Fathom is set underwater off Broome while an English deep-sea diver stages up to the surface to prevent diver's paralysis, or the bends. More specifically, the action takes place in the diver's fraying mind as he increasingly loses consciousness. It is 1913, and the White Australia Policy is tightening its grip. There are two worlds in this play; the profane and the sacred. The profane world is the one in which the diver's Malay tender is trying to stage him to the surface. It is a slow, suspended, lonely underwater world of counting, recounting and recriminating. There is also the sacred Otherworld in which a dragon appears, Oriental Sovereign of the Indian Ocean. This is the realm of pearl myths, magic and the unconscious, where linear attitudes to time do not apply, and things happen in defiance of natural laws and cycles.
Source, ABC Radio National website, http://www.abc.net.au/rn/arts/airplay/s1481616.htm