The stage play ‘Marooned ‘ in the Yarrawonga Town Hall last weekend set out to leave the topic of suicide and other mental health issues with less stigma, shame and silence, and more people talking.
With just over 100 people attending the Saturday night presented by The Wolves Theatre Company’s professional cast of Melbourne stars, and another same total at the Sunday afternoon performance, the aim was achieved according to local organizer and Rotarian of 24 years, Noel Thomas.
“It definitely achieved its goal of discussion,” he told the Yarrawonga Chronicle.
The play was about three men and a woman who attempted to take their own lives. With humour, sensitivity, pathos and entertainment, this courageous play tackled the topic not often discussed. “The four separate scenarios were so well portrayed,” Noel said.
Starring Greg Caine, Rohana Hayes, Christopher Grant and Darcy Smith, the stage, settings and cast were praised by playwriter Michael Gray Griffith.
“The majestic hall was set up with bench tables and chairs. In the waiting room of Marooned were four church pews. They looked reverent. Like a small church,” he said.
“Ian Reid, the tech man, had the same passion for presenting plays as I had of writing them. He was like the monk who cared for a great temple and this hall was great.
“The country women manned the tables with coffee and tea, biscuits and plates of slices, and men walked around greeting each other and each handshake was firm.”
Michael said he also received good feedback from the audiences about the two stage productions.
In a separate, unique situation, a display wall was set up to pin a photograph or add a note for someone that attendees have lost to suicide.
“This ‘Wall of Faces’ is the first time it’s ever been done during a play,” Noel said. “On Saturday, nine people either put a photo on, or wrote a note for the wall. Seven people did on Sunday.”
Appreciation was expressed also by Noel – who instigated moves to have Morooned come to Yarrawonga – to everyone who helped make it a success in Yarrawonga.
“That included, in a big way, the Yarrawonga Mulwala Rotary Club, the Rotary district, and the Yarrawonga Chronicle,” he said.
“The group who facilitated the play had a big part in its success, the setting up and the editorials deserve special mention too. We will be issuing formal thanks to so many people and organisations involved.”
• Readers are reminded of the 7.00pm to 8.30pm talk this Remembrance Day, Monday, November 11 at ClubMulwala by The Man Enough Movement. The movement focuses on preemptive mental health space and gives people the skills to combat unhappiness, anxiety and depression. Admission is free.