‘Psychosis’ haunts audiences with topic of suicide and depression

Nicole D. Zuelke, Staff Writer

“4.48 Psychosis” is a subjective theater presentation of depression and the haunting inner dialogue of a severely disturbed woman as she battles feelings of suicide, isolation, dependency, relationships and love.

The patient, played by Nicole Alexis Sully, delivers a bone chilling performance of despair in her character’s final desperate weeks. Living with a depressed mind’s desires certainly creates extreme inner and outer conflict, which was brilliantly brought from script to stage by Sully.

“4.48 Psychosis” is s a play by British playwright Sarah Kane who herself also suffered from severe clinical depression. This was her last work before committing suicide in 1999. A year and a half later, the play had its first performance at the Royal Courts Jerwood Theatre in London.

Not in conventional theatrical form, “4.48 Psychosis” is composed of 24 different sections which have no specified setting, stage directions or characters, leaving space for a director’s own authenticity. Kane had developed an abstract, almost poetic language while writing a previous play called “Crave,” which was transferred over into “4.48 Psychosis” as well. The style brought to life contributes to just how completely terrifying living with this illness would be.

The name was derived from 4:48 am which was the time Kane often woke from her depressed state.

“4.48 Psychosis” is a long monologue with no specified setting, characters, or stage directions so all of that had to be sussed out.  I settled on the idea that this clinically depressed patient was being watched by an army of doctors, in the cold, sterile, industrial setting they put her in. I love Sarah Kane’s language and the musicality of it worked well with the echoing of the other voices I added as characters in her head. Sarah Kane did end her life in much the same way as I chose to end the piece. “The greatest challenge in bringing the script to life was making all of these extra steps work in the short amount of time we had!” says Director Annie Hinton. “Well work it did!

This is a perfect example of why The Mesa College Theatre Companies students successfully transfer to some of the top university’s including Harvard’s Acting Program and go on to preform in Broadway and off Broadway musicals and plays, independent films, Hollywood roles, reality television shows, and local theatre in and around San Diego. While others have started production companies and even have touring comedy acts.”

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