The Other Suicide Squad: “Women Writers’ Suicide Club”

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Presented by Boston Community Collaborative
Written, directed, and produced  by Ingrid Oslund

Dec. 8 – 11, 2016 @ 7:30PM
93 Summer St
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA)  I firmly believe that there is space for all artists, at every stage of their artistry, to create. That can mean creating, and producing art not quite ready for greater public consumption in order to grow. Women Writers’ Suicide Club (WWSC) succeeds in combining many artists to create one show. It succeeds in communicating the frustrations that womanhood places upon artistry. It is not so successful in its execution.

WWSC is more than a play; it is a multidisciplinary art show. Ingrid Oslund’s work  is only a small part of the experience. That being said, WWSC the play is not fully grown. It needs more time to mature as a manuscript, and some edits.

WWSC is based loosely on the lives of writers Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and Sarah Kane. In a video-interview reel played on loop before the show begins, we learn who these women are, how they are related, and the influence they’ve had on the play’s artists. For those unaware, these women all committed suicide. WWSC explores what their last moments might have been like (as poetically imagined by Oslund).

The found performance space located in downtown Boston was an interesting choice.  The set was delightfully deconstructed (not unlike the minds of Oslund’s characters). The props were strangely more complex than the set would imply but worked. The cast and crew accomplished a great deal with only a white sheet and Christmas lights. These choices incorporated the greater experience very well.

The miming of a sink and water done in the second scene was incongruous with the use of a physical door located far stage left. It such situations it is best to choose one or the other Either mime both door and sink,  or execute simple set/props for both. It doesn’t have to be literal. Symbols work well enough.

Drawing the audience’s eye far, far left, thereby losing the stage right audience, should have a bigger pay out than stuffing a towel under a door. The same can be said to having a speaking character’s back to an audience. There has to be an excellent reason for a speaking character’s voice and face to be upstage.   

WWSC be better served if the dance was either tightened, or relegated to another moment in the show. The modern dance as scene-change-interlude did not work. The choreography was dangerous. Actor/dancer Jack Aschenback ran into a set piece and nearly fell over. Sarah Vasilevsky almost had a couch placed on her face. A fight director is needed. 

Oslund’s writing, on the whole, is very good. WWSC is in its nascent stages, and needs more time to mature like a fine wine. It’s a short play but it has great promise. Her actors are young, and the same could be said of them. Elainy Mata, did a great job making Sarah believable. Marina Silva, and Katharine Mark performed valiantly in their roles.

The integration of art installation into performance worked very well. Each section of the installation heightened the individuality and work of either Kane, Woolf, or Plath. It informed the audience of source material as well as Oslund’s influences. All combined, they make a fascinating night of art.

Queen’s Note:
We have elected a tangerine ass-bugle bigot with scrawny hands, thin skin, and terrible hair to the office of the President. The theatre community has every reason to be scared that the national budget for the arts will be slashed. It will be. Certain republicans tend to disrespect experimental, avant-garde, or simply new art. If it challenges the white, straight, hetero status quo, they tend to be against it. New things frighten them with their difference. Belts will need to be tightened. For the love of all that’s sacred, keep creating your art despite this painful bullshit. If you need help, ask for it. Our existence is our resistance. Please keep fighting the good fight. – KD

#blacklivesmatter #translivesmatter #brownlivesmatter #yellowlivesmatter #lgbtqialivesmatter #immigrantlivesmatter #muslimlivesmatter #disabledlivesmatter #theatreartsmatter #NODAPL

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