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A Mighty Totara Falls

By John Pratt

This is a play that was originally conceived and written by psychologist Peter Tryon. It’s based on his experience in clinical practice in Australia, and focusses on an actual case that involved a highly successful lawyer and businessman whose life seemed ruined when he was persuaded to try ‘P as a stimulant to overcome tiredness. He became addicted to ‘P,’ ended up in jail, his marriage over, and life as he knew it seemingly at an end. The man got intensive rehabilitation treatment and with skilful counselling for himself and his family, and ended up with a post on the South Pacific Forum as a jurist on International relations.

Peter Tryon only arrived in Coromandel perhaps five years ago, and joined the Coromandel Players. While he also played a villain in Aladdin, and the dame in Robin Hood, he was working on a script of his own, and brought a draft along to the Coromandel Players for a read-through.

Don Hughes, principal member of the players, explained to Peter that the script, “needed some work.” Over a period of four weeks or so, the pair met and collaborated on the script. Peter had also decided to access professional help with his script and was “on his way” to Wellington to consult with a scriptwriting coach.

He never made it. Peter Tryon died very suddenly of cancer, his script unfinished.

Don Hughes had faith in Peter’s script however, and his good friend, Liz Cameron, approached Peter’s family for permission to continue to work on it, and the script has now been realised for theatre.

The stage play features 16 speaking parts, with four of the male roles particularly being quite demanding, and there is only one person in the theatre able to take it on. Consequently, the play is being presented as a radio drama. With the script completed though, the hope is that a larger theatre group might be able to take it on, and stage a full production.

With ‘P’ seemingly endemic in the community, Don Hughes is confident that the play will resonate with the audience. The script is full of Kiwi references, and should win the hearts and minds of the theatre audience.

There are just two performances - 7.30pm, on Thursday, October 27, and 7.30pm, Friday, 28 October. Peter Tyron’s family and friends will be present at the Friday evening performance. Entry is $10 on Thursday, and entry by donation on Friday, with the proceeds to go to the Cancer Society. Tickets are available from i-Site Coromandel.

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