A Wollongong doctor going through a self-proclaimed midlife crisis said he thought about buying a fast car or seeking a hot young girlfriend, but both were too expensive.
Instead Damian Ryan, 50, decided to write a play (much to the delight of his wife).
SignAL will have its world premier at the Wollongong Workshop Theatre in Gwynneville from May 12 to 14.
“When you have kids, your whole life gets snowed under and it all revolves around them,” Dr Ryan said.
“When my kids were starting to enter into high school and they didn’t want to have anything to do with me anymore, I got my independence back and I thought: ‘I’m getting on, I should do something with my life’.
“It took a lot of committment because i’m not the sort of person that can sit down and type.”
The comedy is based at a roadwork site and in a hospital ward, revolving around three main characters who all work together with plenty of “dad jokes” thrown in.
Dr Ryan said there’s also a serious side with underlying themes around personal development and relationships.
I got my independence back and I thought: ‘I’m getting on, I should do something with my life’.Damian Ryan
Writing a play wasn’t completely foreign to the man of science, though he admitted it was challenging over the four years it took him to complete.
“You doubt yourself to start with,” he said.
“I come from a very non-artistic backround.”
When his daughters were younger and taking drama lessons at Shellhabour’s Roo Theatre Company Dr Ryan discovered they also ran adult classes.
He’s since acted in several amateur theatre productions Shellharbour as well as writing some funny skits for an Australian Medical Association initiative before embarking on SignAL.
“Watching this cast take something I’ve created and bring it alive. These people have developed this in front of my face; it’s like watching a flower bloom or something like that. It makes you so proud and it gives you shivers,” he said.
“[My daughters] are sick of the dad jokes but they’re keen to come and have a look at it.”
SignAL runs at the Wollognong Workshop Theatre, 190 Gipps Road in Gwynneville from May 12 to 14.
Tickets $20 via: www.trybooking.com