Sam is unstoppable
‘‘NOT being able to get a sentence out is not a life sentence,’’ Sam Brooks says.
It is a mantra the awardwinning playwright lives and breathes, because he has always had a stutter.
The Newton resident says the speech impediment became prominent when he was about 5 or 6.
The problem is not situational – it stays the same whether he is at a crowded show or chatting with friends.
‘‘To be honest, it’s kind of universal across the board. I don’t really get nervous or pressured or anything, I’m generally a pretty calm person,’’ the 23-year-old says.
Brooks says there are few situations he has to speak publicly in as a playwright.
‘‘But if I’m ever talking in a group I don’t get particularly insecure about it.
‘‘What I say is generally worth listening to, and people will wait until I finish what I’m saying.’’
He grew up reading books, watching television shows and playing video games but it was the impact words can have on people that drove his passion for writing.
‘‘I read, and still read, lots of books and became really fascinated in the visceral responses that a few carefully chosen words can draw out of people – whether it’s laughter or crying or anywhere on the spectrum in between.
‘‘It’s also the form of expression that an audience is simultaneously comfortable with and the most uncomfortable,’’ he says.
Brooks has won back-toback awards in the Playmarket Playwrights b4 25 competition, been a finalist for the ADAM Award and this year received a highly commended prize for his play Riding in Cars with (Mostly Straight) Boys.
Six of his plays have been performed at The Basement theatre and one at TAPAC in Western Springs. He reviews stage shows almost every week and has worked behind the scenes for some of Auckland’s most respected theatre groups.
Brooks is writing a play called The 21st Narcissus and hopes to do a solo show about stuttering for next year’s Fringe Festival.
He says it might be time to take a breather.
‘‘The joke about
me putting on 20 plays a year is a thing I’m aware of, and I’ve more or less been working for two years without a break so it might be time to recharge, in terms of my personal life and just creatively.’’
Brooks is unaware of others in the industry who stutter but encourages those who do to persevere.
‘‘If you’re committed, you’re nice and you’re good at what you do, it’s an industry that will welcome you with open arms,’’ he says.
‘‘Don’t let it stop you from doing what you want to do.’’
Brooks’ latest production, Wine Lips, is on at The Basement from August 26 to 30 and stars Nic Sampson and Chelsea McEwan Millar.
Go to aucklandcityharbournews.co.nz and click Latest Edition to watch a clip of Sam Brooks’ previous stage work. Centre stage: Sam Brooks, centre, is directing his own show Wine Lips, which stars Nic Sampson, left, and Chelsea McEwan Millar.