Welcome to the Death Cafe (Wellington, New Zealand)
1 Jan 2020 - 31 Jan 2021
Welcome to the Death Cafe is a play about euthanasia. This is a hot topic in Aotearoa New Zealand at the moment, with the Euthanasia Bill going through Parliament.
The play is set in a Death Cafe, a popular movement world-wide where people meet, having coffee and cake and discuss death.
They meet in an old hall in Masterton. Josie, a local science teacher, runs the meetings. She greets Stephanie who has come over from Wellington for the meeting. As a hobby, she writes musicals for amateur theatre groups. At the moment she is writing one about death, and wants to grab ideas from people who turn up at the Death Cafe meeting.
The others arrive - Hemi, a local youth worker who was traumatised by his brother's death at the age of 19, and will now not go near hospitals or funerals. Joan, who goes to the local Catholic Church and is adamantly against euthanasia, like her Church. Geraldine is in her 70s, suffering from terminal cancer and intends to end her life with the help of Josie who is getting her the drugs.
The play is interspersed with song & dance routines, as if they cast are now in the middle of Stephanie's musical about death.
She has called her musical Day of the Dead, inspired by the annual Mexican ritual where the people remember and celebrate their dead relatives.
There are heated conversations about the pros and cons of euthanasia, and the play reaches its climax when Stephanie reveals she is an under cover cop. She catches Josie giving Geraldine the drugs to kill herself, and promptly arrests her.
The rest of the cast rally to support Josie and Geraldine, but to no avail.
The play ends with a powerful speech from Geraldine who tells the audience why she has to take this course of action.
The final song and dance is 'Let if Be' with the whole cast. This is Paul McCartney's song of tribute to his mother who died of cancer when he was a teenager.
The play opens at BATS Theatre, Wellington November 19-23rd, 2019.
There will be a preview performance at The Globe theatre, Palmerston North on Saturday November 9th, 2019.