Suicide Notes In Their Own Words is a very personal project for writer/director/producer Stan Zimmerman. He lost a good friend to suicide in 2012. He has gathered a stellar quartet of performers to read the actual final words of people–young, old, male, female, transgendered, straight, gay and all too human–whose struggles with life ended with them ending theirs. Olivia D’Abo, Allie Gonino, Peter Onorati and Brendan Robinson stand in front of music stands with their scripts, but they don’t just read the notes, they put every bit of passion and emotion into those final words left by a variety of people over the years. There are famous ones—writer Virginia Woolf, comedian Freddie Prinze, director James Whale, musician Kurt Cobain among others. But whether they were famous or not, most left behind their best words in their final note. It is amazing how clear-headed, succinct and perceptive they could be as they contemplated ending their lives. There were young victims of bullying, military vets back from Afghanistan and unable to deal with their actions in the war, victims of sexual assault and the terminally ill. Suicide Notes is not an easy show to sit through but then it shouldn’t be. This is not a subject for humor but a subject that needs to be seriously addressed. Interspersed among the final words of those who could not cope, the cast delivers some shocking suicide statistics. A portion of the proceeds of this show go to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. Bravo to Mr. Zimmerman and his cast for bringing this heartfelt piece of theatre to the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. June 25, 27, 28. www.hollywoodfringe.org