Marooned was written in Melbourne in the wake of the suicide of the actor Guy May. It was written in an attempt to use the ancient tools of storytelling to encourage people to choose life. Initially rehearsed in living rooms it has emerged as a brilliant new tool in the fight.
The Australian Army was so impressed by the play that they intend to tour it to their mainland bases, starting with Sydney. In mid 2021, Covid permitting, a National conference of suicide prevention organisations in the UK will end the conference with Marooned.
Initially we were planning to film a low budget feature film version of Marooned, but we now feel that a feature version is still a way off, so instead we intend to film a high-quality version of the play.
We can film the play for a quarter of the cost of the feature and we can still use the final product in the same way we intended to use the feature film version. The only difference is, we doubt the streaming sites, like Stan and Netflix will take it.
Once finished we will send the filmed version of the play to theatres, and other theatre companies around the English-speaking world as well as Mental Health organisations everywhere to gage their interest in bringing the production to them or to stage it themselves.
The play’s great gift is that after ninety minutes it starts an open, warm conversation about suicide. With mental health advocates present both before and after the play to harvest the energy of this conversation, the play has the ability to attack the stigma of suicide and stir up change.
Marooned can be staged anywhere from a major theatre, to a church hall, an army barracks, or even outside, making it very accessible.
But considering where the regional town is within Australia, the cost of bringing two performances of the play Marooned to them, is between $10,000-$15,000. This means that smaller towns, who still have a significant suicide problem, cannot easily afford it.
But by producing a high-quality filmed version of the play, they can instead present the film in the same way as the play at a fraction of the cost. By being innovative we can shoot this film for $27,000.
History of Marooned
Marooned’s first staging in a small theatre not only profoundly moved people, but it left them feeling uplifted. They celebrated it. Then, without much promotion the MTC invited us to stage the play in their Lawler Theatre, Jon Faine had us on The Conversation hour and more. And then towns started booking it in.
Then the Army saw it and were on the precipice of touring it to all their bases. Rio Tinto were also wanting to tour it to all their mining facilities in Gladstone, with a look to tour it further. But then Covid shut us down.
At our last regional gig the cast received a standing ovation at each show. These weren’t just for the performance, but because the play had taken the audience on a difficult yet engaging, entertaining journey into the darkness of suicide and remarkably left them feeling uplifted and enthused. The top Army Psychologist stated that the play Marooned is a revolution in suicide prevention.
The story. Four people are marooned in a waiting room in the afterlife. Their only connection is that they have each tried to take their life and apparently failed. If they want to get back to their lives they will not only have to open up and talk about what got them to here but just as importantly they will have to listen, for the clues to get back lie within them all. And the engaging hook is; have they really failed? But as time passes all the problems that saw them leave, that seemed insurmountable then, begin to become surmountable.
After every performance the audience would hang around for ages, talking openly and warmly about people they had lost and of ways to help prevent suicide. These cathartic conversations were between people from all demographics, from Barristers and CEOS of major Corporations to posties and pensioners.
It is this mentally healthy conversation that Marooned offers a community.