4.48 Psychose

Reviewer's Rating

On 20th February 1999, Sarah Kane committed suicide. This desperate act was announced with gallows humour in her last play: 4.48 Psychose: “At 4.48 AM, happy hour”. This frankly autobiographical work sets the author often alone as well as in discussion with her psychiatrist. She evokes depression, self-harm, loneliness, addiction, suicide but also love, sexuality and poetry… 

The performance of Cécile Fleury is particularly impressive. She succeeds in passing from one role to another in a split second; from the patient to her psychiatrist just by changing her posture, her gesture and her voice. She is indeed the master of great bodywork, especially when she adopts such a posture: bent forward with only the back of her head visible. This results in a striking picture, as if she has a disarticulated and ill body – just like her mind. The actress exercises full commitment in this harsh role, physically and mostly emotionally. Over more than an hour, she tries to put into words her wounds and to shout her hatred and her desire to live. Thanks to a refined scenography (a table, a chair and a bench) the woman moves the objects, re-organises the stage relentlessly, remaining forever unsatisfied and, as seems inevitable, she will not exit the scene undamaged. Cécile Fleury, who thanks the public several times with a great humility, seems still marked by this trying role.

But the darkness of this play does not exclude some beautiful breathing spaces. This blasted woman engages in sarcasm and self-mockery and mostly abandons herself to moments which combine dance and poetry. In those touching scenes, I really felt as if she invited me to penetrate into her intimacy. Overall, and thanks to the performance of the actress, this powerful play sounds like a last call to life before doing something irreparable.

French summary: Cécile Fleury, de la Compagnie du Refuge, donne sa voix et son corps à 4.48 Psychose, la dernière pièce de Sarah Kane écrite avant son suicide. Ce texte difficile et poétique met en mot la dépression, la solitude, l’automutilation et la tentation du suicide, mais aussi l’amour, la sexualité et la poésie… Grâce à un engagement physique et émotionnel impressionnant, l’actrice incarne avec brio une femme au bord du gouffre.