Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was born in Taganrog, Russia and entered medical school in Moscow aged nineteen. While he was training as a doctor, he wrote humorous articles for weekly journals so that he could help financially support his parents and younger siblings. Increasingly he was drawn to writing serious drama and fiction. He is renowned as a master short story writer and playwright, whose fiction and drama explored the complexities of character and the often hidden depths of meaning in life. Chekhov practised as a medical doctor throughout his life, dying from tuberculosis aged 44.
In the eighteen-somethings, an operating theatre was where a surgeon literally performed. The audience, jostling for a better view despite the tiered seating, were there to be entertained as much as to learn. While the modern stage is a somewhat more sanitised affair, theatre remains a brave and bloody place for laying out and suturing bleeding hearts.
My play, Losing Faith, which performed over six sell-out shows at Edgewater Resort in Wanaka, New Zealand, in September 2016, is my story but not my story and not necessarily the story of any of the estimated 13% of young mums and 10% of new dads who suffer post natal depression either. It’s a story of missed moments, of Coffee Group, of parenthood, under a somewhat surgical series of lenses.
By a curious irony of fate, the places to which we are sent when health deserts us are often singularly beautiful – Robert Louis Stevenson.
My recently completed playscript, Waipiata, is a dramatic treatment of the site of a tuberculosis sanatorium, “Orangapai”. Located in the Maniototo (Otago, New Zealand) on the northern slopes of the Rock and Pillar Ranges, Orangapai served as a sanatorium from 1914 until 1960.