ANOTHER DEAD FAG
29/10/2013 - 02/11/2013
BASED ON TOO MANY TRUE STORIES
Another Dead Fag is a story of gay teen suicide. It takes place at Seb’s wake after his suicide, and those closest to him; his cousin Mordecai, his sister Abigail and his boyfriend David gather together to pick up what’s left behind. Despite the blame and guilt that they’re throwing around, they start to piece together the mystery of Seb’s life to find the reasons behind the suicide.
In this new play, award-winning writer Sam Brooks is tackling gay characters and issues like he has done in previous plays Queen (April 2013, The Basement) and Mab’s Room (September 2012, The Basement) but with this play he is throwing the spotlight on an issues which he shows us is not just a gay issue, but a social issue.
Studies show that suicide among youth are on the rise, especially LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) youth. A 2008 study by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center estimating that between 30-40% of LGBT youth have attempted suicide, and even closer to home, an Auckland University study from 2007 estimated that 20% of students attracted to the same sex or both sexes reported making a suicide attempt within the previous year – a figure that was five times higher than the proportion of students attracted to the opposite sex.
Another Dead Fag approaches gay teen suicide from a refreshing perspective, one that appreciates that suicide is not something that can be simply written off or chalked down to one thing, such as somebody’s sexuality, even if that is a key factor in many suicides. The work doesn’t reduce the experience of its characters to their sexualities. It appreciates that suicidal feelings are a cocktail of multiple factors, not a simplistic equation. We see that gay teens, like all humans, are complex three dimensional people, with a myriad of strengths and challenges in their lives.
“There’s no plays that are tackling this issue, especially in New Zealand”, says Sam Brooks. “Suicide is a real problem that needs to be addressed. While we are learning more about suicide prevention, we are often not confident to address the social aspects which are contributing to suicide in New Zealand.”
Smoke Labours Production is proud to premiere this courageous new work, directed by Zinnie Selwyn (Wings) who says, “For me it speaks about people mistaking sexuality for personality. It’s about family, it’s about growing up and growing away. It’s about blame, guilt and miscommunication.” The play stars Dan Veint (Mojo), Chris Parker (TV’s Girl vs. Boy), Lauren Gibson (Anne Boleyn, The Heretic) and Jordan Blaikie (Everything She Ever Said To Me).
Smoke Labours Productions would like to thank these supporters of this season of Another Dead Fag: Wallace Arts Trust, Banana Boat Writer’s Group and The Basement.
Another Dead Fag runs from Tuesday 29 October to Saturday November 2 at The Basement Studio at 7PM each night. Tickets are $20.
Quotes about Smoke Labours Productions’ previous work:
On Goddess and Mab’s Room:
“Brooks has corralled a talented company to produce a pair of solid, contrasting pieces that successfully highlights his versatility with style and content, underpinned by an astute eye for the human condition.” – Nik Smythe, Theatreview
On And I Was Like:
“… a smart piece of theatre: quite masterful in its subtlety; capable of burrowing deep into our thoughts to drag out answers of our own instead of jamming them down our throats.” – Joselyn Khor, Theatreview
“Queen asks the questions, and relates some of the experiences, which are important in the brave new world that New Zealand has woken up to find today.” – James Wenley, Theatrescenes
Another Dead Fag, October 29-November 2
The Basement Studio
Lighting Designer – Amber Molloy
Sound Designer – Sam Mence
Stage Manager – Lucie Everett-Brown
Set Design – Jessica Hyunh
Suicide isn’t painless
Review by Sharu Delilkan 31st Oct 2013
Another Dead Fag epitomises the essence of The Basement’s ethos.
In this case it was not only about appreciating young playwright Sam Brooks’ uncanny ability to write insightful modern day dialogue, but it was about seeing some of the actors who also work at The Basement performing superbly on stage.
Dan Veint (Seb) shines as the central character who’s out and proud, but recently deceased. His ability to stay in character throughout the show, even when he is in the background really heightens our theatrical experience. His expressive and emotional reactions to all that is going on in the foreground is phenomenal, to say the least. [more]
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A stimulating gem of a show
Review by Johnny Givins 30th Oct 2013
Writers are the heart of good theatre. In his latest play, Another Dead Fag, Sam Brooks is developing into a talented writer with an ear for the rhythms of life and a finely tuned sensibility to the issues of his generation.
Gay teen suicide is the issue Sam Brooks is confronting here. Assisted by a talented cast and clever production, this show captures a unique view of an issue crying out for understanding and our intervention.
Seb (Dan Veint) has committed suicide and the action takes place in his bedroom while the wake continues downstairs. It opens with Seb on his the bed and he continues to be present in the whole production. Seb observes the action of the other characters like a spirit waiting to depart. Cleverly he also becomes ‘real’ as the key moments of his life are played out in the room with his Cousin Cal (Chris Parker), Sister Abby (Lauren Gibson) and Boyfriend David (Jordan Blaikie). Together they pick up the pieces of this shattered life. It is a journey of past events that reveal a complex matrix of guilt and blame.
Dan Veint is mesmerizing as the proud out gay teenager. He is passionate, energetic, and emotional, eager to explore his new found freedom. He is also ‘full on’ either up or down. Although the play celebrates his coming out, finding a boyfriend and the joy it brings, it also deals with the heartbreak of rejection, the mystery of loneliness, and the bitterness of difference.
Basement Studio is small. The capacity audience are breathing, listening and smelling the action. There is no room for bullshit. This cast delivers the truth with simplicity, directness and heroic candour. The flashback scenes are full of joy and discovery as we peel away the layers of the characters’ lives.
Cal is the key character for Seb. He is Seb’s idol and mentor as an out gay man (working in the theatre) who knows the game of gay life. However Cal is an avoider and commitment phobic. He represents a section of young men who avoid facing life and run away. Seb wants answers but Col just hasn’t got them.
Seb’s sister, powerfully played by Lauren Gibson, is central to the emotional line of the story. She cares deeply for her young brother but just can’t break though to her brother in crisis. “I tried hard to help but in the end I didn’t”.
The first scene between Cal and Seb’s sister Abby is a triumph of halting dialogue, hesitant pauses and ‘elephant in the room’ avoidance. It is funny, sad and truthful all at the same time. Good acting and good writing!
Jordan Blaikie resists the ‘camp’ in the role as the boyfriend and becomes a real young man with all the complexity of being a young gay man trying to stumble through a new love and resulting tragic time.
Zinnie Selwyn directs these fine actors in a powerful piece of theatre. He resists the maudlin, cloying emotional confrontation with death scenes and allows the actors to discover the person within themselves that Sam Brooks has created. Effortless transitions from past to present are an added pleasure as the story unfolds.
Guilt is the prime emotion when a young person commits suicide. Con is guilty, Abby is guilty, David is guilty. We are guilty. Seb represents not only the teen gays but all teen suicides. They were crying out for support, knowledge, love, and a guide to living in this world. We let them down.
“It’s so hard to be Seb”…
Another Dead Fag is a stimulating gem of a show which reveals and illuminates real lives and real issues. A must see!
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