Stacy Makishi, Suicide for Beginners

Review in Issue 12-3 | Autumn 2000

Presented as part of a double-bill under the umbrella of Apples & Snakes, Suicide for Beginners is a funny and occasionally arresting guide to how to live, and how to die. Fusing video and slide projection with movement, images, voiceover text, low-tech cartoons and a large amount of sugar, the piece begins as an autobiographical narrative, then stretches out to include an increasingly bizarre host of relatives, neighbours and friends.

There are moments of visual beauty in this piece, particularly a section where a creamy white light is worn over the face as a mask, and a corresponding light sits in the base of a bucket teaming with misty icing sugar. Other sections fare less well, particularly as the performance I saw was plagued by a host of technical hitches. What is consistently strong and engaging in this piece, however, is the text, written by Makishi and Vick Ryder. It effectively combines the quotidian and the mythological, the poetic and the banal, to great comic effect. The central character names herself Pan, and at various points in the piece alludes to her naming after the pancreas, and describes its role in producing insulin to metabolise sugar (hence the sweet motif); after the Greek god of fields and flocks; after the homonym of the French word for bread. To spin out so many associations from a character name reveals the care with which this text is written, and it is a strong and fascinating skeleton for the rest of the piece.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jun 2000

This article in the magazine

Issue 12-3
p. 25