**Trigger Warning: this play contains themes of suicide, self-harm, mental illness including depression, and sexually explicit content which may distress some people.*
The first thing I want to say about this play is that it will make you uncomfortable. English playwright Sarah Kane's 4.48 Psychosis explores the many facets of mental illnesses including those of depression, self-harm, dependency, and isolation and at no point will it put you at ease.
Symptoms: Not eating. Not sleeping. Not speaking, No sex-drive. In despair. Wants to die. Diagnosis: Pathological grief.
As the main character (read: sufferer) of the play, Kendall-Jane Rundle's performance is quite harrowing. As a group, the audience is in and outside of her mind, privy to everything from her racing thoughts and inner demons to doctor's appointments and treatment experiences. She is mortified by her own mentality, stricken and in denial of a cure for her psychology.
That harrowing factor is ongoing and notably present throughout Rundle's soliloquies especially when echoed -verbally and physically- by Alisha Eddy and Jessica Stevens, whose performances as Rundle's two "anathema pariahs of reason" are outstandingly disturbing.
4.48 Psychosis is comprised of 24 sections, none of which Sarah Kane originally wrote with any specific setting, stage directions or characters. Its language is similarly abstract and naturalistic - which may offer a glimpse into the playwright's mindset at the time of writing (Kane took her own life shortly after completing the piece).
Structure aside, the underlying confrontational theme of the play is enough to create unease amongst audience members, as is the setting of the stage itself; hanging light globes flicker on and off to the tune of the main character's psychotic thoughts and mania.
4.48 Psychosis gets four out of five stars from me. It is indeed rattling, terrifying at times and funny at others. Apart from the talented performances of all four actors; the way the play explored the thin line between life and death that's often overlooked when exploring mental illness made this one worth seeing.
Sarah Kane's 4.48 Psychosis stars Alisha Eddy, Kendall-Jane Rundle, Jessica Stevens, and Jeff Wortman and is showing at Metanoia Theatre from 29 June - 2 July. Book tickets on the TryBooking website or call (03) 9387 3376. Metanoia Theatre is wheelchair accessible.