Play explores the sad facts of mental health

March 23, 2012

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Four of Murdoch’s best English and Creative Arts graduates and final year students will soon be performing in a poetic, funny and haunting play at the Subiaco Arts Centre.

Murdoch’s Academic Chair of English and Creative Arts, Dr David Moody, said this was the first time the graduate theatre company Mood had taken one of its performances to a professional stage.

“Mood was established one year ago to provide extra training and experience for our graduates and advanced students,” Dr Moody said.

The play, 4.48 Psychosis, was the last play written by Sarah Kane before she lost her battle with severe depression.

Hailed as “the most beautiful suicide note in history”, the play investigates the meaning of existence at the beginning of the 21st century.

“The play explores issues of mental health, love and identity,” Dr Moody said.

“The production forms the basis of my current research project.

“I’m researching the ethical responsibility of the theatre director when directing plays dealing with sensitive and traumatic material – such as mental illness and suicide.

“What is the fine line between exploitation and sensationalism and honesty and exposure?

“In this play Sarah Kane seems to be predicting her own death by suicide – do I as a director have a responsibility to deal with the material sensitively and faithfully?”

Sarah Kane died at the age of 28 in 1999, when, two days after taking an overdose of prescription drugs, she committed suicide by hanging herself by her shoelaces in a bathroom at London’s King’s College Hospital. However, she has left a lasting legacy as one of the most infamous and revolutionary playwrights in modern British history.

4.48 Psychosis opens at the Subiaco Arts Centre on April 3 and runs until April 14.  The play is directed by Dr Moody and features Mikala Westall, Steve Capener, Harry Platt and Holly Pritchard. Tickets are available from Bocs Ticketing or by calling (08) 9484 1133.

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