Potter’s House drama packs out venue

An original live drama production that addresses the sensitive and complex issue of self-harm packed the venue when it debuted on Thursday night at The Potter’s House Christian Church.

The intention in staging the the drama “Suicide is Never The Answer” was to portray a storyline that treated complex and delicate themes with subtlety. 

Children of all ages and parents alike responded well to the play that centered on Renee – the Samoan daughter, a Sunday School Teacher and Church Youth Leader – who takes her own life after she is beaten and disowned by her father, betrayed by her trusted best friend and dumped by her boyfriend Tomasi after he impregnates her.

From the highs of love and friendship to the lows of being found a failure in the eyes of her parents, the story, boosted by the talents of natural actors, is gripping.

Despite its subject matter, the play included hearty dose of Samoan humour.

Even in addressing the very serious issue of suicide, the production includes laughter in just the right places: when an inebriated Renee finds Tomasi in the nightclub with another woman and the two women fight – and when Renee overhears her best friend talking behind her back, making fun of her “unwanted pregnancy” situation.

Renee is the everyday unmarried young Samoan woman. Her family is proud, a good family; religious.

Renee’s family goes to church every Sunday, they are active in church, they pray together every evening and the hopes of Renee’s family rest upon her shoulders: they want to see her do well in school, win an academic scholarship and elevate the family’s name with her achievements.

But when a pregnancy test comes back positive, Renee’s dreams to make her family proud are dashed. Her boyfriend dumps her, denies the child and gives Renee an ultimatum: get an abortion or lose him.

Renee chooses to keep the child but when she tells her parents she is disowned by her father and kicked out of their home. Renee turns to her best friend Tanya for a place to stay but is disappointed when she is betrayed.

Renee goes back to her home and overdoses on pills and is found lifeless by her sister and her mother.

At the conclusion of the drama, audience members learn that the story was inspired by the real life of the actress who plays Renee.

But the real Renee chose to get an abortion and the abortion “haunted” her for years, she said. She turned to alcohol, drank alcohol excessively and was living a life of self-destruction.

“I planned my suicide…I thought suicide was the only way but I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ,” the real Renee said.

“Everyone in Samoa goes to church…but many of us just go to fill chairs.”

A real reliance on God and Jesus Christ is what pulled the real Renee from a pit of destructiveness, she said.

“God forgave me – a liar, a cheat, a fornicator…I was living a life worthy of hell…God accepted me, He gave me compassion and pulled me out of a pit…He gave me an opportunity…God is faithful,” she testified.

Leader of The Potter’s House Pastor Kurt Fatupaito told the Samoa Observer they aim “to give people hope, a way out, a better answer – the hope of Jesus Christ.”

“To let people know that there is a better way, there is hope, there is a real God that loves them and can help them through the problems of life. Suicide is not the answer, Jesus Christ is the answer,” said Pastor Fatupaito.

The drama opened on Thursday and closed Saturday night at The Potter’s House Christian Church in Vaivase-Tai.

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