ENDORSEMENTS FOR CARPE DIEM

SCRIPT ASSESSMENT by MINDFRAME Australian Government National Media Initiative

MINDFRAME gave Carpe Diem the highest commendation in regards to their standards. They reported that the script was an accurate representation of depression,grief and loss.

"Protective factors as well as risk factors are highlighted (e.g. talk, seek support / marriage breakdown)
Action taking behaviours and a message of hope are promoted
Language is sensitive and non-stigmatising"

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK 

  • SENSATIONAL. WELL DONE.GREAT MESSAGE
  • I enjoyed the scene where John talks to the doctor and describes his feelings. Simple but detailed.
  • Thank you so much. You have inspired me to see my GP tomorrow and to take more notice of what is happening to others. Thanks a million! 
  • IT’S GOOD IT’S FREE-MORE ACCESSIBLE
  • Woooooooo! Yeah! Let’s continue to encourage men to discuss their feelings and not let it manifest into anger. Maybe it’s time for sadness.
  • Well done. My ex-husband had a breakdown and wouldn’t get help or share his pain with anyone. 
  • THANK YOU. KATRINA
  • Loved it! Thank you for sharing this work. Q&A very insightful. The characters are so real, like talking to my dad! Wish I could have told more people about it. 
  • GREAT SHOW
  • Great work on raising awareness of mental health in a funny and engaging way! Suggestion: Have you thought about a play to help address the epidemic of violence against women in our community? Thanks James.Answer: Yes.
  • Very good from someone who lived with a depressive husband.
  • Thanks! Awesome. Love the connection between the guys. Love the simple set. Why was this not more publicized? Thaaaanks Lisa.
  • Excellent performance! So worthwhile. Thank you and keep up the great work!
  • Loved it! Portrayed men’s view of depression and seeking help beautifully. Showing how you can get to a positive place was fantastic. Thank you.
  • REAL
  • TOUCHING
  • The play is extremely well written and resonates with men on a proper level. 
  • Thank you. Please keep touring and taking this into workplaces! Well done.
  • Great length for the main target audience. (Men who don’t talk about their feelings)
  • Enjoyed the frankness of the whole thing. JOHN: Loved you in Blue Heelers. Watching it with my Mum was part of my childhood.
  • Nice to see the openness done with men. Often judged as weakness in men and women too. Good to show it’s not.
  • Very encouraging to attend an entertaining night with such a vital powerful message.
  • Very entertaining. I can see how this play could benefit men of all ages. The sensitive issues brought to the forefront with humour.
  • Eye opening. Very truthful towards serious issues.
  • Very informative and gives good ideas for bringing up conversations and helps to not feel weak or a failure for needing to see a psychologist or take medications.
  • FANTASTIC PLAY! Realised the importance of opening up to other people. 
  • Great, funny, honest and really relatable story.
  • Great play. Got the message across to talk to people, ask Q’s etc. LOVED IT! Lea.
  • Enjoyed it. Laughed and shared the pain with the characters in the play.
  • Fantastic! Really liked it. Hopefully can bring a few people tomorrow. 
  • Impressive what two good actors can convey on stage with a handful of props. Very believable and entertaining. 
  • FUNNY-WARM -MEANINGFUL -HEALING JOHN: FABULOUS NEV WONDERFUL. BRILLIANT SHOW!!
  • LONELY-SUPPORT-TALK-CHANGE-FRIENDSHIP-FRAGILE-HELP-CARE. EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE
  • Relatable, relevant, enjoyable. GROUND BREAKING
  • FANTASTIC ACTING. Very believable.
  • HITS THE TARGET PERFECTLY! KEEP THIS GOING!
  • LOVED THE Q&A!
  • FUNNY-REAL-SAD-RELATIONSHIPS
  • Informative, entertaining. Thank you for making mental health okay. And it’s okay to talk especially if you are a bloke!!
  • Awesome way to raise awareness of a real issue.
  • Asking for help is the most difficult and biggest step.
  • POWERFUL-MEANING-USEFUL-HEARTFELT-REAL
  • REALLY FUNNY!
  • THOUGHT PROVOKING-USEFUL FOLLOW UP- REAL
  • Really nice mix of covering serious issues whilst keeping it humorous. Very entertaining!!
  • Touching performance. I saw a lot of myself in how the actors spoke and the attitudes they had.
  • GREAT PERFORMANCE AND MESSAGE BY JOHN WOOD
  • I enjoyed the show. It was very good. Jacqui
  • Powerful performance and messages.
  • Great performances. I would like to see something like this address different cultures.
  • In the moment. True to home current environment. Need more of this in country communities.
  • POWERFUL-MOVING-REAL-ENTERTAINING
  • INSIGHTFUL-REAL-MOVING. WELL DONE!!                                                          

“This compelling story will help break down the stigma of seeking support early when life gets tough. The play depicts so beautifully how two mates can help each other in times of need.”  Lifeline Albury General Manager Chris Pidd

