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International play spotlights the emotional side of mesothelioma

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2019 | Mesothelioma/Asbestos-Related Illness

People turn to entertainment for a variety of reasons. Many famous works of entertainment are lighthearted to create an escape for the audience. However, other works aim to shine a light on some of the serious situations real people face.

Frances Poet, a playwright from Glasgow, Scotland, recently wrote a play about mesothelioma. The play’s characters are fictional. However, the situations they encounter are based on real experiences.

Inspiration came from a heartbreaking reality

Poet was inspired to write “Fibres” after hearing an acquaintance talk about losing both her parents to mesothelioma within just six months. The woman’s father had spent three days working in a shipyard as an apprentice draughtsman, which resulted in enough asbestos exposure for mesothelioma to eventually develop. The woman’s mother received asbestos exposure when she washed her husband’s dust-covered work clothes.

Unfortunately, this is a common scenario in the United Kingdom, as well as the United States. Many women have developed mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases without ever working in a field that is known to have a high risk of asbestos exposure, such as shipbuilding, plumbing or others. Secondary exposure occurs when someone inhales asbestos after someone else unknowingly brought the substance into a communal area, like the home.

Anger and pain balanced by love and humor

According to an article about the play, Poet had not been previously aware of secondary exposure. However, the discovery of this truth prompted her to write, “Fibres.” This play is about a Scottish husband and wife who both develop an asbestos-related disease after the husband’s time working in shipyards decades earlier.

Given the subject matter, someone may expect the play to dwell on the anger and sadness that can follow the diagnosis of an asbestos-related condition. However, the news article emphasizes that the play is not one big rant.

According to the article, Poet aimed to balance anger and pain with love and humor. With this end in mind, the play focuses on the Scottish couple’s loving, and sometimes comedic, marriage, as well as the impact their experience has on their daughter’s life.

Because of its setting in Scotland, “Fibres” may not fully represent the experience that many American families have after a mesothelioma diagnosis. However, the emotional toll a mesothelioma diagnosis can have on families may transcend geography.

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