Ac­tor re­turn­ing to stage of heart at­tack

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - HUGH COLLINS

For Mick Innes an on­stage heart at­tack is no fig­ure of speech.

Three years ago a sea­son of ill health be­gan for the Auck­lan­der when he suf­fered an at­tack while per­form­ing his solo show Zen Dog at the Base­ment Theatre.

‘‘It was about 10 min­utes be­fore the end of the show and I’ve seen a video of that par­tic­u­lar show and you can see it hap­pen… I didn’t know what it was,’’ Innes says.

‘‘Some peo­ple said they no­ticed it. I sort of look up at the ceil­ing and I look a wee bit lost and then I carry on.’’

De­spite feel­ing the im­pact the next day, the 62-year-old says he didn’t think it was any­thing se­ri­ous.

‘‘I was bug­gered but thought it was over-work.’’

Two days later Innes had trou­ble breath­ing and a pro­ducer he was work­ing with for a voiceover told him to see a doc­tor.

‘‘I had a blood test and that was about three o’clock. … by eight o’clock the doc­tor had rang me and said ‘there’s an am­bu­lance on its way, you’re hav­ing a heart at­tack’.’’

Around the same time Innes suf­fered two strokes. But now after a pe­riod of re­cov­ery the Grey Lynn res­i­dent is re­turn­ing to the very stage on which his ill-health be­gan.

Zen Dog: Sa­tori is an open and hon­est ex­pres­sion about Innes’ past.

A zen bud­dhist word for sud­den en­light­en­ment, ‘Sa­tori’ is a ref­er­ence to a turn­ing point Innes I just came to where he knew he had to change his way of think­ing in life.

In the show he re­flects on his his­tory which in­cludes sub­stance abuse, var­i­ous mar­riages, rehab and psych wards.

‘‘Where did

Nowhere,’’ he says.

‘‘I’ve lost a few friends .. peo­ple were dy­ing and I just de­cided I don’t want to be like that.’’

He’s now been sober for nearly 10 years and says the last cig­a­rette he had was while wait­ing for the it get me? am­bu­lance to col­lect him three years ago. A pro­fes­sional ac­tor since 1983, Innes now wants to in­spire peo­ple to run their own race in life. ’’I don’t want to be a ca­su­alty, I don’t want to be a has­been, I want to be some­body that’s still do­ing things.’’ Born in Christchurch in 1953, Innes spent 30 years liv­ing in var­i­ous parts of Aus­tralia where he starred in a num­ber of well known pro­duc­tions in­clud­ing Home and Away. Zen Dog: Sa­tori per­forms Novem­ber 1 to 5 at the Base­ment Theatre. Visit base­mentthe­atre.co.nz for more in­for­ma­tion.

HUGH COLLINS / FAIR­FAX NZ

Mick Innes out­side his Grey Lynn home.

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