 

“Carpe Diem is a poignant story of the ups and downs of rural life told in an entertaining way with plenty of humour. Audiences of all ages will relate to the characters and the struggles they are facing. It highlights the importance of helping each other especially when times are difficult and is very relevant to the issues facing rural communities currently.It encourages the audience to ask the tough questions when people around them are not coping, opening the conversation around mental health issues and reducing the stigma associated with seeking help.A thoroughly enjoyable and professional performance that I would highly recommend.”                     Helen Sheather Mental Health Clinician (RAMHP)

                                  

Thanks Megan. Thank you for the invitation to the first screening. It was awesome. I absolutely loved it.Cheers Andrea Surgeon                                          
Occupational Health Nurse - People & Organisation MARS Petcare - Wodonga 

 

“I attended the afternoon session on Wednesday in Albury. There is so much that I’d like to say about the performance but lack the ability to articulate myself in a way that might not come across as rambling.
My uncle took his own life in a shed three years ago in August, leaving behind a wife, three beautiful kids and myself. He like many men suffered from depression and wasn’t able to reach out.  This is important as I never knew or connected the dots to allow me to be there for him.  I didn’t know what to look for.
Only recently I have been struggling a little, and there was a lot in John Wood’s character that I recognised in myself. Particularly the physicality of his portrayal. These are cues that I didn’t recognise in my Uncle and now understand going through them myself.
Fore mostly, I would like to say thank you to for investing your time and creative energy into creating Carpe Diem and shining a light on the issues associated with the performance, and I would very much like, if possible to pass on to both actors that I enjoyed and resonated with their performances and thank them for playing their part, and of course Lucy who has pulled it all together.
John Walker and yourself presented some very alarming statistics re male mental health and the frightening numbers of suicide. Before the incident with my Uncle I was oblivious to the numbers. I think most people are….”
Take care and thank you for your efforts.
Regards,
Mark Haley | National Operational Risk Manager
306 Macauley Street, South Albury, NSW, 2640
P 02 6022 6052 F 02 6022 6050 M 0437 408 333
www.borderexpress.com.au
Hi Megan,
Wonderful to hear that the two performances of Carpe Diem at Murray Gardens went well! Apparently the residents and guests really loved it. Congratulations on such a successful show!
Kate Degnian
Assistant Copywriter
RetireAustralia

Endorsements for The Symphony of Life

I would find it aptly difficult to describe the range of emotions I felt and the immense gratitude and respect I have for all of you involved in this wonderful play. The only bitter disappointment I have is that I cannot see it again.

The play so sensitively portrayed the common rollercoaster of emotions and the enormity of stress and changes that is encountered following a cancer diagnosis. For some of the audience watching, it actually gave them comfort knowing that the many faces of grief they had experienced or were still experiencing were similar to what was conveyed in the play. So in other words it 'normalised the abnormal' for them and in the process offered suggestions to assist them to move forward. This included the specialness of belonging to a support group like Brave Hearts who can help nurture and offer unique friendships, love, courage and support on their journey.

The excitement of participating in dragon boating was cleverly shown which endorsed the healthy exercise, fun and loving support of a team of people in similar life situations who are enjoying taking life and living it to the fullest.

The other clever element utilized was humour which is always renowned for its wonderful medicinal qualities and definitely was another positive attribute of the show. The clever addition of the talented dancers, music and choreography added so much to the powerful themes of the touching and enlightening story.

For me however the most gratifying part was watching the survivors and supporters participating in the choir. It was so special seeing each of them being touched by the power of music.

To conclude I want to reiterate my sincere thanks to everyone concerned. Extra special thanks and sincere gratitude go to Megan Rigoni for her heartfelt script, Chris Pidd for his compassionate and talented directorship, Simone for her beautiful leadership of the choir, and the wonderful cast, choir, dancers and musicians who perceptively conveyed to us the many faces embedded in a cancer journey.  

Jenny Black President Brave Hearts on the Murray

My cancer journey started in July 2007 when I was diagnosed with Pseudomyxoma Peritonei; a rare cancer of the peritoneal cavity. In 2008, my father Alan passed away from pancreatic cancer. In 2009 I had a recurrence of PMP & then in 2011, my sister & I nursed our mother Margaret to her death, also from pancreatic cancer. Needless to say cancer has consumed my life these past 5 years and it's heavy tentacles have at times, strangled my spirit. But each day is a new day and a chance to celebrate being alive. The Symphony of Life was one such celebration - it was joyous to sing in the choir & be around creative, enthusiastic & talented people. The story so real & the message of hope carried in the songs. L.L

Having the opportunity of being part of the SOL choir is an amazing part of my cancer journey. I have had kidney cancer for 5 years with a few speed humps along the way. After joining the SOL choir earlier this year I had a recurrence of my cancer which required major surgery to remove tumours from my remaining kidney. The joy and healing energy that the choir gave me has been a life changing distraction for me while my doctors still deliberate on a treatment plan. After the school holidays I am joining Simone's gospel choir Funk Road and prior to the SOL I would never have imagined myself doing anything like this. I am truly grateful.

