Theatre Mirror Reviews - "4:48 Psychosis"

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entire contents copyright 2010 by Tony Annicone

"4:48 PSYCHOSIS''

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Gamm Theatre's third show of their 25th season is the Rhode Island premiere of "4:48 Psychosis", a drama by British playwright Sarah Kane. It is written from the point of view of someone with severe clinical depression, a disorder from which Kane suffered, and contemplation and discussion of suicide is prominent; Kane killed herself after she wrote the play and before it was performed. The title of the play derives from the time, 4:48 a.m., when Kane, in her depressed state often awoke to a brief period of clarity amid her despair for an hour and twelve minutes which is the length of this show.This cutting edge play about the self-imprisoning nature of depression is performed by Casey Seymour Kim. She delivers a tour-de-force performance as this tortured creature in a show that is captivatingly raw and poetic in its intensity. Casey receives a very well deserved standing ovation at her brilliant portrayal at the close of the show.

Director Tony Estrella fleshes out the main character so the audience understands and empathizes with her plight. He keeps the show taut with tension and blocks the two character show outstandingly. The lighting cues by Matthew Terry which depict the patient's mood changes are terrific. Stage manager Stef Work handles all the lighting and video cues beautifully and the costume design is by David T. Howard. A video by Mike Jones is shown on the back wall of the set and was shot in black and white and depicts the patient's mind. A hospital bed is center stage and on a platform behind it on stage right is an office set for her doctor. Some of the heartrending dialogue where she utters phrases like "I am sad. I feel that the future is hopeless and that things cannot improve." "I am bored and dissatisfied with everything." are difficult to listen to. The show is a strong expression of intense suffering and is full of blunt confessions of anguish. The psychosis is a place of unbearable cold and the poetic nature of Sarah Kane's writing skills still impress current day audiences with its power to transfix your attention to her every nuance. This traumatic story is superbly delivered by Casey and as her doctor, Tom Gleadow who continually struggles to break through her deep seated depression to try to bring her back to the land of the living before she is lost forever in the darkness she has created for herself. Casey usually plays comic roles but this role shows off her excellent skills as a dramatic actress. Tony explains that Ms Kane pushed at the boundaries of the dramatically acceptable; and, in doing so, left, the theater a richer, more complex and powerful art form in her brutally honest, stripped-down script. Bravo to GAMM for once again delivering an outstanding work of drama in RI which leaves the audience awestruck at the impact it makes on them.

"4:48 Psychosis" (14 January - 7 February)
GAMM THEATRE
172 Exchange Street, PAWTUCKET RI
1 (401) 723-4266

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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