from playwright Maura Pierlot
Rarely presenting as neat packages, mental health issues often involve feelings and behaviours with jagged edged and blurred origins. Fragments embodies the theme that stress at home, at school and in life is challenging young people beyond their usual coping abilities, often leaving them disenfranchised and vulnerable.
I wrote Fragments to start a conversation, to give a sense of agency to young people while reaching out to their peers, families and the community. It’s only when we speak openly about mental health issues – without fear or judgment – that we can chip away at the stigma that prevents many people from seeking help. This is especially important for young people. So much of adolescent life is spent looking inwards that it’s perhaps not surprising that mental health issues are often internalised and ignored. Swimmers put up their hands when struggling in a rip but there’s no clear, universal signal for people who need help with mental health issues. And sometimes the waters are so turbulent that those who are struggling don’t recognise themselves in each other.
In bringing Fragments to the Canberra community, and hopefully beyond, I wanted to explore the healing that may come from looking outwards – from our connectedness to others and our realisation that we are not alone. The eight monologues presented here are pieces – fragments – of the countless stories to be told, layering voice upon voice until the sound is so loud it can no longer be ignored. Please help create awareness about mental health issues, while reaching out to those who may be struggling, now and in the weeks ahead.
Please connect with me on Facebook (@ maurapierlotauthor) or Instagram (@maurapierlot) to share your thoughts about Fragments and to stay up to date with my work.
About Maura Pierlot
Maura Pierlot is an award-winning author and playwright who hails from New York but has called Canberra home for nearly thirty years.
In 2016 Maura won the MPS Travel+Tours Award, Capital Arts Patrons’ Organisation to write a dramatic work on youth mental health, which has developed into Fragments. That year she also won the SOLO Monologue Competition, Hothouse Theatre for her play, Tapping Out, which went on to receive three awards at Short+Sweet Sydney (2017).
More recently, Maura has been an Artist-in-Residence at Bundanon Trust and Ainslie + Gorman Arts Centres.
A former business owner, medical news reporter and editor of Australian Medicine, Maura also writes for children and young adults. In 2017 she was named winner of the CBCA Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program for her young adult manuscript, Freefalling.
Maura’s first picture book, The Trouble in Tune Town won the 2018 ACT Writing and Publishing Award (Children’s category) along with international accolades.
Maura enjoys visiting schools and libraries as a guest reader and speaker, contributing reviews for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Reading Time, and growing the street library she started last year. She has a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate, each in philosophy, specialising in ethics.