DIRT CLOUD

by Mari Lourey
Photo: Frank Gleeson

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DIRT CLOUD

by Mari Lourey

Twelve year old Spook is more preoccupied with Astrophysics than with what is happening around her on Earth. Her mother Mannie, long exiled from her mining magnate mother Bill, knows deep down it’s time for reckoning. Bill is dying, unbeknownst to Mannie. Spook’s father, a Fisheries scientist who is Indigenous, recognises that it is time to return to the place of his birth, from his own partially self-imposed exile. Compounding this decision is that their surrounding environment around their southern coastal farm is severely compromised by wrung out water systems and a coal mine on their doorstep.

A trip across country with a recalcitrant Spook - on the cusp of being accepted into Australia’s first ever junior space program - to Mannie and Eddie’s place of birth in the north west of the country will tilt Spook’s axis in ways she could never have imagined. On the way she meets a stranger who tells her of three dimensional grid of Indigenous knowledge connecting astronomy and the earth bound world that has developed uninterrupted over thousands of years, and longer than anywhere else on this spinning planet which Spook is so keen to leave. But not everything he tells her is safe.

Their arrival at Twin Hills, a former pastoral station eponymous with a global mining company, is far from that imagined. Against her parents’ wishes, Spook is set to inherit her grandmother’s property, not only the home of ancient lore grounds used for millennia, but that also contain new rare metals needed for a technological future. Secrets and old traumas erupt.

A closely missed tragedy will redefine their lives and by the play’s end, a transformed Spook – ancestral child of two conflicted cultures – considers anew, where she truly belongs and with that, her responsibilities. Which will she choose?

This title appears in:

Rodney Seaborn Foundation Development Grant (2014 winner)

RE Ross Trust Script Development Award (2013 winner)

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