Arts & Entertainment

Losing You (Twice)

Kate & Daniel O'Keefe. Photo: Paul Jeffers

In July 2011, 24-year-old Victorian man, Daniel O’Keeffe went missing. His family – parents and three sisters – had no clue or explanation as to why Daniel would have disappeared and where he could be. For the next five years they engaged in public appeals, a social media campaign that went global, chasing down false sightings and fruitless leads, and hoping, continuously hoping.

Then by chance, in March 2016, Daniel’s remains were discovered; his father found them while digging beneath their Geelong home. It was a cruel final twist to an already heart-breaking story.

In Losing You (Twice), Daniel’s sister, Kate O’Keeffe shares the experience and the connected emotions in what she calls “theatrical storytelling”. It’s a sequel to a similar piece she performed when Daniel first went missing.

With such raw and personal material to perform alone on stage, it’s little wonder people often ask her ‘Why do you want to put yourself through that night after night?’ O’Keeffe explained:

“I feel like I need to do something, and this is what I can do…I’m living it anyway. I’m already feeling all those emotions pretty much every day anyway.”

She is also driven by the need for conversations to be had that derive from stories like this.

“I want it to help break the stigma of depression and mental illness… I found it even hard to talk to my brother about him having depression.”

Her family have been very supportive and she particularly acknowledges the input of director Paul Gilchrist, who saw the merit in her idea and helped bring it to stage. She hopes it will help finally bring some closure:

“I feel like, once I’ve done this then I’ve really released it, I’ve really let it out, I’ve really told it to everyone who wants to know…and then I can move forward.” (RB)

Feb 7–11, 7:30pm. King Street Theatre, 644 King St, Newtown. $15/$25 online, $25/$30 door. Tickets & info: www.kingstreettheatre.com.au

BY RITA BRATOVICH

If this article has raised any concerns for you, visit the Missing Persons Advocacy Network at www.mpan.com.au or call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14

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