Page extent: 250
ISBN: 9781786821034
Binding: PaperBack

Anatomy of a Suicide

Alice Birch

PaperBack (08 Jun 2017)

Three generations of women. For each, the chaos of what has come before brings with it a painful legacy.

“I have Stayed. I have Stayed – I have Stayed for as long as I possibly can.”

Additional Information

ISBN13 9781786821034
Binding PaperBack
Page Extent 250


'Alice Birch’s new play is scored like a piece of music... It is an extraordinary echoing text, full of pain and strange beauty. The three stories play out simultaneously on stage, the dialogue from one scene overlapping with the other two in a manner that borders on the choral... Birch has provided a text that explores these ideas in a formally invigorating way. Unexpectedly light and spry in its early scenes, Anatomy of a Suicide builds and builds to an incredibly powerful finale in which hope, while distant, can still be glimpsed.' The Stage ★★★★

'What a fiercely uncompromising, clinically emotional two hours this is Alice Birch, darling of the film world after her stark and powerful script for Lady Macbeth, returns in triumph to her home ground of the theatre for an unflinching examination of three generations of women in one family... an intricately interwoven work in which three separate scenes often play out simultaneously.' Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard ★★★★

'The way conversations overlap, intersect, even chime exactly, as if words are echoing down the decades, is a compositional marvel... [any] vague misgivings pale beside the essential bravery and daring of it all: anyone who has experienced the nightmare of handed-on familial sadness, let alone the horror of suicide, will surely find in this a therapeutic-cathartic release.' 

'Anatomy of a Suicide is a powerful, unflinching look at a family afflicted with severe depression and mental illness. The fact that it's presented as a triptych of plays performed side by side serves to heighten our sense of the reverberating chaos  passed on after a maternal suicide... I mustn't give away too much except to say that nothing is shirked here – devastating despair or the very faint possibility of hope at the end (the last direction is “The light changes. Just a little.”)... Recommended.' Independent ★★★★

'What determines our character? Nature or nurture? Genetic inheritance or social environment? It is an age-old debate, and Alice Birch now adds to it with this startling theatrical triptych about three generations of mothers and daughters... Birch’s progress as a writer has been fascinating to watch... On the evidence so far, I would say Birch has a gift for radical experiment in the style of Caryl Churchill and Sarah Kane. In her new play we are confronted by three women, Carol, Anna and Bonnie, who we learn are mother, daughter and granddaughter. They exist in three different time zones but the story of their lives is told simultaneously. As Birch herself says, the text has been scored and can be read, or viewed, horizontally... I can, in fact, think of few exact parallels to this play.' Michael Billington Guardian ★★★★