The story of Mazurka takes place
in an English settlement of the New World
during the 19th Century. It has a hero and a
heroine. The working out of their
relationship is complicated by this particular
situation they find themselves in.
Other characters are varied and shown against the
environment of the new land.
Mazurka is not a drama. It has a lightness that
borders on the comical.
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SETTING: It is the interior of a large boatshed
built into a fringe of bush at the edge of a beach of coarse sand and
stones. Outside, a storm rages. Normally, the shed houses two small boats, a
pile of fishing nets, a trestle table and a few stacked old wooden chairs.
At the moment there is a busy human content as half a dozen colonial
volunteers do their best to deal with casualties from boats come to grief in
the churned-up waters of the bay. All the while, indigenous Maori apply
themselves fearlessly to rescuing passengers from rocks and surf.
TIME: No clock strikes the hour. The shed is lit by
four lanterns. The inadequate window shows darkness outside. Some of those
present know that supper awaits them at home; others will have been lucky enough
to have eaten before they came out; two or three may never eat again. That is
what time it is.
Now the space is clear of people. There is a
banging at the door. It's Frank Butler, young reporter on
the Gazette, late to a story – not really
his fault, you know, that he's late. Inside the boathouse, he
relights his lantern, muttering as he does...
"The boss said the boathouse. He'll
hang, draw and quarter me if I miss this story…"
He is joined by Michael Cummins, friend, who sees
himself as an entrepreneur.