Fringe Review: 41 Seconds

41 Seconds is a play about the aftermath of suicide bought to the stage by Talk Out Loud. Their aim is the prevention of suicide for young people under 30 by using a number of positive development tools. The name 41 seconds is derived from each moment in time people are left behind after a suicide – in other words every 40 seconds someone commits suicide, however every 41 seconds people are left behind to brunt the fallout. Therefore, the play is focussed on the mental anguish felt by the people who have been touched by the person who has taken their life.

The stage is stark of props, special lightning or fancy costumes, which is all designed to maintain the audiences total focus on the visceral and clever dialogue. We start by an argument about shoes, but as the play progresses it has a revealingly deeper metaphoric sentiment. This to and fro between Father and his Son, Nick, results in unwanted animosity built up from the frustration caused by simple miscommunication and misunderstanding. It quickly shifts to the Nicks suicide on the day of his sister’s wedding. Then the fallout begins.

The pouring of deep harrowing anguish, guilt, sorrow, blame and argument consumes each key person that touched Nick in his short life on earth. Each of the fifteen characters had slightly different aspects on why Nick took his life and therefore who was to blame. The search for meaning perpetuated the spill of raw energy all aimed at trying to fathom the finality of Nicks decision. Interspersed with each character’s search Nick made an appearance in a ghostly way to try and explain why he left. But they couldn’t hear, just as it was when he was alive.

A remarkable actor called Denise Alexander plays Nicks Mum. Both the Producer (Mary Galouzis) and Denise have experienced first hand the shattering deep pain of losing someone close. This simply highlights not only shows lived experience and energy can be used in a positive way but the shear courage both people demonstrate in facing the fragility of mortality is to be applauded and highly commended.

While I found this play quite confronting and at times I felt deep sorrow for all the victims of such a retrospectively preventable situation, I did however find the message highly relevant. We need more open discussion on how we treat each other – how society concepts of happiness is being translated – and finally less chatter about searching for things that don’t matter and spending more energies on developing meaningful relationships.

4 out of 5 stars

 

Reviewed by Stephen Amey

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