Several years ago, playwright Nakkiah Lui was deeply affected by the story of an Indigenous man named Paul, who’d hung himself after he was refused pain medications in a hospital emergency department. Medical tests later revealed he had widespread cancer. While she was writing his story, Lui’s grandmother fell through the floor in her housing commission home. It took her three months of suffering in agony to die. Kill The Messenger is their story, and that of Lui herself.
Kill The Messenger opens on a sparse, grey, Ralph Myers-designed set. Two screens project a series of images of a park, followed by photographs of Lui, then her grandmother before and after her accident. It’s a stark, powerful stage, perfectly complemented by the subtle compositions of Kelly Ryall and the lighting design of Katie Sfetkidis.