A former Grange Hill actor will stand up to suicide at the Clapham Fringe, Beyond Borders.
Mark Savage, pictured, played the notorious controversial school bully Gripper Stebson, who David Cameron joked was his role model, but there will be no bullying in this show taking place at the Bread and Roses theatre in Clapham on October 6.
Mark’s performance as Frank, a stand-up comedian is his 40s, takes on the taboo topic of men and suicide in Human Issue.
With suicide being the most common cause of death in men in the UK and the highest rate in the 45-49 year age group, Frank is experiencing an existential crisis and contemplates becoming another anonymous statistic.
But first he has one or two important things he has to say, as he spontaneously finds his voice and articulates his fears and emotions, proving it is OK to talk, as he delivers his part monologue, part stand-up comedy routine.
Frank accidentally counsels himself and identifies changes he needs to make as society evolves and identifies toxic masculinity traits that are having a detrimental effect on his health.
“A lot of truth comes out of the performance. Personally I am a great advocator of drama therapy. It’s a great job, it’s like free therapy,” said Mark.
“Suicide has touched every one of us. I have lost people close to me.
Like Frank, the show is cathartic for me. An amazing amount of people have come up to me and said they have been affected by this problem. It’s a terrible thing. Men don’t mind talking about how injured they are physically.
“They’ll happily brag ‘oh I’ve got a broken arm or sprained ankle,’ but when they are injured emotionally or mentally they shut up.
“Tying theatre and mental health together is a crusade for me.”
Frank tells the story of how he got to this awful place in his life with a dark wit, though this is a story of hope and celebration of the tenacious nature of humanity.