Performed by Carole Pluckrose and Ria Knowles https://www.spotlight.com/1418-7861-2841
©Carole Pluckrose 2023Dedicated to Edgar, Anne and Sheelagh Script editors :Claire Steele, Jill Glenn, Constellations Consultancy
With thanks for their enduring support and critical friendship to: Tony Humphreys, Nick Crean, Carl Blackburn. Mark and Dan Horn, Martin Heaney, Julie Wedge, Dorinda Hulton, Pen to Print and Grace and Phoebe Pluckrose-Oliver
I started writing Notes From Dad's Room in 2017, a few months following my dad, Edgar's death in November 2016. As a writer and theatre maker it was the natural place to go. In 2015 Edgar had been given 3/4 weeks to live following a heart condition which he had managed for over 30 years. With an imminent terminal diagnosis when no more could be done to improve his health he came back from hospital to die at home. Despite all the predictions however he lived for a further 15 months. In large part this was to do with an attitude of mind and a full engagement still in the world, family and thought despite being bedridden and confined to his bedroom. Somehow he managed to live this period largely with grace and positivity by looking outside himself into the world, and stubbornly refusing to reduce his rich imagination and sheer love of life. He travelled through this time and space in much the way he had told me stories when I was a child.
During this time I began a Facebook group, firstly for updates about Edgar's progress, but soon it turned into an open, tender and insightful conversation about death and dying. It was full of rich reflections and the resounding message was that it was a much welcome space to open up the often taboo discussion about mortality, our own and those we love. It was also a space to share stories of parent/child relationships, about the things we lay down in our children's lives that have a lifetime of significance.
The play is a result of these conversations and it has been through many iterations in the intervening years, with a rehearsed reading at UEL with Ria Butler, a Zoom reading during the pandemic. It's been scrutinised by critical friends, supported by writers and writing mentors Claire Steele, Tony Humphreys, Nick Crean, Carl Blackburn.
Through making this piece we want to share the story of a journey of love and caring and the liminal space inhabited in the time of impending loss. We know that so many of us live lives of caring behind closed doors and the toll emotionally and economically can be enormous. We want to share this story as an act of commonality and solidarity with those travelling this path right now.
I am also a celebrant and have learnt so much from my work with families in grief when supporting them in writing and officiating funeral ceremonies.
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