Postnatal depression tackled in comedy

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By CRIS JOHNSTON

Lake Hawea playwright Liz Breslin arrives for the interview with The News toting two baby car seats – minus their passengers.

Now the mother of 12-year-old twins, Breslin has moved out of her own baby-rearing years but says her cargo is all part of the props for her latest play, the comedy Losing Faith, which premieres in Wanaka on Tuesday.

Breslin is joined by Fiona Armstrong, an actor in her last production It’s Your S***, which tackled the subject of freedom camping. She was also assistant director of the Mount Aspiring College production, Like There’s No Tomorrow, part of last year’s Festival of Colour.

Taking in the carseats and the large bag of baby “stuff”, childless Armstrong said it seemed like there should be a baby on board for this black comedy about the trials and tribulations of new parenthood seen through the lens of the coffee group culture.

Breslin said she first started writing the play when her children were small but for one reason or another put it away for about seven years.

More recently, she had begun researching the motherhood phenomena, cafe culture and social media pages where advice flowed as freely as the coffee and where “everyone has an opinion”.

“It is almost like there is an overload of information and the truth is somewhere in the middle,” she said.

As with the topic of freedom camping in It’s Your S*** Breslin has turned to comedy to bring the issue of postnatal depression to the stage.

“Comedy is such a good vehicle for serious issues. I mean, dark humour is a coping strategy in its own right .

“Lots of people crying the ‘yeah-nah she’ll be right’ tears.”

Armstrong said the play took a raw subject and softened it with comedy.

“It is just such a good way to get something to resonate. If you present something as being all really dark, you put a barrier up – when you laugh you make a connection.

“Comedy is a great coping mechanism,” she said.

Losing Faith showcases the talents of several local actors, including Becky Plunkett in the lead role, Bene Schwarz, MAC Hostel manager Will Cole, and Gilly Pugh, founder of Aspiring Children’s Theatre School.

It will run from Tuesday to Friday at Edgewater Resort, starting at 7.30pm. There will also be a matinee performance next Saturday at 11am.