘Madame Revival’ to get her daughter back. However, nothing comes without a price – when the impossible happens, and everything begins falling apart, Gillian must make a terrible decision. Burdet, an initial supporter of the search, comes to recognize the irrefutable fact that his daughter and the other villagers are dead. To add to this grief, his friend Jack discovers that their excavation efforts to find survivors has made the cliff dangerously unstable. To protect the village a retaining wall must be built and the remains of their loved ones abandoned. This can only happen with the explicit consent of the surviving families. Burdet faces the choice of following reason and logic and choosing to protect the villagers – or to continue aiding his wife’s efforts to save a daughter he knows is lost. This play seeks to explore how grief affects people and their relationships – especially when one finds closure, and another does not. Through trades, secrets, and a blind belief in what must be done, these characters find themselves pushed to breaking point as they deal with the loss of their daughter.
Thesis, MFA Master of Letters
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internationalhttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Embargo Date: 2021-10-31
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 31st October 2021
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