Connection Lost Spotlights National Suicide Prevention Month

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Brick at the Blue Star Arts Complex hosts Connection Lost on September 15th and 16th. (Courtesy of Stephan Gaeth)
  • Brick at the Blue Star Arts Complex hosts Connection Lost on September 15th and 16th. (Courtesy of Stephan Gaeth)

A sensitive look into a disquieting social issue, Connection Lost is a theatrical dance experience that pays homage to National Suicide Prevention Month in September, a span of several weeks dedicated to the collective efforts of citizens, organizations and professionals to reduce suicides — the third leading cause of death among young people according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Hosted at Brick at Blue Star Arts Complex, the production is the collaborative project of Stephan Gaeth, the proprietor of the Uptown Studio in Beacon Hill, and Tara Wright, a counselor and artist working in San Antonio. 

“We’ve both lost people,” explained Gaeth during an interview with the San Antonio Current. “In dealing with the subject matter, [Tara and I] felt a calling to perform … She wrote a lot of the dialogue, and I’m doing the movement.” 

Like a number of Gaeth’s past projects in the local theater scene — which includes Asking for Changea poignant rendition of urban homelessness, and Trash Tree, a post-apocalyptic commentary on environmental degradation at its worst — Connection Lost is imbued with a very nuanced understanding of the relationships between human beings, as well as the world at large. According to Gaeth, whereas Asking for Change explored the alienation of the homeless from their support systems and Trash Tree explored humanity's alienation from the Earth, Connection Lost reimagines the erosion of one's social relationships in different stages of community, culminating into the ultimate disconnection from oneself. 

Connection Lost features a cast of Sam Mandelbaum, Katherine Roberts, Sophie Bolles and Billy Herrick. (Courtesy of Stephan Gaeth)
  • Connection Lost features a cast of Sam Mandelbaum, Katherine Roberts, Sophie Bolles and Billy Herrick. (Courtesy of Stephan Gaeth)
In the process of illustrating this harrowing emotional decline, Connection Lost integrates a scripted narrative with choreographed motion and improvised moments of audience interaction, allowing spectators to engage with the characters directly. Although the performance as a whole is cemented in a storyline, these unexpected uses of improvisation lend "a wonderful organic feeling to the show," as Gaeth explained. 

The performance also incorporates the music of Jaime Ramirez and Femina-X, two San Antonio-based outfits that contribute different levels of emotive power to the show’s rendering of the ultimate disconnection.

“Art holds a place in society to speak out and bring things to light," the co-director added. "Suicide takes a lot of lives every year. People need to know they can talk about it, that there are safe spaces, that there are others who will listen.”

Connection Lost shows at Brick at Blue Star Arts Complex on Thursday, September 15 at 8pm and Friday, September 16 at 11pm. Tickets ranging from $10 to $12 are available for purchase now.  

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