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L.A. Beat

U of L examines mental health issues in online production of 4:48 Psychosis

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The University of Lethbridge explores the timely issue of mental health in their online production of UK playwright Sarah Kane’s last play “4.48 Psychosis,” which runs March 17-20.The cast of 4:48 Psychosis. Photo Submitted
“ It’s one long soliloquy enhanced by movement and dance,” summarized Jay Whitehead, who directed the production with Mia VanLeeuwen.

 They worked with the the 11 cast members to develop and film the production with proper social distancing and health safety precautions in place.

“It’s a very abstract piece of theatre that explores mental health issues and self harm,” Whitehead continued,  noting the work is a soliloquy of the thoughts of the character as she wakes up at 4: 48 a.m.
“ It’s a play that has been on my mind for a while,” he said adding Covid 19 has got a lot of people thinking about and talking about mental health issues.
It was Kane’s last play before she committed suicide in February 1999. It was first staged in 2000.

“Because there are no characters, cast members or stage directions or any guidance from the playwright, so there are a lot of different ways to interpret it which presents a lot of challenges, but is also very liberating,” Whitehead said, adding while the play explores issues of suicide, it is not graphic. The directors decided to create their version of the show with the cast.

4:48 Psychosis runs March 17-20 online. Photo submitted“One actor recites the script while the other actors interpret it through movement and dance,” Whitehead said, adding the directors, cast and crew were just happy to be able to meet in person for rehearsals and the filming.

“We were able to find a lot of common ground,” he said, noting while the play was challenging, everybody was just excited to rehearse and create togehter in person.

“It’s all properly social distancing. Everyone wears masks and they all wear masks in the taping.”

“ It’s an important conversation to have because if you are feeling depressed it shows you are not alone,” he continued.

A collaborative, open and organic work, 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane is presented online to remote audiences, March 17 – 20 at 7:30 p.m. nightly via Zoom.
Tickets are $10 per pass and available through Inquiries can be emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Monday – Friday, 12:30 – 3:30 p.m. Ticket buyers will be sent the Zoom link.

— By Richard Amery, L.A.Beat Editor
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