Diving for Pearls

Barbara: Anyway it’s all in the past. Put it all behind me. Would never have worked. Certainly not for me. There’s a bloody great world out there. I was just thinking about these ferry trips we used to get taken on to Manly. When we were little. I like boats. And how at the end of the wharf there used to be these boys, teenage boys, diving off the high part for coins. Silver coins. Sixpences and shillings. And how sometimes someone’d trick them. You know throw in a penny. And one of them’d go in. Just as if it was a shilling. [To Den] Not me. I won’t. Diving for dirty old pennies.

Den: We’ve both done a bit of that.

[Pause]

Barbara: When you think how we could have been … diving for anything … pearls …

Katherine Thomson, Diving for Pearls (1992).

Katherine Thomson’s Australian play is about ‘two ordinary people’ (Barbara and Den) ‘discarded by the lean, mean 90s world’. The lines come from the end of the play. It was first performed in 1991.

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