19 TRAINS

by Angus Cerini

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19 TRAINS

by Angus Cerini

Writer's notes:

A young man performed in a play I had written. His extraordinary skill was indisputable. His illness closed the season early. The season was remounted. He escaped from hospital to come each night, another cast member stealing him away. He weighed 35kg when I saw him at the conclusion of that visit when the show finally died… and yet he did not, could not.

We sat at his kitchen table sometimes, his books on ancient medicine scattered around .... the devices and implements .... his own punctured body testament to how far we had come ... and illustrating in his liberal use of any substance that would stem the flow of pain and suffering, how we had remained the same ...and in some ways how we had in fact turned our back on sense .... on truth and sense.

Ultimately he had a life that was not worth living, and he took it by letting a train roll over him. I was glad, I understood, I pondered his choice and then I met Ron.

Ron, a man in slippers who in his thirty-year career driving trains had ‘killed’ nineteen people. As he fed possums by the train line in inner suburban Melbourne, my partner Rachel and I watched his dilapidated voice break through into a confusion and the only sense he was able to tell us, or the only truth he could publicly display was that of the possums he fed and their war with a certain white rabbit. A white rabbit that he could see, but we could not.

My confusion as to what Michael had done was immense, and without thinking, I wrote this play… then another… then another. Not one version of them did enough for what Michael had endured, nor explained for me the small matter of Ron.

… I like to think that in some small way, this play may allow us all to question and ponder and wonder at this strange beast we call life. Michael, I don’t blame you, I never really did. And this play can describe why not.

Angus Cerini (2009)

This title appears in:

National Play Festival Showcase

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