Dion Arnold finds comedy in euthanasia for My Grandmother’s M.A.I.D. at Fringe

Dion Arnold. Picture: Bruce Hunt d490321c
Dion Arnold. Picture: Bruce Hunt d490321c

EUTHANASIA is not a topic that usually gets the big laughs.

Go to Dion Arnold’s one-man Fringe show, however, and you might leave thinking it’s ‘dead’ funny.

In the comedy routine, the 26-year-old Canadian shares the tale of his grandmother’s passing through a medically assisted death.

He said it has been the most rewarding and fulfilling work of his 10-year career.

“She was a very funny woman and made it really easy for me to want to tell this story and it’s a great honour to tell it,” Arnold said.

“Everyone is dying, but we don’t like talking about it.

“I’ve had a lot of people come up to me after the show and thank me, saying: ‘I’m actually a lot more comfortable talking about death now.’”

Arnold’s grandmother led an active life until a sudden condition left her unable to control her physical body.

Determined not to live as an invalid, she made the request for the MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying) Program.

“My family and I were surprised she wanted to do this; we didn’t know it was a ‘thing’ or whether it was legal and did all the research we could to better understand it and find out if we could go through this for her,” Arnold said.

“When we asked her if she wanted people to know that she had chosen the program she just stared at us blankly like we were morons and said: ‘Yeah, of course I want people to know, why else would I be doing this? I want to bring awareness to other people and let them know this is available’.

“Her response shocked us but at the same time it was hilarious.

“I kept trying to be sad throughout the process, but it wasn’t working because there was my grandmother’s smiling face – she was so happy to leave that I just had to laugh.”

Arnold said one of the great joys of performing the show was remaining connected to his grandmother.

The MAID program, available in Canada to terminally ill patients near death, is not accessible in Australia.

 

THE ESSENTIALS

What: My Grandmother’s M.A.I.D

When: February 1-4, 6, 8-9

Where: Studio Startup Basement

Tickets: www.fringeworld.com.au