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June 24, 2016
What I liked
A father and son get into a debate about which person deserves to kill himself more, so they do what anyone from Hollywood might do… arrange a live broadcast show with a panel of judges (both engrossed and disturbed by the whole situation) to decide which of them is the worse human being and should do away with their existence. I really like the premise of Suicide Live, but then again…I tend to like most things built upon foundations of dark humor. As such, the play begins with many fumbled attempts by the son to kill himself with a firearm too long for him to reach the trigger of while pointing the barrel in his mouth. A couple of attempted suicide notes recorded off his phone while doing this quickly make the viewer aware of how ridiculous the scene, and by extension the overall tone of the play is. I sat engrossed the whole time, wondering where the story was going and what would become of these characters. A few of the performances rely heavily on farse, but in the best possible way. The overly wholesome and religious vacuum salesmen (roped into the show by promises of large sums of money to a charity of his choosing) has some of the best moments, simply because of how vanilla his reactions are to the things done by these terrible people.
What I didn't like
My main criticism of the show would be that there were a few too many times that actors stumbled slightly on lines, to the point that it was noticeable and occasionally distracting. I did see an earlier performance of the play though, so perhaps they made the reads a little more solid in later shows. Another slight confusion was location. Every so often, you would forget that they were supposed to be by the pool, or on set, or in another room, as all sets were a shared location differentiated mostly by the lighting. This is definitely a play that would be better served by a bigger stage, one where transitions to other places could be made with a bit more clarity. In any case, these things didn’t take away too much from the experience as I was still able to enjoy and follow the story just fine.
My overall impression
Suicide Live is a great concept, with fun performances and a lot of energy from everyone involved. It has some very fun moments, my favorites being the failed attempts at self-annihilation by the son. His fumbled efforts constantly escalate into a mundane frustration at not being able to even get his own death right (which gives him more cause to want to kill himself). This play is about failure…it’s about people who’ve failed at their own lives (and failed at other people’s lives) trying to take the easy way out. But…it’s also about trying to find at least some sort of meaning and purpose out of failure… if even only just a little.
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