This is not an easy play to write about. Nor should it be. Of all the subjects and issues which can and remain taboo in the contemporary world, it is two essential inviolable truths which remain the most potent and prohibitively awkward to discuss openly, honestly, truthfully: death, and sex. Yet, bizarrely, they are two constants, along with birth, which we all experience during our lives. As Leah Purcell writes in her director’s note, “death is a universal subject and this play will affect anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one, more so for those who have experienced the loss through suicide. And, in particular to this story, youth suicide – this act knows no colour, it touches us all. What this play asks is: how do people deal with death?” How do we talk about death, to each other, to ourselves, as individuals and as a society?
Before a production commences, I always try to read the program notes – not so much in the hope that they’ll explain what I am about to see, but so that like reading the introduction in a book, I am aware of the context or ideas in the piece. The hardest thing about reading Jada Alberts’ writer’s note is just how personal a story this is, how very much a part of her it is, and there is no disguising it nor apology made for the content of Brothers Wreck which unfolds here on Belvoir’s Upstairs stage.