‘Cathedral’ to captivate audience

Dramatic and poetic stage play ‘Cathedral’ will be held at the Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre on Monday, May 30, showcasing a powerful story which is inspired by the Limestone Coast.

The one-person show was created by South Australian-born playwright Caleb Lewis and stars Adelaide actor Nathan O’Keefe.

Mr Lewis said ‘Cathedral’ opened with a diver who awakens at the bottom of a flooded sinkhole.

The diver is low on oxygen, disoriented and starts to hallucinate and a question of the play is how did he end up in this situation and how, if at all, is he going to find his way out.

Mr Lewis has spent lots of time in Mount Gambier and said the play had a major historical autobiographical aspect, as his father was a scuba diving instructor.

“When we were kids, we were on a road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide and we stopped in Mount Gambier and because Dad was a diver he wanted to visit Piccaninnie Ponds,” he said.

“Unfortunately, (Piccaninnie) has had a checkered history because there’s been a number of fatalities where people have lost their lives exploring the system.

“Dad told me and my sister about this when I was 10 and she was 8. He then said ‘okay kids, you wait here, I’m going for a dive to explore it’.

“I have this really powerful memory as a kid of sitting, waiting on that jetty, surrounded by ducks in the reeds and galahs overhead and watching this trail of bubbles disappear around a bend in the pond and wondering, what do we do if he does not come back.

“So that was the lead-in, I guess the inspiration that started the play.”

Mr Lewis said the play was highly credible and realistic as it had input from reliable sources, including Dr Richard Harris, who was involved with the Thai cave rescue in 2018, commercial divers and various cave divers in Mount Gambier.

Mr Lewis said he was excited about the show playing in Mount Gambier because of the local references throughout the story and the divers he interviewed were attending.

“It’s an absolutely local story with a universal theme,” he said.

Tickets can be purchased via the Country Arts SA website.

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