THEATRE / The Lost Mum: Ken Campbell on The Lost Mum, a play for eight to 12-year-olds: 'The notion that it is full of despair is not borne out'

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The Independent Culture
'The Lost Mum' by Michele Celeste introduces audiences to the plight of some of the world's street-children. In this scene, Mariza, who has become separated from her mother, encounters a shuffling, talking cardboard box on the street.

Box (with a strange voice) I'm sorry. I didn't realise 'you' were thirsty . . . (accusingly) Another runaway] . . . Oh-oh]

(Mariza is scared.)

What are you doing in a big city like this?

Mariza I - I - I'm looking for my mum.

Box Looking for your mum, eh?

Mariza And my sister, Tania.

Box I have heard all sorts of excuses from you lot . . .

Mariza It's true]

Box Where do you think you'll find your mum and sister then?

(Mariza shrugs, pause.)


Mariza I - I don't know.

Box You're a runaway]

Mariza No . . . I'm not a runaway.

Box Have you seen how many children are living on the streets here?

Mariza I - I've just got here . . .

Box Ah-ha] The street is no place for a little girl.

Mariza I'm only looking for . . .

Box (cutting in) Be warned] If a cop nicks you, he'll send you into an orphanage] Where they beat you all the time] Aren't you scared now?

(Mariza nods. Pause.)

Why don't you go back home?

Mariza Home . . .? Which way's my home?

Box Oh, yes, go on pretending you're lost . . . Dirty clothes, broken shoes . . . There you are. Good advice is lost on urchins like you.

(The box makes an attempt to grab Mariza.)

Mariza Aaaahhhhh]]]

(Mariza drops her coat and runs off. Marcelo, a street kid, comes out of the box and laughs his head off.)

Marcelo Ha] Ha] Ha] . . . what do I see there? Another kid, newcomer to the city . . . Ha] Ha] Ha] . . . I'll give him a fright too. Ha] Ha] Ha]

(He gets back into the box and exits laughing.)

(Photograph omitted)