Yours sincerely: Natalie Medlock

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9 November 2021

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Actor, director and writer Natalie Medlock pens a tear-stained open letter to her future audience.

I’m crying as I write this. It’s nothing to do with the task or the content, it’s just because that’s what I do best as a depressive.

I could be an Olympic gold crier, or probably have a Guinness World Record for most snot produced. The fact that I’m crying is only relevant in terms of expressing how I feel pain and create. My mandate? Turn poison into medicine. Not that I’m poison, but the darkness in my every cell may be.

But I am grateful, because I can do just that through my work. I can put fingers to keyboard to reach out, be honest, with zero BS and hopefully connect with you.

That is my artistic raison d’être. Moreover, the only sense I can find in existing. I want us all to feel less alone by communicating. So hi. I hope you’re okay. And if you’re not, that’s okay too.

I do not want children, but I do spawn creative babies. Most of which live on a hard drive, never to see the light of day. But after years and years of labour, The Pact and There Is No I in Threesome have made it out of my proverbial vagina.

There Is No I in Threesome premieres at the New Zealand International Film Festival in November.

The Pact is a six-part series about euthanasia, family, hope and connection. A laugh-out-loud tear-jerker. It does not preach or take a stance on the issue, but draws out empathy and conversation.

The topic of euthanasia took seed in my life and work because I was (and sometimes still entertain the idea) suicidal and checking out my options. I was and am still too cowardly to jump off a bridge, so I joined an online euthanasia group, where members openly discussed very grey legal areas. Through the group, I came across a humorous chap (a former doctor) who dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and made YouTube videos. He made me laugh harder than I had in a while, and I’m excellent at laughing – granted mostly at dark perversity.

The Pact is streaming now on TVNZ On Demand.

Connecting with the people in the group and knowing there were peaceful options to depart this mortal coil gave me such relief. I can only describe it as releasing a pressure valve. It idea of choosing to destigmatised the end my life and made me feel less trapped, less alone and then able to carry on.

As for my position on euthanasia, I guess I’m pro, but the complexities of implementing it are a minefield. What I can say is, if it were me in unbearable pain, physical or psychological, I would want that option.

If you watch The Pact, I hope that, even in a small way, I have had a human connection with you (along with my genius co-creator Harry McNaughton, the cast and crew).

Speaking of human connection, the film There Is No I in Threesome is about polyamory, love and vulnerability. Again, this film does not judge or make conclusions about open relationships of all variations, or relationships at all.

Ollie Lucks, the co-creator and director, put his heart on the line with this work. And his vulnerability shines through. We became incredibly close while lovingly nurturing this work. The only way it could have become the film it is was through our mutual, honest vulnerability and shared sense of humour.

As for the question as to whether I believe open relationships can work or if it’s playing with fire and asking to get burnt, is not for me to say. Nor do I have an opinion. Different strokes for different folks, and who knows what kind of stroking folk I am. Probably, after that sentence, the kind that will be cancelled.

FYI, I’ve stopped crying due to my passion to speak to you. I wish we could all be pen pals.

On a genuinely unplanned segue, “speaking” to you, I thought of the fact that the film was shot on iPhones. Often a barrier in connection. During the shoot, it certainly became one between myself and Ollie as he disappeared behind the camera. So if there’s a didactic part of the film that for me made a statement, it would be that.

Phones, scrolling and disappearing down clickbait wormholes takes you away from connection.

Saying that, if my friends didn’t send me daily videos of cute hilarious animals or some kind of epic fail, it’d make my day less joyous.

I guess to summarise this letter (letter is the closest format for this nonsense): Would you choose your partner or your iPhone? I’ll leave you with that.

Me? Hmm… Depends if he’s being a dick or not that day.

Much love, Natalie.

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