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Existential Depression

May 1, 2013


I recently had the pleasure of attending a performance of Kill Me as produced by The Visceral Company. This is the first show at their new home The Lex. The venue was perfect for this performance. While the stage is larger, Dan Spurgeon (Director) was able to generate a feeling of inclusiveness through his use of space. I look forward to seeing how The Visceral Company uses the dynamics of this new stage to explore their dark faire.

Onto Kill Me, a dark story about depression and how it affects those around us. The story opens with a retelling of events that occurred in the past. Namely a car crash that left Cam (Natasha Charles Parker) in a coma for an extended period of time. The mechanism of retelling is unsettling at first, but later plays into the theme of the story itself. The Three leads Cam, Wendy (Angela Stern), and Grace (Jonica Patella), speak in a sing-songy round with overlapping lines. As the lines of one ends they are picked up by another with a slight over lap. Later this has the effect of not knowing if one is finishing the thoughts of another, if they share the same thoughts, or if the first is echoing the thoughts of the second before the second even has them. It is very reminiscent of the Witches from Macbeth. Another element is the Maidan,  Warrior, Mother with each leading lady filling a role. I don’t want to spoil which roles each fill however.KILL ME 2

The story centers around Cam who is tormented by The Miseries, Paronia (Yanna Fabian), Dread (Karen Nicole), Angst (Lamont Webb), and Despair (Alexander Price). Cam picked up these not so friendly associates when she was in a coma. As the story progresses Grace and Wendy become tormented as well. The whole story deals with the existential nature of depression and suffering. Did Cam really bring back The Miseries from purgatory, or is she in need of professional treatment? If she is only suffering from some psychosis then why have her sister and lover begun to feel this disconnecting existential torment from The Miseries as well? Kill Me dives deep into the nature of the human mind, in a story that is worthy of a paper on psychology. Every metaphor can be seen from a myriad of ways, and can lead to even more questions. Questions that appear hard even to articulate. Kill Me is the type of Play where five  people can witness it and come up with six different take aways. You could spend hours debating the meaning with your friends only to end up changing everyone’s mind and still everyone winds up with a new interpretation and still in disagreement.

Individually every performance was spot on. Wendy-the distant sister who doesn’t know how to show her feelings, Grace-lover whose heart is breaking to the point of resentment. Cam!? She starts out innocent, and spirals into depression very nicely. It is easy to portray depression, the pain and suffering in a mawkish tone. A little too over done. Natasha didn’t go this route though. She looked and sounded in pain. Even her smallest gestures shifted ever slowly through her performance. She oversold nothing, by the end you wanted to find help for this poor soul. My only misgiving about the entire performance was the chemistry. Individually each character read well, their interactions however were slightly off. All three leading ladies are very talented and I’m confident this to will fade away like Cam’s sanity.

I enjoy seeing a performance that makes me think. Even more so when days after I am still having trouble putting my finger on just every thought evoked. My cerebral enjoyment aside this play lives up to the name of the playhouse. It was Visceral!

Kill Me 1

Kill Me (written by Scott T. Barsotti, directed by Dan Spurgeon) runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm through June 2nd, with Sunday performances at 3pm.

For more information please visit:

All photos credit: The Visceral Company

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