Friday, July 23, 2010

Reflections on the play "Suicide, Incorporated"

Recently, I attended a performance of "Suicide, Incorporated" at The Gift Theatre, Chicago.  I was drawn to this production because of the subject matter, the cast, and a compelling review by Tribune theatre critic Chris Jones

Most of the play is set in the offices of a business which sells the following service: helping people to write their suicide notes. It opens as a satire/dark comedy, but as the story unfolds we also see how suicide has touched the lives of multiple characters in deeper and complex ways.

As a person that cares about mental health education and dialogue, I was both eager and apprehensive to see how the play would address suicide.  I felt eager because I know that talking about suicide -- bringing to light something that is often kept hidden -- can be hugely beneficial.  But I also felt apprehensive, wondering what kind of tone the show would take.  I wondered, would it make too light of a serious issue?  Would it be accurate, sensitive -- and entertaining?  Well, in my opinion, the show succeeded and was beautifully done. I recommend it.  It did entertain, but it also went deeper and didn't offer easy answers to the questions it raised.

Of course, there isn't just one kind of story related to suicide.  Suicide affects people from all over and from all walks of life, and there is more than one story to be told.  Coming up this fall (October 2010), we at Erasing the Distance will be creating a custom performance for the Asian American Suicide Prevention Initiative.  

We are currently seeking stories from Asian Americans who have been impacted by suicide, lost a loved one to suicide, or have personally experienced suicidal thoughts or attempts.  If you are interested in sharing your story for the Asian American Suicide Prevention Initiative, the first step is to contact Brighid O'Shaughnessy at brighid (at)  (Because of the timing of this new custom show, we will be collecting stories outside of the new story-sharing days described in our last post!)

Overall with this play, I felt that although there weren't easy answers, there was something hopeful and powerful about authentically asking the questions.

Wishing you a safe & healthy day,

~ Oriana at Erasing the Distance 

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