Finding Hope with “Mayday Mayday”

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“Mayday Mayday” recounts the miraculous and unbelievable story of Tristan Sturrock, the man who suffered a near fatal fall, which left him paralyzed from the shoulders down.

But, not for long.

Sturrock, the writer, performer and co-director of the production was just 37 years old when he stumbled out of a bar on a mission. He found his way to his car and sped down the road in search for a bag of chips for his then five-month pregnant girlfriend, Katie. Unfortunately, instead of finding chips, he found himself with a broken C5, unable to move any limbs and faced with a life altering decision: to let his injury heal naturally with a halo brace or to endure an “intervention surgery,” which could either leave him healed or dead. So much for a happy medium.

“Mayday Mayday” is a one-man show, with Sturrock playing various characters (the

Tristan Sturrock in "Mayday Mayday"

Tristan Sturrock in “Mayday Mayday”

doctor, his sister, his mom and the surgeon). With each character he is able to perfect a convincing persona—his mother, nurturing and concerned, the doctors knowledgeable and direct and his whimsical sister, and even if she’s a bit absentminded.

The transitions between characters seem effortless, as Sturrock switches between professionals and family members with ease.

Though the play strikes a serious chord (the newly paralyzed man was expecting his first child, the story line had enough humor built in to make it feel more inspirational than heartbreaking.

A toy truck served as the ambulance and a toy helicopter transported him to the hospital, which gave the story a childlike element. His playful nature allowed audiences to laugh at his misfortunes rather than cry at his losses.

Perhaps the main reason why this production is such a success is because the audience is hearing it in first person; Sturrock wasn’t a person playing a character, he was telling his story.

His eyes burned with passion and hope, which the audience found enthralling—as he told his story. Sturrock has conquered the ability to look at the glass half full and he holds his glass while walking gracefully across various stages around the world.

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