Out of crisis comes creativity
Geoff Saunders was recovering from testicular cancer when he wrote the stage play of HANGING IN THERE in 2003. Two years later, the play was produced at the Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa, directed by Darren Scott. The production played to good audiences and received great reviews, with a lot of attention being paid to the message of the play – i.e. that the early detection and treatment of testicular cancer saves lives! The production, slightly re-cast, appeared at the Criterion Theatre, Coventry, in the following year and received, possibly, a greater level of attention; memorably, the second half of one performance was delayed because an audience member was in the theatre toilets checking his testicles!
In 2014 Darren approached Geoff Saunders with the idea of making a film of the play: the result of that fateful phone call is HANGING IN THERE – the movie! Made on the tiniest of budgets by film-making standards – much of the cash coming from generous donors to a Kickstarter campaign – the film has benefited from the goodwill of many people. Some were willing to spend a day in a chilly football stadium or two entire nights in a pub (without real beer) as extras; some organised those locations and others (such as hospital consulting rooms and training wards, a GP’s surgery and a wine bar); some worked on music, editing, behind-the-scenes photography, and much more, and all for no payment. Everyone gave their time and commitment to the project because they believed in the story and the message and wanted to be part of a great team bringing them to fruition. With Darren at the helm, this team of over 250 people has pulled off a coup in movie terms – HANGING IN THERE: ‘The movie that could save your life’.
Jack Jackson works in computers and likes football, golf and Tuesday evenings in the pub with his mates. He’s married to Biology teacher Anna. They live a life that is quiet and ordinary and they are very, very happy.
Then Jack discovers a lump on his testicle. Within a few days he is hearing the word ‘Cancer’ from a consultant and his once-cosy life is in turmoil. As he goes through the process of diagnosis, treatment and recovery, his relationships with Anna and his two best friends become increasingly difficult. Jack finds himself feeling isolated and incomplete; HANGING IN THERE tells the story of his difficult journey to re-connection and wholeness.