What is the Play About?

Captain William Jackson Barry was the first Mayor of Cromwell, New Zealand. Little is known of him now, but in the 19th century he claimed to be "the Champion Spinner of Yarns". Here Legends Lie tells his story.

Lake Dunstan (a man-made lake that now floods the original Cromwell town of which Jackson Barry was Mayor) is used to portray a contemporary light. Though the light falls on the place where events supposedly took place, it is now distorted, hitting the surface at several angles and reflecting different aspects - as light through broken glass.

The play was originally produced under the title of Broken Diamond and was renamed after a later revision. "See how crystals shake colour from the light".


"This is a very intelligent play, where Goodman achieves a sense of overall completion using the most fragmented style. Revealing the truth of character through an obsessive liar, he echoes Barry's line: It is not the diamond nor the jewel, it is the light which passes through."
CANTA (University of Canterbury)

"This play is both interesting and experimental. It is experimental in that it does not follow the traditional form of narrative but reveals a series of fragments that are sometimes linear and sometimes in kaleidoscopic form. It evokes an atmosphere that makes the theatre very special."
The Christchurch Press

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