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Welcome to this week's Spread the Love.
This week I am at the Arizona State Thespian Festival,
I'm just about to teach a workshop
– there's all my materials.
And we're going to talk about,
or I'm going to talk about
The Bright Blue Mailbox Suicide Note.
This play is one of my oldest.
It's the one I've seen the most in production.
It's one of the most often controversial,
people don't like to talk about suicide, particularly with teenagers.
There was a production in Woodstock many years ago,
where the parents tried to stop the play
they said their kids were getting too depressed.
And I remember the teacher telling me that the kids stood up and said
'No, no, no, no. It's not making us depressed,
it's making us talk about depression.'
So, the play is very self explanatory in the title.
The main character, Jake, he finds a suicide note
in his mailbox on blue paper.
He gets very obsessed with trying to find out
who wrote it, what was going on, where did it come from.
And what he actually ends up finding out
is a secret about one of his best friends
that he didn't want to know
and he doesn't know how to deal with.
There was a production here at the Arizona State Festival
of Bright Blue which I got to see last night.
It was really thrilling.
It was really thrilling to see them handle the tough emotional moments.
At the adjudication, the adjudicator asked them,
How many of you have exposure to suicide,
either with friends or family or school mates?'
More than half of the students raised their hands.
And I really got the impression that
this experience was more than a play to them.
It's not therapy by any means.
But it was the right time
and I had four kids come up to me,
sorry four students, teenagers not kids,
and say thank you for writing this play.
It's not a cure for cancer, it's a play.
And I got to be a part, with my play,
of their experience.
And that is something really special.
The most important thing about this play
is that while it is an issue play
and the issue is at the core,
it's a piece of theatre.
Issue plays must be theatrical and this one
has lots and lots of theatre in it.
There are also a variety of emotions.
This is not a sob fest
which is also very important in issue plays.
There are laughs.
Some people laugh in the face of tragedy
and that is so important to show.
It's so important to have variety.
I love this play and I encourage you
to go and check it out.
That's it for Spread the Love!