ANATOMY OF A SUICIDE, Royal Court Theatre 2017 – Hattie Moran, Kate OFlynn and Adelle Leonce © Stephen Cummiskey

ANATOMY OF A SUICIDE

Original titleANATOMY OF A SUICIDE
CategoryPlay
AgegroupAdults
Cast10 total (6 F and 4 M)
Variable cast sizeNo
RepresentationNordic representation
LanguagesSwedish, English

The lives of the women of 3 generations played out simultaneously, the stories completely intervowen:

Story-line A: takes place in the early 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s and is about Carol – a woman haunted by depression, only refraining from committing suicide because of her child, Anna. When Anna is 16, she throws herself in front of a train (like her namesake, Anna Karenina…!).

Story-line B: probably takes place in the 1990’s, 2000’s and 2010’s and is about Anna as a grown-up. In the beginning a heroin-addict, moving through rehab to engage in a love relationship with a documentary filmmaker (Jamie). Eventually moving into her parents’ house and having a child (a girl) herself. Feeling the presence of her mother’s ghost – haunted by her suicide. Eventually committing suicide herself (at the very end of the play).

Story-line C: takes place sometime in the near future (2020’s-2030’s?): Anna’s daughter, Bonnie, now a grown-up hospital nurse, meeting lesbian fisher-woman, Jo, and becoming her lover. Bonnie leaves her and fights to kill the ghosts of the past – insisting on living in her house where her mother and grandmother lived their unhappy lives. Bonnie even gets sterilized – in order to make sure the inbred line of unhappiness is discontinued! In the end Bonnie sells the house to another woman with a small child.

A dark and haunting masterpiece of playwriting from one of the most interesting writers of English theatre! The play has many funny dialogues and reeks with humanity! All characters – even the most fallible ones – are treated with great understanding and unsentimental love.

The structure of the play could have been in the way for the content: But Birch’s skills as a writer makes it a strong vehicle for what she wants to tell: A story about the pain of life that you can try to run away from, but which can sometimes be imprinted in our dna.