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Anatomy of a Suicide

From 139 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Ambitious, Confusing, Absorbing, Intense

About the show

In this US premiere for Atlantic, three generations of women's lives play out simultaneously. For each, the chaos of what has come before brings a painful legacy. More…

From the show:

Winner of the 2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Anatomy of a Suicide is a revelatory exploration of mothers and daughters by Alice Birch (Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.), directed by Obie Award winner Lileana Blain-Cruz (Marys Seacole).


Member Reviews (139)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Ambitious, Confusing, Absorbing, Intense
74
Avg Score

70
Intense, Clever, Overrated, Disappointing, Absorbing

See it if you're fascinated w stories of depression/despair/dysfunction/death. 3 generatns of destructn, shown overlapping (action/dialogue). Dizzying

Don't see it if you want hope; mental illness shown as intractable, inheritable. Clever staging, but info gets lost. Lots of smoking. Some robotic delivery.

68
Overrated, Thought-provoking, Slow, Indulgent, Ambitious

See it if Stories told at the same time. Suicide-depression and some good acting in it. Interesting story for the most part.

Don't see it if Gets slow at certain points. If you get confused easily. Must pay close attention to this one. Depressing at times.

83
Sad, Thought-provoking, Dizzying, Resonant, Absorbing

See it if 3 simultaneous stories emphasize how precariously the generations intertwine. Poignant contrast of life giving vs. taking. Terrific staging.

Don't see it if You won't enjoy an intense experimental format that you might find confusing. You don't want a sad/depressing subject.

60
Slow, Disappointing, Great directing, Confusing

See it if u want to see Off-Bway's arguably best director work her magic on a difficult text about a difficult subject. [Blain-Cruz is the star here.]

Don't see it if ur triggered by stark discussions/depictions of depression & suicide; u hope for a play that's revelatory, affecting or rewarding.

Also This is the story of three generations of female suffering, addiction,... Read more Read less

78
Thought-provoking, Great staging, Edgy, Dizzying, Ambitious

See it if Blain-Cruz's staging is the star here; a family history of women's mental illness is either highly persuasive or highly pretentious You pick

Don't see it if Birch's fraught script has a unique structure that can pack a powerful punch; have patience Male hierarchy as possible cause is questionable

70
Important subject, Confusing, Busy, Uneven

See it if you're interested enough in the subject of depression, suicide & substance dependency in women to be OK with sitting through a flawed play,

Don't see it if graphic depiction of depression, suicide & substance dependency might be too upsetting for you.

Also I wish I liked this play more. I found the first 15 minutes totally co... Read more Read less

69
Thought-provoking, Quirky, Great acting, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if interested in ambitious structure, 3 great female roles, ability to figure out time frames & relationships, cross-generation motherhood tale

Don't see it if don't enjoy stories about suicide & frayed mother-daughter relationships, easily confused by simultaneous time frames & actors in many roles

86
Ambitious, Great staging, Great acting, Funny, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to broaden your idea of theatrical structure. Simultaneous scenes reflecting or echoing with subtle meaning. Impressive work!

Don't see it if If suicide is a triggering issue. Likewise related family issues. Three generations of women overwhelmed by well intended advice & instinct

85
Experimental, Great writing, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if A doctor parses a triptych of femme plays woven into one to illumine the levels of depressive thought over 3 generations.Experimental/dense.

Don't see it if Overlapping scenes are staggering and technical, yet taxing for the audience. Similar in technique/structure/theme to Altman or "The Hours."

82
Thought-provoking, Intense, Edgy, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if You want a deliberately fractured story about depression & suicide. You're OK w/doing some mental work while watching 3 storylines unfold.

Don't see it if You're triggered by suicide and/or depression. You prefer more traditional storytelling. You want light entertainment & a strong resolution.

Also Don't be put off by the 3 scenes at once. While it does take a little ... Read more Read less

80
Dizzying, Intense, Great staging, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if Its three generations of women with suicide-depression thoughts. taking place all at once.

Don't see it if Not a light subject matter. Its a little confusing at first watching, for it all takes place at once.

0
Aggravating, Excruciating, Dizzying, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if you want to see a play with a challenging format.

Don't see it if you can think of something else to do for 100 minutes.

Also If the goal of this show is to make me want to commit suicide, it near... Read more Read less

98
Resonant, Profound, Great staging, Great acting

See it if Pain of Mom, Daughter and Granddaughter through their lives and the people in them. Large cast and sleek set. Relationships, kids, work.

