By Meredith Fuller as both a psychologist and theatre maker.
Attended Opening Night of MAROONED – the play about suicide, written & directed by Michael Gray Griffith, produced by Rohana Hayes. See my TAGG.COM.AU Theatre Review. 18 – 28 September 2019, At MTC’s Lawler Theatre.
This poignant edutainment helps us understand the complexity of what ails our society, some of the elements that underpin suicidal ideation, and – most importantly – how we can begin to go about active listening, and meaningful dialogue about this grave topic. Six men a day commit suicide, according to ABS 2017 statistics. Everyone is affected, and we are all becoming aware of the value of “Are U OK?” and similar exhortations to support our families, friends, colleagues, and community members. Thankfully, we are now far more aware of resources such as HelpLines, Beyond Blue, Australian Psychological Society, Medical and many bodies, people, and places to contact.
Griffith did his due diligence by contacting professionals, fine tuning the script, ensuring that Suicide Prevention and Help services were available at the theatre, and contextualizing his play with an interview with the mother of one of our theatre colleagues, Felicity May, whose son Guy took his life. She, and many other families, individuals, and groups have supported this play.
We learn more about this act of quiet desperation, and how we all might understand and assist our society’s members. Using humour, dialogue without judgement, and useful information embedded in the script, this play is likely to be beneficial to a broad range of people – anyone who has been touched; and let’s face it, who hasn’t been?
The play has a message of hope amidst despair, as we learn how to begin going about active listening and meaningful talk. Whatever we’ve been doing, it isn’t working – this play will contribute to additional insight and skill building.
By the manner in which the play has been created and performed, the audience members are respectfully cared for; given greater understanding and appreciation; provided with tangible healing and action for past, present and future concerns.
Aligned with the Haydn Butler Foundation, and several concerned bodies, the play will be performed for the Australian Defence Force, and has attracted several donations that will assist their regional tour.
I recommend this play. For anyone touched by this topic, we are reminded that we are not alone, and we have a next step.
It’s timely. My psychologist/docco maker partner is finalizing the third of his trilogy on MEN.
‘MEN & CRYING’ and ‘MEN & LOVE’ will shortly be accompanied by ‘MEN & LOVE’. The films are available via Brian Walsh’s website kailashstudios.com.
Brian interviewed scores of men, including professionals such as Patrick McGorry and Warrick Brewer, and we learn how vital it is for men to find the way to translate feeling into words so that meaningful talk can occur. The play MAROONED begins that next step.