Look at the above title and think of words that potentially describe a production with that name. You have probably come up with some of the words I did: morbid, depressing, grim and the like. And yet, when leaving the production, one’s head will be filled with antonyms: energetic, uplifting, hilarious and touching.
Interminable Suicide follows Daniel Kitson’s quest to discover truth. He tells us about a time that he went in search for a new home to buy and, by chance, stumbled on boxes of letters from a man who had recently died. He purchased the boxes and, after meticulously organising them in chronological order, began a two year reading frenzy.
The result is a production that is very humane. Kitson reads passages from Church’s letters, beginning with a collection of 56 letters sent explaining why Church wanted to commit suicide. Church received replies (all of which he’d kept along with copies of his own correspondences), which in turn made him write more letters and discover a new lease on life. Through Kitson, we are taken on Church’s 25-year letter-writing journey and learn about the people he managed to touch.
And all of this is told by Kitson, who warns us at the very beginning that this story is heavily fictionalised. But it is told with such conviction that one easily forgets that it’s supposed to be fiction and begins to believe in the events. Kitson is an excellent storyteller, finding ways of altering his voice to heighten comedy and highlight poignancy. It is near impossible to not be moved by Kitson’s creation.
Interminable Suicide is fringe theatre at its best: simple yet brilliant. It manages to say more than most full-length (and heavily budgeted) productions currently floating around, and it celebrates the importance of interpersonal correspondence. This is not to be missed.
Playing in Traverse 2 at 22.15 every night (except Mondays) until August 30th.
Filed under: Edinburgh Festival 2009 |