From the writer`s perspective - Tolaga English 12-13

From the writer’s perspective –
Briar Grace-Smith & Purapurawhetū
Briar Grace-Smith
Reworking existing stories
Writer’s stories come together in different ways. All playwrights draw their
stories from somewhere, and they often play with their stories in a
number of ways before they are finally acted out on the stage. And even
after the first performances, scenes are often re-worked. In talking about
the writing of Purapurawhetū, Briar Grace-Smith tells how the core of the
story came from a meeting that took place when she was travelling in
There was an old woman who lived in the house behind me
and every night she would go out to the cliff and start crying.
You could just feel this pain. And her son – she had three
strong sons – they’d come and pull her away so that she
wouldn’t throw herself over. They built this fence so she
couldn’t get through. Then I learned her son had drowned. He
fell off the cliff when he was very young. And she kept saying:
“My lost pickme” – short for ‘pick me up’ – her baby. So that
stayed with me for a long time – she was searching for her
son, she had become quite – maybe she had Alzheimer’s –
she wasn’t always there when you talked to her.
[from transcript of a video interview with Briar Grace-Smith by Playmarket,
Briar Grace-Smith explains the connection between weaving and stories:
Part of the reason I wrote that play was because I was
weaving [a] panel, and an auntie came and sat opposite me
and worked on the side and told stories. She wasn.t a
tukutuku weaver. I was thinking .wouldn.t it be fantastic if
they were weaving a panel and [the] story behind the panel –
the concept – came to life on stage in another form of
[from transcript of video interview with Briar Grace-Smith by
Playmarket, 2002]