I Kill Myself: A Live Comedy Show
I Kill Myself: A Live Comedy Show by Veronica Dymond
Reviewed by Lisah Nsanzugwanko
Trigger Warning: Mentions suicide
A Quick Summary
Veronica Dymond’s I Kill Myself: A Live Comedy Show premiered at the LSPU Hall on November 18th, and it was a spectacular view into Veronica Dymond’s life. The show began with Dymond using the conventional rule of ‘silence your phones’ to relay a pre-show address that included the Land Acknowledgement and acknowledging sponsors through staged comedic, whispered phone calls. This introduction grabbed my attention. Next, Dymond transported the audience through her life leading up to her suicide attempt. It was a multimedia experience that began with a foray into her childhood and her subsequent questioning of her identity and belief in God. Throughout the next hour, she recounted her experiences in elementary and middle school, her first and last confessions, and a short documentary about her favorite rocks was projected onto the stage. She sang and performed circus tricks galore. I Kill Myself was the ultimate show-and-tell. When I stepped into the theater, I felt the pre-show excitement building as people got their drinks for the evening. That was the show’s magic: the audience became a single entity, laughing and cheering at Dymond’s stories and circus tricks. There was a sense of warmth in the room. It was memorable because it was a shared experience that still felt intimate. I was in the crowd, but it felt like I was in my cozy reading corner, cracking open Dymond’s journal with a comforting drink. We saw her at her best and worst.
Moments to Remember
The set and props were particularly striking. At first glance, the stage looked chaotic. Dirty laundry was heaped into piles, and throughout the night, I kept returning to the significance of the dirty laundry on the floor–it was about vulnerability. It screamed: “Here I am, take it or leave it!” As the performance continued, items around the stage were revealed from the dirty laundry. I found an element of gamification in this technique. Finding items felt like finding puzzle pieces, allowing the audience to build excitement towards the end. For example, Dymond slowly collects juggling knives from the pile, which comes into play in the last scene when she finally, to the great relief of the audience, juggles them.
The content of the show was heavy, so it was essential to provide a safer space. This was achieved through the silent room, allowing people to decompress and reset during the show. Additionally, an intermission was provided for people to refresh; this intermission was placed strategically so that people would have a break before the content got heavier.
If I were to choose a brief way to explain I Kill Myself, I would say it was a journey. We journeyed as an audience and Veronica as a writer and performer. We were fortunate to witness a story that didn’t have rigid plot points but flowed eloquently to a joyous end. Dymond had a natural dialogue with the audience, and we responded in our presence. Telling stories is difficult, so how did she relay such a traumatic experience while still capturing joy? In a conversation post-show, Veronica said she “intended to bring joy even if it’s hard. The early drafts were pretty, but weren’t funny.” Her hard work paid off; the techniques used to bring levity to this story were apparent: the design choice of projection immersed the audience into the experience, allowing us to be transcended into different times. Along with projection, constant interaction with the audience permitted Veronica to maintain a connection. She broke the fourth wall repeatedly, and by directly addressing the audience, she helped us feel comfortable.
It’s safe to say you succeeded; Veronica, you brought joy.
Lisah Nsanzugwanko is a Writer/Director from Tanzania, studying an undergrad Communications degree at Memorial University