Fragments : Journeys from Isolation to Connection
I feel like I'm a piece, a fragment that's missing all the good bits, but I don't know where to find the rest ... the parts I need to work properly. I bet they wouldn't fit anyway. (Lexy, age 17)
Eight young people navigating high school and beyond, each struggling to hold on - to family, to friends, to a piece of themselves. Perhaps you know them. The bubbly girl who keeps telling you she's okay. The high achiever who's suddenly so intense. The young teen obsessed with social media. The boy challenged by communication. Every single day they, and others, are working hard to keep it together. So hard, they don't see their friends are struggling, too. Through eight imagined stories, Fragments moves from a place of disconnection to connectedness.
The action of Fragments takes place in the minds and hearts of an ordinary group of young people. Their stories encompass anxiety, depression, neurodivergence, gender dysphoria, social media, bullying, family dysfunction, cross-cultural diversity and more, culminating in a sense of hope. Although set in Australia, their stories could take place anywhere.
From the Playwright: Rarely presenting as neat packages, mental health issues often involve feelings and behaviours with jagged edges 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, leaving them disenfranchised and vulnerable. So much of adolescent life is spent looking inwards that it's perhaps not surprising that mental health issues are often internalised. I wrote Fragments to start a conversation. 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. It is my hope that the work will find its way into schools in Australia and overseas. The publication includes a comprehensive Study Guide, detailing activities and curriculum links for English, Drama/Arts, Health & PE, Civics and more.
A powerful and timely mental health resource for young people and their families. Essential reading for high school.
- Paperback | 128 pages
- 133 x 203 x 8mm | 154g
- 01 Oct 2021
- Big Ideas Press
'Fragments' by Canberra-based playwright, Maura Pierlot, is a powerful set of stories about young people struggling with emotional, social, physical and mental issues during their teenage years. Eight inter-connected monologues give us a deep insight into the personal lives of these people. It's disturbing, revealing and ultimately quite moving.'
(Len Power, Canberra Critics Circle)
Despite the angst, the script also contains moments of genuine humour, of wit, and of hope. The tragedy isn't so much the pain the characters feel, but the fact that they're so consumed by it that they don't notice that everyone else feels it too. And by pointing this out, Fragments opens up the vital possibility of connection. (Erin Stewart, ArtsHub)
These eight young people have the same central concern that I remember: is my outward presentation true to my real internal self? Under the onslaught of 24/7 Instagram images and over-the-top positive and negative judgmental commentary from peers, I think struggling through that ten-year period from, say, (ages) 14 to 24, which I remember well, is made far more fearful for this generation. No wonder mental health issues are so much more on the public agenda today than in yesteryear. So it should be, and this play has a valuable role to play. (Frank McKone, Canberra Critics Circle)
In summary, Fragments is a raw and contemporary play that blends a smidgeon of Woolf, something of The Breakfast Club's vibe, and a whole lot of modern concerns and challenges faced by Australian teens today. There's merit to found if you go and watch it - but be warned that you might just fall to pieces in the process. (New Territory, Rosalind Moran)
Fragments is an unflinching look at mental health issues confronted by young people today. Raw, unsettling, ironic, funny, heartbreaking, authentic - it is all of this and more (E Toohey)
A brilliant, powerful and honest take on mental illness and the stigma that surrounds it. Thought-provoking and brilliantly performed, Fragments cleverly tackles issues that affect nearly everyone in our community but are not discussed nearly as often as they should be (M Barhen)
Maura Pierlot's Fragments is thoughtful and heartbreaking, giving the audience a comprehensive insight into the causes and realities of mental health issues in today's teens. While the subject matter is heavy, there is a great sense of hope. (H Bidwell)