Old Fitz Theatre
August 19, 2017
Sarah Kane’s 4:48 Psychosis is essentially a 60 minute long stare into the abyss of darkness and struggle of mental illness, walking the thin line between life and death detailing states en route to suicide.
Succinctly distilling the imprisoning and isolating nature of clinical depression. Containing no characters, stage directions or specified settings, the 24 section of Psychosis 4:48 are a theatrical response to the pain of living.
Kane, who established herself an a playwright known for her poetic intensity and pared down language, herself dealt with issues of serious mental illness and committed suicide at 28 shortly after completing this work. In her final note to her agent, she wrote “Do with it what you will, just remember – writing it killed me”. It is not further wondrous that the themes of anger, desperation, humour of the darker kind, redemptive love, sexual desire, pain, torture – both physical and psychological – and death are conveyed in an authentic manner and pervade the bitter and lyrical meditation on the nature of clinical depression.
Director Anthony Skuse approaches the play like a musical score, with Workhorse Theatre Company’s incarnation of Psychosis 4:48 relying heavily on precise rhythmic, cyclic thematic patterning.
The extensive and expert use is made of lighting, which is employed to effectively change the dynamic of the space, helps amplify the formless nature of the dialogues and blurs the line between reality and illusion, actual and internal exchanges and thereby blends it into a single dissolving consciousness carried by a triumvirate of performers, i.e. Lucy Heernan, Ella Prince and Zoe Trilsbach-Harrison, who are able to convey a credible shared view into the mental and emotional environment of the play, reducing unnecessary movements and eliminating boundaries.
Another play in the canon of Red Line Production’s, which aligns with their simple mission statement to bring brave, fearless and dangerously real shows to an audience with simplicity and honesty.
If you ever find yourself in Sydney, you would want to make sure to pay a visit to the Old Fitz Theatre – a place that has been integral to many generations of Australian theatre makers.
Photos courtesy of Red Line Productions