Feel free to use my account in the hope that someone will experience the immense pleasure that I have gained from SOL. It bought together a group of very different people, some on a cancer journey as I am but also others who I believe gained so much from sharing this journey with us. Some wonderful friendships were made over the last few months. I feel truly blessed. When I was first diagnosed I would never have thought one day I would say that anything good could come out of me having cancer but I have gained so much from walking this track. I have learned how to truly live life and appreciate the beauty in everything. Having my family and friends in the audience witnessing this part of my journey was something very special that I treasure. Thank you for being part of this enlightenment. J.C.

As a Breast Cancer survivor and taking part in the Symphony of Life: I was confronted by my past It brought back many memories - some of which were buried deeply. I gained acceptance of the present It allowed me to process the past and gain acceptance of the person I had become since my diagnosis. I am grinning widely at the future. The experience made me realise that - hey - I had been through a remarkable journey that had made me a much stronger and resilient person. I had gained more than I had lost - much more - and I look forward to a healthy existence in mind and body. The people that I had the pleasure to meet and work with on the production made me sparkle and feel good to be alive. It was truly wonderful. I thank you Megan so much for the wonderful opportunity of being a part of your dream. Fiona Jones

I am blessed to be a Brave Heart, and am amazed that Megan wrote a play about us that touched so many hearts, and was so brilliantly acted out. My only regret is that I didn't audition to be part of it. My heart is still singing. M.

The experience for me - made me confront my past - accept my present – and grin widely at my future. F

Thank you for informing us about the Symphony of Life. We checked it out on Friday. Really wonderful! It was great for a palliative care nurse to see a happy ending for a change. S

Thank you for allowing me to be part of the choir – it was so uplifting. I never thought I would have done anything like this – cancer has certainly changed my life with positives like this. 

“I am a teacher with 18 years experience and now work in the music and performing arts area. The one aspect of my career that really keeps me interested is directing Megan’s plays. I can honestly say the best part of the process is watching the students grow in confidence and maturity through their involvement. I have seen students develop into experienced actors and dancers and observed the effect it has had on their lives. Several students who presented with little self esteem, have progressed into debating teams, community organisations and the like as they have realised their potential. Performing on stage gives students a great sense of pride and achievement. And the bonds of friendship are long lasting.” Tanya Ham 2009

“This is my second year pf performing in the musical. Everyone around me has noticed the positive impact it has had on me. My confidence has grown ten fold and being part of a big group performance has helped me develop socially. I find that these things shine through when doing everyday things, speeches, presentations, even school assignments. Being a part of the musicals has benefited me in many ways.” Emily Parker 2009

“Kakadora” was an amazing experience. I will never forget the feeling of singing solo in front of a 500 strong audience and the looks on the faces of my mates when I got off stage. The excitement in their eyes was awesome! 

Now being in “Cruise Control” is fantastic! My confidence and singing voice have improved greatly. There is no better feeling than playing with the band and nailing a song! I can’t wait for the final result. The impact of the musicals on us is amazing!” Melanie Totten

Dear Sir/ Madam,
I met and had the pleasure of working with Megan Rigoni on her theatre piece “The Symphony Of Life” late last year in Albury. She’d earlier contacted me out of the blue and asked me to read this play, which I thought rather precocious, of her, but I did so, and was quite overwhelmed by it.
I had absolutely no hesitation about getting on board to bring it to the stage.
It was an extraordinarily moving piece about the pain, loss and healing associated with the cancer journey as told by real people in the Albury area, based on their own experiences and distilled into this amazing piece of theatre by Megan. It was very well researched indeed, but more importantly, it was extremely theatrical.
From the outset I was very impressed with her grasp of the subject, and her abiding loyalty to the “real” people she was portraying, and her ability to distil her research into a dramatic “reality” was quite unique. I was mightily impressed by her ability to accept criticism with total equanimity, while strongly maintaining her vision and commitment to her subjects. She always wanted to honour “her” people and what they had said to her in their interviews with her; but she always listened, stuck to her guns where necessary, and accepted the difference between the “real” and the “dramatised” where it mattered.
This was a great relief personally as the “real “ PECKER is almost twenty years older than me and partially crippled. I might add that many more experienced theatre writers wouldn’t have been capable of making the important adjustments that she did with such ease. I’m sure Megan would describe herself as a “learner”, but I’ve rarely met anyone with such a startling ability to learn.
In the end it was one of the best theatrical experiences, for both me and the audience in my more than forty year professional career. I have absolutely no doubt that her best work is yet to come, and hope that I might have some small involvement in it. If you are considering supporting her, I commend your taste and can only encourage you to do so. yours faithfully, John Wood