Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cemetery Theatre Tour

My face to face writing group did a night-time historic cemetery ghost tour for their Christmas Party and we found it fascinating and inspiring. We said at the time we couldn't wait to go back.

This last weekend we did a creativity exercise loosely title "Death in a Decade" at the same cemetery. Each member of the group dressed up as someone from a decade - someone keeping the home fires burning during World War One(10's), a flapper from the 1920's, a housewife from the depression (the 30's), an elegantly dressed 1940's socialite (complete with real fur) and a tie-died hippy from the 70's.

We set about finding the monument of someone who had died during our decade, and tried to weave a story around their life or their death. Sounds morbid? No, it was fascinating. One gentleman in the 1920's buried his second wife five years after the death of his first wife. In the same grave! Imagine the second wife's family's reaction.

So many families buried young children in the early years of the cemetery there is a pamphlet prepared by the cemetery's historical society detailing these families, and we paused to consider the impact of living 70 years longer than your infant child. One grave held two unrelated men, and the wording of the headstone verse led us to believe they were in love. In 1919.

There were fascinating monuments - a sailboat in marble, a stained glass window set in an oval marble frame that catches the sunrise, a miniature garden complete with flowers and artificial grass. We'd only covered about a quarter of the cemetery before we all found inspiration we needed. We'll be researching the history of our eras and preparing the groundwork to let us work on these stories at our planned retreat in May.

I can't wait to see the stories we come up with. And we'll definitely be exploring the rest of this cemetery some time in the future.


Anita Joy said...

Sounds fascinating Fi. Was that Toowong cemetery?

Shayne said...

It must be a beautiful cemetery.

And what a creative idea.

It will be interesting to see what eventuates from the exercise.

Eleni Konstantine said...

That is sooooo fascinating Fi. I'm sure there are plenty of stories that will come from that visit.

Happy writing to you all!

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