Should we Find Entertainment with Suicide?

With all the media posting about teen suicides there are many plays that are dealing with this subject. I have to be honest and say I am not sure exactly where I stand. One part of me says,” Good, great, let’s keep it up.” The other part of me says, “Let’s be careful on how we portray the characters, is someone getting the blame, and think about how we leave the audience.

I have seen three plays recently that have dealt with the subject matter of suicide with teens. The first one left the AUDIENCE wondering if there was anymore to the production. The audience just sat there waiting…and waiting… for someone to say something. No one came through the curtains. It was obvious it was over. The audience clapped and left.

The second one was a monologue about a young man who had a bi-polar mother. She attempted suicide several times and finally completed. This production followed him from his boyhood through his adult life and how his mother’s death affected him. At the end of the production, there was a panel who answered the audience’s questions. I might add the actor who performed was excellent!

The third play a musical. First of all, I wondered how a musical would be performed with the theme of suicide. As a suicide loss survivor, I have a hard time enjoying a play with singing about a topic that still plays havoc with my emotions. Its premise was a high school boy who completed suicide. He had few friends but one young man came forth like he was his friend. The young man who acted that he was a friend got noticed by his peers and life changed for him from being a loner to someone with popularity. He kept this facade going making the parents of the young man feel better about the death of their son. Finally, ridden by guilt of the friendship he came clean dealing with what he had done and how it affected others. The audience clapped and seemed to enjoy. I wondered to myself how many people in the audience dealt with suicidal ideation, attempt, or loss survivors.

The fourth play is coming out today. I haven’t seen it yet but the theatre teacher is having a panel talk on mental health, how to deal with depression, and how the school and parents can together support mental health and open the dialogue.

So, I am glad the subject is being talked about but to leave an audience with no local materials, organizations to call, suicide hotline number, text number, etc. doesn’t feel right to me and most of all not to ask the question. Are you thinking of suicide? Just my thoughts…