by Rory Godbold

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by Rory Godbold

Dan’s dreaming of dead ducks and cartoon skeletons. He’s also dying. Terminal brain cancer has forced Dan to decide how he wants the end of his life to look. Despite his supportive partner, well-intentioned sister and nurse who comforts by-the book – no one can give him what he needs. It’s time Dan chooses how he goes.

When hotel concierge Dan, 33, learns of his terminal brain cancer he does everything he can to avoid dying his nightmare death. Unable to face the uncertainty of how his death will happen he obtains the illegal life ending drug, Nembutal, to give him the ultimate final say in how he will spend his last moments.

His decision to take control is hard for his teacher boyfriend, Liam, to accept and even more so for his distant lawyer sister Kate. Dan’s palliative care nurse Alice is bound by the rules of the medical profession and her own faith.

As Dan experiences increasing confusion he dozes in and out of different memories as he processes and comes to terms with what his life has amounted to: he comes out to his sister, he introduces her to his new boyfriend Liam, he tells people he is dying and experiences aphasia for the first time before collapsing. In Dan’s final memory we see Liam and Dan when they first meet, before returning to the moment Dan tells Liam that it is time to take the Nembutal to end his life.

Dan brings the cup to his lips and suddenly rapidly firing memories cascade as Dan’s control over his death disintegrates.

When The Light Leaves explores how people navigate the reality of death and reconcile their grief, leaving audiences to decide for themselves how they would want to go.

"...a moving and nuanced four-hander... a talented, emotionally honest dive into a tragic human situation" - Cameron Woodhead, The Age

“Godbold’s work marks a departure from enigmatic depictions of death, dwelling uninhibitedly and empathetically on both the ordinariness and extraordinariness of those final struggles that precede the ultimate arrival of death.”- Arjun Rajkhowa, Arts Hub

“a bold and thought provoking piece of theatre that leaves you asking yourself a question you hope you never have to answer.” - Myron My, My Melbourne Arts

“This is a brave and compelling story about a subject that is crying out for a voice.” - Patricia Di Risio, Stage Whispers

This title appears in:

Green Room Awards - Best New Writing (2020 nominee)