Former Grange Hill actor Mark Savage stands up to suicide in stage drama ‘Human Issue’ (October 6th ) @marksavageactor

With an acting career spanning several decades starting with onscreen appearances in the hit ITV show The Gentle Touch, Mark might be best known for his role as notorious controversial school bully Gripper Stebson, in the BBC show Grange Hill. Marks appearances in the show began in 1981 and ran up to and including episodes in 1985. I was such as fan of Grange Hill and whilst I did miss the final season or two. I was present for most of the episodes when they were shown on TV when it began in the late 70’s But there is far more to Mark Savage than school days and whilst I have seen him on screen over the years, Mark has spent a great deal of time treading the boards with his theatrical company Savage Theatre Company which not only entertains and educates those who see the shows, but also helps creative artists hone their skills.
With suicide being the most common cause of men in the UK, with the highest rate in the 45-49 year age group, Mark Savage plays Frank, a stand up comedian in his 40’s 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 its OK to talk, as he delivers as part monologue,part stand up comedy routine, and inadvertently 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.Frank tells his story of how he got to this awful place in his life with a dark philosophical acerbic wit in this story of hope and celebration of the tenacious nature of humanity and our pursuit of happiness, that gives us something to think about and more importantly talk about

Human Issue is a 60 minute one man metal theatrical play, written by Dean Moynihan & performed by Mark Savage as Frank, an unemployed stand up comedian who’s experiencing issues at a stage in his life that puts him in a high risk of the most common cause of death in men in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, straddling beyond borders of the UK.

As Frank sits alone in his empty flat, after the bailiffs have repossessed almost everything he owns, an inconspicuous noose hangs as Frank talks to the audience as part monologue, part stand up comedy routine with a dark acerbic philosophical wit, in this poignant and personal exploration of an important and sensitive subject,as he contemplates becoming yet another anonymous statistic.

He’s not happy about it & he has one or two important things he’d like to say.

As Frank finds his voice to articulate his thoughts, feelings & mental distress, he explains that he’d like the story to unfold in a linear way.
But unfortunately, his mind doesn’t work like that, as Frank takes us on a journey, carefully picking a path through the chaotic minefield of tangents he goes off on, as he tells his story of how he reached this unfortunate place in his life.

Comparing his current situation with some unachievable perceived goal or standard, set by cultural masculine expectations, and having a lack of goal re-engagement, he displays a lack of positive thoughts about the future.
Believing that the future holds nothing good for him.  Causing him to feel socially disconnected and isolated.
Believing that he has become a hindrance or burden to others as he misses his dependence on a female partner for emotional support, and because of his relationship breakdown, he suffers this loss acutely. As he describes dating experiences with dark humour.

Frank uses his dark philosophical wit as a coping mechanism as he states that he’s a self pitying narcissist, with a huge ego & very low self esteem and it’s a dangerous combination.

Frank is struggling to cope with major social, personal & professional life changes, as he finds himself part of the so-called ‘buffer’ generation, caught between the older, more traditional, strong, silent, austere generation of his elders & the younger, more progressive open individualistic younger generation.

Frank’s cultural viewpoint makes him reluctant to talk about his emotions, while he identifies the risks of not talking about feelings and the challenges in how to encourage this to happen without alienating men like him, while still communicating in a way that makes sense for them, emphasising the importance of encouraging men to  raise emotional difficulties.

This is a story of hope, a celebration of the tenacious nature of humanity and ultimately educational with a blackly comic and painfully clever approach to a subject, like the title suggests, is a human issue that we should all be talking more about.

Tickets are available here

Human Issue is written and directed by Dean Moynihan.Dean attended Roehampton University where he studied drama and trained as an actor.Dean’s Novel “Finally Woken” was published this year : As well as directing Human Issue Dean is currently writing his third novel developing a screenplay 

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