Edinburgh Fringe regular, comedian and story-maker Sam Brady brings his new show about the effect a life changing diagnosis has upon male relationships within a family to the Lowry this week.
Created as part of the Lowry’s ‘Developed With’ programme Things I Say When I Don’t Say I love You is a warm, witty and uplifting one man play about three generations within one family, granddad, father and son and the effect Alzheimer’s has upon their relationships. Sam explains that “Although the men talk a lot they don’t really communicate, Granddad Tommy, the alpha male of the family is diagnosed with dementia which completely alters the dynamic within the family as he has to get used to not always being the strong one and maybe now being looked after while Scott the 20 year old is trying to establish himself as an independent adult and Ian, the father, is trying to learn how to let his son go whilst also becoming a parent now to his own Dad. It’s about male ego’s, relationships, three people who love each other very much but also drive each other nuts and really aren’t very good at communicating their emotions.”
A real focus and driving force within Sam’s work is looking at how families cope in a crisis, when something comes along that completely changes things, how do families adapt to that change and how does this affect their relationships? While dementia is the catalyst for the play, it’s a piece that addresses how individuals deal with loss and change. While there is a lot of sadness surrounding dementia Sam found through his research that families shared a lot of humour and also found that people in the face of tragedy and change discover what’s important to them, “Crisis and loss often gives people almost a permission and an opportunity to say things that they’ve never been able to say before. While there may be loss and upset involved there is also opportunity to strengthen relationships. While researching for the play and specifically dementia it was described to me that we have our emotions and also our cognitive function and it’s the cognitive function that goes but your emotions are still there, so people may say ‘what’s the point in going to visit someone if they don’t even know you’re there’ although they may not know who you are emotionally they still know that they love you and they feel that and feel good because they’ve been in the presence of someone they love, this is something we’ve built into the play.”
The importance of humour in helping people get through life’s challenges is something Sam feels strongly about after experiencing his own difficult times and personal loss, “The way people get through these times is often by laughing, it’s so important to have that light and shade, in my research for this play, meeting with families and people living with dementia we’ve had such a lot of laughs, the spirit and humour of the people I spoke to was incredible, people who know they’re facing a terminal illness, who are scared about what they might lose, scared they might forget their children, it’s genuinely terrifying but at the same time their ability to laugh at themselves and their situation is what gets them through, facing tragedy and still being able to laugh is so incredible, in the play I aim to reflect this, so while here are some sad moments it is also very warm, uplifting and also very humorous.”
The theme of kindness is something that runs through former Buddhist monk Sam’s work, his one-man stand up storytelling show Kindness toured successfully and after the Lowry expressed an interest in putting it on in the studio, Sam saw this as an opportunity to create a piece of theatre, arrangements were made and Sam created a double bill in which in the first half he delivered his show then in the second half delivered a work in progress of the story he was developing, “It got a really good response so on the back of that I was asked to joined the Developed With programme, it’s been absolutely amazing. I’ve watched so much great theatre in preparation for my show, I’ve learnt so much, I’ve been taking acting lessons, I’ve worked with a writing mentor to ensure I really bring out the best in me. It’s been the most fantastic opportunity.”
Audiences can see Things I Say When I Don’t Say I Love You at the Lowry on Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd February with 5 rural dates booked in in Cheshire and Lancashire and a full autumn tour also in the pipeline.
Further information and tickets can be found here.