Director’s Note: Francesca Savige, SUMMER OF HAROLD

4 Sep 2023

Before our workshop of this play my mother visited. Noticing her 1980s lemon juicer on my kitchen bench, she inquired if I would care to update it. I said “No, I love this one!” Despite the hideousness of this plastic relic, I realised that it held years of memories of growing up cooking with my mum – making lemon pudding, crepes with lemon and sugar and my favourite: lemon meringue pie.

I shared this juicer revelation with the cast as we told stories of the objects that held meaning for us – a blanket, a glass cube, hand-carved bookends, a teacup. We discussed how objects can be held on to tightly or lightly, and how their significance exists only in our minds. This is the exploration of Hilary Bell’s three beautiful, amusing and moving playlets comprising SUMMER OF HAROLD. Why do we cherish material things? How do they inform, infuse, infect or ignite our lives? What happens when these objects are broken or lost?

Strangely, after talking out the “juicer revelation”, I felt that I could let the ugly object go now that I understood what it had meant to me. I could be free of it and still cherish those beloved hours making desserts with mum. Does telling our stories solidify our memories and release us from the material?

We have all absolutely loved working with Hilary’s wonderful words and ideas, and have felt the joy of telling stories throughout the process.

We hope when you read or see the play, you might afterwards find yourself sharing stories of your own objects, releasing and immortalising them.

I kept the lemon juicer.

Francesca Savige

Playing 8 Sep – 14 Oct, award-winning playwright Hilary Bell’s SUMMER OF HAROLD explores the transformative power of everyday objects threads through three cracking comedic plays about adventure, obsession and hope. Secure