Reviewed by Estelle Rosen
With mental issues ever more prevalent these days, Suspended Pieces' title expresses this play well. When Melanie (Lauren Allman), after graduation, exhibits classic symptoms of schizophrenia her life is in suspension and broken apart. Her boyfriend cheating on her triggers her mental breakdown. We see this happen. Angry, uncommunicative, unable to deal with everyday life, Melanie withdraws into her own world.
The essence of this story is how Melanie’s family is affected. How they adjust, adapt, or not. Conflicts arise between her parents, between her mother and brother. The family is torn apart. Aggravating the situation is that none of her family acknowledges Melanie’s mental stress. By not looking honestly at the reality, the frustrations between all family members increase.
Ambiance worked well. Barbara Kelly’s direction was impeccable. There were strong performances by all, particularly Allman, Jude Benny as Melanie’s over-protective mother, and Jane Gilchrist as Granny.
A portion of proceeds are going to L’Abri en Ville, a Montreal mental health organization that provides safe and affordable housing for people with mental illness.