BWW Review: 4.48 PSYCHOSIS at The Catastrophic Theatre. Catastrophic returns with a heart-breaking production of 4.48 Psychosis
by Armando Urdiales
Trigger Warning: Mentions of mental illness, and suicide.
A hospital bed, chairs, and a large screen greet audiences as Catastrophic Theatre returns with a heartbreaking production of 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane. This play by the British playwright is semi-autobiographical as the work deals with mental illness and a young person’s descent into finally committing the ultimate self-harm. This play is Kane’s last work, as many deem the play as Kane writing about their eventual suicide. Catastrophic’s production reveals the many challenges of mental illness and provides a honest and beautiful production of Kane’s work.
With excellent direction by The Catastrophic Theatre co-founder, Jason Noodler,Catastrophic’s production features some of the best acting right now in the Houston area. Actor, T. Lavois Theibaud portrays the central character. While we are never given the character’s name, T delivers an immensely layered performance. We witness Kane’s character commit self-harm, and slowly descent into madness as they grapple with mental anguish. No spoilers, but one must pay careful attention as we see T utter beautifully some amazing poetry. As the character is given medicine to help cure her mental illness, they state “There’s not a drug on earth can make life meaningful.” This quote amongst others is what provides some of the most amazing insight into psychopathy. Furthermore, at the end of the production is quite an eye-opening experience, like a Marvel film, stay till the end.
The other actor, Amy Bruce, portrays the central character’s therapist. Bruce is wonderfully cynical and friendly to T’s character. However, besides the impeccable acting, it is the design elements that provide some of the most amazing details of this production. Afsaneh Aayani’s set design is incredibly compelling. Hudson Davis’ lighting provides some of the most amazing backdrops to the character’s descent. The most amazing design elements come from the sound and video design of James Templeton. Throughout the piece we see the inner workings of the character’s minds through Templeton’s work. There is one particularly interesting scene of flashing, strobe lights, and amazing video portrayal of the main character’s illness. Huge kudos goes to Tabita Bounds for not only creating some of the hardest-working props in Houston’s theatrical landscape but also for stage managing the show.
4.48 Psychosis runs through Sunday, December 12th at MATCH (3400 Main St) in Matchbox 3, with performances on Thursdays at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00pm, and Sundays at 2:30pm. There will be an Industry Night performance on Monday, November 29th at 7:30pm. Tickets are as always Pay-What-You-Can at https://catastrophictheatre.com/. All audience members must wear a face mask while in the performance venue.