Three tableaus feature in this story of three generations of women who are susceptible to crushing depression, with the third generation – Bonnie- determined to break the cycle. She is haunted by the demons of a family home full of bleak memories. Despite its achingly sad subject matter, the play is a beautifully produced work with fantastic performances all round.
The triptych begins with Carol and her husband, when she is home from hospital, in a fragile state of mind. The middle scene in the triptych features Carol’s daughter Annie, the final one contains scenes from Carol’s granddaughter Bonnie’s life. The scenes from the three women’s lives run concurrently with conversations ebbing and flowing to synchronise the dialogue at particular moments, almost like singers harmonising. It was timed perfectly with Carol, Annie and Bonnie’s anguish intersecting while they all struggled with depression on their own terms.
Andrea Dimitriadis is perhaps the most desperate as Anna, whose mother’s encouragement has cursed her with a desire for her daughter to live big. She struggles with addiction and teeters on the edge before she becoming pregnant, though Bonnie’s birth is far from a cure-all.
You would think the characters would have trouble becoming fully realised with the stories bouncing from one narrative to another and often running simultaneously, yet each character is fleshed out nicely to get a real sense of each of the women. The production is impeccable with a background set that provides a home to all three women, giving the stories a sense of continuity. The action took place mostly in the foreground, the three women vying for the audiences attention.
As much as it is a dark story about the real and dangerous perils of depression, Anatomy of a Suicide is well executed and has many lighter moments, brief relief from the depths of despair that each woman finds herself in. Some people will struggle with the nature vs nurture debate that the story provokes, though science does support the genetic link that mental illness travels.
Ending this weekend, if you haven’t seen it yet don’t miss this one.
Anatomy of A Suicide is presented by Sugary Rum Productions and is on until 6 July, for more information and tickets see: https://www.redlineproductions.com.au/anatomy-of-a-suicide
Director: Shane Anthony
Featuring: Danielle Catanzariti, Jack Crumlin, Andrea Demetriades, Teale Howie, Charles Mayer, Guy O’Grady, Natalie Saleeba, Anna Samson, Kate Skinner, Contessa Treffone
Above image by Kate Williams