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A Hundred Gourds 3:2 March 2014

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Gerry Jacobson - Australia


Rain on the Roof


theatre foyer . . .
the scent
of an old church

It's the centenary of Captain Scott at the South Pole. Beaten in that race he and his team were dejected, disappointed, and doomed to die on the return journey. A hundred years have passed since he lay starving, frostbitten, in an icebound tent. He speaks to us now through his letters and diaries, and the playwright’s imagination.

a pall of cloud . . .
snow covered hills
shine in distant sunlight

The set is totally white. I sit in the front stalls, engrossed. One by one the Englishmen succumb to frostbite and malnutrition. “Soldiers of the Queen me lads”. As Petty Officer Evans and Captain Oates die on stage I swear I can smell their gangrene. Then I notice the dead rat next to me, at the foot of an ancient paneled cupboard.

hymnbooks open
Rattus rattus
rain on the roof



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