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performer Rod Gibson, affectionately known as the ''Poet productions in a contest dubbed Hot Shorts. Gibson's ability Lorikeet of the north coast'', sought solace in his art. He quoted to extract riotous laughter from his audiences left them no other Oscar Wilde to those dear to him: ''My wallpaper and I are option but to vote him to a comprehensive victory. fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go.'' But it was The Fine Art of Kissing the Ground that Gibson The gig he was referring to was his funeral at the St Mary's regarded as his masterpiece. He described the play, which Catholic Church in the northern rivers town of Maclean on 18 the Baywrite Theatre Company performed in the northern rivers July 2011; the wallpaper was a cancer that had spent years region, as a ''roller-coaster ride of life in a large psychiatric slowly consuming his body. hospital … where they use to incarcerate people for a few Gibson lived two distinct lives; the first 23 years were years''. relatively normal, albeit for a draft-dodging, long-haired, With it, Gibson etched the Theatre of the Absurd into the flares-wearing hippie in the years leading up to an LSD-assisted minds of those who experienced his unique take on the human psychosis in 1974. condition. He once recalled the day he stepped into his schizophrenic Rod Gibson is survived by Penny, sisters Mary Jane and universe. ''I thought 'Big Brother' was 12 Negro junkies who Janet, son Ben Sullivan and granddaughter Lilyana. ruled the world psychically from New York City. They had Geoff Helisma agents in Australia who grouped together in covens and formed this sort of psychic search beam. They scanned the Reproduced with permission from The Sydney Morning Herald suburbs, I was living in Sydney at the time, and I could feel this psychic search beam coming. It was pretty bizarre stuff. It 1969 could only read your mind if you had your mouth open. I could Paul Smith passed away in 2009 after suffering a heart attack. feel it coming so I closed my mouth as it passed.'' Roderick Hugh Gibson was born in Mosman on November 1969 30, 1950, the son of Dr Alan Gibson and his wife, Barbara. Dr Paul Koenig died suddenly on 17 January 2012. He went to St Aloysius' College, then started but didn't complete an arts degree at the University of NSW. 1986 He moved to Byron Bay, the NSW north coast's creative centre, in 1986, where he met his partner, Penny Chapman. Chris Bishops died on 11 August 2011 from a brain tumor. Polar opposites in personality, they shared a love of alcohol – Chris is survived by his wife, young son and brother Jeremy he was the hand and she was the glove. In Gibson, Chapman (SAC 1989). found ''someone who hears me; he was the one human being 1997 I've ever known who I felt absolutely allowed me to be who I am''. Chapman kicked the alcoholic demon out of her life two Kieran Doran died on 12 July 2011 years after they met; Gibson defeated his nemesis a decade later. 2010 These years, however, were prolific for Gibson; his muse, Thomas ‘Tom’ Doolan (SAC 2010) schizophrenia, provided inspiration and insight that enabled Tom Doolan tragically him to see and express life in ways others could not – what he passed away on 27 called ''perennial issues''. He wrote poetry, plays, short stories, November 2011 while novels and film scripts. Sixteen of his plays were produced undertaking a Gap in the region. He was shortlisted for the Angus & Robertson Year in the UK. Bookworld Prize in 1993 and the Off the Page short play Tom started his competition in 1995. schooling at Sacred In 1994, Gibson won the Jean Stone Poetry Award; in Heart Pymble and 1999, he won the Nicholas Shand Memorial Poetry Slam moved to St Aloysius (Byron Bay); and he won the Schizophrenia Fellowship of to commence Year 4 NSW's annual poetry competition five years in a row. in 2002. The nine One of his plays, The Beatification of Mary McMullen, was years he spent at Aloys made into a short film and, in May 2000, Northern Rivers shaped many of the Performing Arts choreographed one of his longer poems as a qualities we saw in the dance piece. man who graduated in In June 2005, Gibson returned to Byron Bay (from the Class of 2010. Maclean, where he had lived since 2002) to perform his Tom was a 15-minute ''dark tragicomedy'', The White Feather, at the much-loved brother and son, an adored friend and a constant town's community centre theatre. Over four nights, Gibson source of inspiration to the people he encountered. He had a performed his piece - inhabiting the character of Myles, a manner about him that was always welcoming; he was fun to Cinzano-drinking advertising executive who descends into a be around. The camera loved him; photos always effortlessly maudlin state of self-loathing and regret over the life choices he captured that genuine smile of his. He was uniquely self-aware, made in the 1960s – in competition against 11 other theatrical self-assured and proud of himself; but never boastful or St Aloysius’ College A Jesuit School for Boys _ Founded 1879 a l oy s i a d / page 77


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