The weekend of January 21st I was apart of the Spotlight production of Leaves by Lucy Caldwell. The play is focused on the issue of teenage suicide. The play is about this Irish family who has just experienced the attempted suicide of the oldest daughter, Lori. The play focuses on the reactions of the family members and how they deal with the suicide. Each character takes on a different role and you see a different reaction from each person.
The mother takes her daughter’s attempted suicide as a failure on her part. Throughout the play you see the mother struggling to figure out exactly why her daughter would try to kill herself. She thought they raised her like every other child and she had always assumed that they were a normal family. She spends the entirety of the play dealing with internal guilt. The father does not know exactly how to react. He spends the entire play burying him self in work and trying to avoid the situation because he does not know how to express his emotions. He wants the family to act as if nothing happened and to go back to normal. Clover the second child has been said to of taken it the hardest because she always looked up to Lori and now this is something she cannot do. Clover feels as if Lori betrayed the family and is personally hurt by her actions. I played Poppy the youngest daughter and she tries to keep everyone calm and happy. She has an optimistic view throughout most of the play and basically has a very childish outlook on the situation.
The play directly relates to life in college because Lori had just gone off to college and obviously could not handle the change. Lori had trouble adjusting to this new life and took it out in a way that is irreversible. However she fails at her attempt, leaving the family and herself in a place they can truly never come back from. Being apart of this production made me see the affects of suicide more than I had ever known them. Seeing the character development throughout the play helped me see how one action can affect everyone around you.
Leaves can relate in a way to John Donne’s two poems The Flea and Valediction: Forbidding Mourning, in a sense that the mother loves Lori whether or not she is in her physical presence. The mother tells Lori that since birth they have been spiritually together. Lori is “one blood made of two,” so her mother has that instant connection to her. Leaves also relate to his other poem because you could say that Lori was needed for the family to function correctly, just as the compass had two components that move together.
Fox Trot Friday can be compared to Leaves because to Poppy, Lori coming back home is like that Friday feeling. Poppy believes that once Lori is back the family will return to the “paradise” they were all once experiencing. Memorandum can be compared to Leaves because Clover at one point in the play goes on a rant about how she hates the things that Lori has done to the family. Also Poppy goes on two rants about things she could never stand in her mother and in Lori.
This play has definitely affected the way I look at not only suicide victims but also suicide victim families.