Don't see it if You'd be shocked at the big event center stage at very end of show. Watching the hurt of these 3 women in different time periods is too much

Also No characters speak at exact same time so it's very easy to follow. Ju... Read more Read less

89
Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Devastating, Great staging, Great acting

See it if poignant look at generational mental illness/suicide within one family & its effects on self & loved ones; excellent direction & portrayals

Don't see it if not prepared to pay close attention to what is going on-takes concentration to get used to a constant 3 ring family circus but well worth it

81
Grim drama of three generations of depressed women

See it if Inherited suicidal tendencies explored in 3 scenes acted at once, sometimes talking over each other. Deliberately confusing but hypnotic.

Don't see it if you don't want experimental theater techniques. The dialogue, the acting --the whole effect is rewarding, if you let it sweep over you.

79
Painful, Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if this is an unrelenting, harrowing play. Not for the squeamish or faint of heart. But the acting is wonderful. Set lovely.

Don't see it if graphic description of ect later soundlessly enacted. I refused to watch the suicide depicted on stage so I dont know how graphic it was.

Also I found the child irritating rather than precocious. ... Read more Read less

86
Thought-provoking, Intense, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if like nontraditional, structure with stories of 3 generations of women shown simultaneously; topics of depression and suicide

Don't see it if difficult subject; sometimes dialogue overlapping (might miss some) and sometimes ending words of the 3 women are in sync*

Also * so can be confusing at least in beginning until you get into the rhy... Read more Read less

77
Pretentious, Indulgent, Disjointed, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if you would enjoy some good performances and a relevant drama, but told through three scenes staged & speaking simultaneously.

Don't see it if you would find this gimmick detracting to the story and at odds with being able to connect with the characters’ struggles in a deeper way.

Also I found that the decision to have all three characters stories’ play o... Read more Read less

80
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if you want a play that is uniquely staged to reflect three generational stories presented simultaneously on the topic of suicide.

Don't see it if you want an upbeat story or have trouble following the complexities of three simultaneous stories.

73
Great lighting, Great set, Challenging, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you want to see an interesting take on generational depression embracing nature over nurture

Don't see it if suicide is triggering for you or if you don't want to have to do hard work just to see everything happening on stage

Also Alice Birch's writing and Lileana Blain-Cruz's direction, although bri... Read more Read less

45
Pretentious, Confusing, Annoying, Frustrating, Unorthodox

See it if have the ability understand 3 plays presented simultaneously on a stage about mental illness/suicide & fine acting.

Don't see it if you dislike 3 plays simultaneously presented that are confusing & results in lacking empathy for the characters due to it's absurd structure

79
Intense

See it if Sick mamas make sick babies & grand kids. How the patriarchal society narrowly loves women but doesn't address their mental health issues.

Don't see it if Suicide, drug abuse, or women's mental health issues are triggering. 3 simultaneous plot lines can get hard to watch more than one.

Also Diversity: story about 3 women (1 is Black lesbian) and mental health ... Read more Read less

82
Intelligent, Great writing, Great staging

See it if well written overlapping stories and time frames, yet the same theme. made one focus and stay invested.

Don't see it if want entertainment. can confuse some audience members. think the style can polarize some audience members either hate it or love it

0
Blah blah blah....................., Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating, Slow

See it if and only if you enjoy being trapped in a theater for an hour and 45 minutes and the only way out is closing your eyes to sleep away the time

Don't see it if you were expecting something interesting and coherent, but instead were confined to a theater seat when you really wanted to see a movie.

Also From the moment it weirdly began, I hated it. I tried to follow the we... Read more Read less

90
Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if Powerful drama about family depression and suicide. Playwright effectively tells the stories of a mother,daughter, and granddaughter

Don't see it if You do not want to see a serious play about difficult themes.

Also onstage, together,but in different time periods. On occasion, the scen... Read more Read less


February 18th, 2020
CRITIC’S PICK. "In ‘Anatomy of a Suicide,’ Pain in Triplicate: Alice Birch’s cleareyed and comfortless play follows three generations of women tethered to life by the thinnest possible filament."
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February 18th, 2020
5/5 Stars. "The structure of the play is disorienting, at times even overwhelming. But Lileana Blain-Cruz's direction provides clarity amid the cloud of pain. The production is exquisitely timed and calibrated."
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February 24th, 2020
"Horror Stories of Womanhood: 'Dracula,' 'Frankenstein,' and 'Anatomy of a Suicide'"
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February 28th, 2020
"The director Lileana Blain-Cruz and her cast skillfully navigate the challenging setup, suggesting desperately interlocked narratives that, miraculously, never feel morbid."
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Cast & Creatives (3)