The eclectic selection of letters and people revealed in this swiftly moving piece is enlightening on so many levels: it not only exposes the various levels of mental stress and heartache of the people whose suicide letters are read, but also the social behaviors and attitudes of those around them that played a part in that tragedy…or, in some cases, made no difference at all.
Kudos to creator Stan Zimmerman for wisely choosing letters from a wide variety of people, showing that suicide can be seen as the only escape in the eyes of the old as well as the young, the unknown as well as the famous, the common and the uncommon. It’s eye-opening and, while sobering, never becomes maudlin—though Brendan Robinson’s gut-wrenching portrayal of a bullied teen does rip your heart out.
Yet, in a master stroke, the piece ends on an unexpected and welcome uplifting note of its own: that we can be better; that we can lessen this epidemic; that we can work together, wiser, with more love to leave future generations with less reasons to ever think to write such notes. This is what the best of transformative theater does.