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Shot Bro: Confessions of a Depressed Bullet
By the time the show starts, actor Rob Mokaraka has already established good rapport with the audience. He’s greeted people individually, let everyone know that watching the show isn’t always going to be easy, and assured them that it’s “OK to cry” if things get tough.
This is the true story of Mokaraka's meltdown. It happened after years of undiagnosed depression and what he describes as a "whakapapa of trauma.” He describes the experience of working with a psychiatrist and demonstrates the constricting effects of depression with a range of techniques including storytelling, stand-up comedy, mime and dance, managing to be both funny and harrowing at the same time. In an emotional trip through the rollercoaster of mental illness, his demonstrations of the stranglehold of fear, self-loathing and disgust are deeply affecting, and he re-enacts his unhinged attempt to be shot by police as a way ending it all.
The show’s content is rather thin, and there isn’t a “how to do it” element, but it is inspirational with a consistent message of the healing power of aroha. Mokaraka insists that troubles that fester in the dark are better brought out into the light, where they can be confronted and overcome. There is a strong sense of hope, although as he warns at the very end, “it’s ongoing.”
Written by Mokaraka and directed by Erina Daniels, Shot Bro is a brave exploration of a difficult subject and makes a positive contribution to current debates about mental illness and suicide.
Lifeline Aotearoa: 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Samaritans: 0800 726 666
Alcohol Drug Helpline: 0800 787 797
General mental health inquiries: 0800 443 366
The Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757
Rainbow youth (LGBTQ youth helpline): (09) 3764155
- by Barbara Frame