Suicide is a casting director seeking actors for a one-act play. The search is advertised in depression’s darkness. Many showcase their talent within the darkness, ignoring a persistent stage fright, sometimes misinterpreted as happiness, as they try to convince Hopelessness, the play’s author, that they understand the play’s essence—death.
One actor in particular stands out. She emotes pain; her agony defines a perfection that only Suicide feels will work well in interpretation of the play. Suicide confers with Hopelessness, but the play requires a strenuous methodology that few are capable of. Hopelessness insists on authenticity of emotions. Suicide reassures Hopelessness that this actor is capable of transcending all suspicion of doubt. Suicide is familiar with this actor’s work. She’s played bit parts in tragedy, excelling in various incarnates of despair, from prostitution to drug addiction. Suicide suggests that maybe she could leap to her demise, but Hopelessness doesn’t feel her pain; the play’s denouement must deliver moroseness to the audience, leaving ambiguity to challenge all thought. This actor has an uncertainty about her that only Hopelessness recognizes. Her leap into the abyss would be anti-climatic—predictable. So the auditions continue.
Another actor steps forward into the darkness. He’s young; his confidence in delivering anguish pleases Hopelessness. Suicide doesn’t feel the conflict. The young actor again exposes his wrists and cries on cue. His tears mix with blood; his coldness warms the theater. Suicide feels the razor and blood are too contrived—stereotypical to the point of boredom. Hopelessness likes the idea of blood, but relents. The auditions continue.
Hopelessness is agitated. The play, as written, has many layers—different levels of emotion that need be already mastered, not learned in rehearsals. Suicide remains indifferent to Hopelessness. Other actors are waiting to audition. If needed, Hopelessness can rewrite the final act. Perhaps asphyxiation or a toxic overdose is possible within the play’s context. Hopelessness ponders both. Asphyxiation is poetic but boring. Overdosing is overdone. There has to be an actor that can grasp the darkness, make sense of the storm that never abates. The play is not just about depression; its metaphor probes a fog that consumes the daylight encouraging nothingness to become everything. Suicide, hating deep thought, ignores Hopelessness. Another actor is called into the darkness.
This actor’s androgyny attracts Suicide. Masculinity morphs into femininity and back again. Hopelessness is intrigued. The conflict of gender is enticing. Perhaps being lost within identity improves tension, captivating an audience’s attention with confusion. A rope falls from the catwalk lassoing the androgynous actor’s neck. The hanging is horrific: a bulging neck, a swollen protruding tongue, profuse twitching, a snap of the neck, blood, shit, piss and semen dripping down the androgynous actor’s legs, puddling on the stage. Suicide is pleased and calls for a spotlight. Hopelessness runs on to the stage delirious.
The semen reveals the actor’s gender or so it seems. The actor offers a hermaphroditic solution to the semen; Hopelessness counters with transgender confusion. Another actor takes to the stage unimpressed. Suicide recognizes the internal rage that glows from the actor’s eyes. She’s female; she leaves not doubt as to sexual orientation; her lover follows her to the stage. She kisses the actor hard on the lips; their tears attract Hopelessness.
The audition catches Suicide by surprise. The two lovers, whose marriage was denied by a supporting cast of ignorance and politics, put twin revolvers to their mouths and deliver a simultaneous blood spattering coup de grace. Suicide gives a standing ovation.
Hopelessness retreats back into the artistic gloom of doubt, questioning politically motivated reaction—its overtones are pronounced. Suicide disagrees, reminding Hopelessness that reaction saturated with the blood of intolerance could call many to the theater—to the stage. The play’s run would forever be ongoing, changing as despair mingles with instability of thought. Hopelessness’ demurral is muted as another actor steps forward in the darkness. Suicide recognizes the actor and orders Hopelessness to close the auditions as she begins to sing her siren’s song of desperate faith. But the actor’s haunting voice intrigues Hopelessness. The audition is uninterrupted. Suicide seethes. Suicide decries the actor. Hopelessness continues to listen, immersed within a battle of uncertainty. Violins massage the melody. Suicide hates the intrinsic beauty of complexity—hidden messages that offer a resolution other than death.
Hopelessness embraces the confusion within the theater. Depression’s darkness dissipates. Suicide continues to argue that audiences are clamoring for self-destruction, insisting human behavior revels in hopeless ambiguity. The play needs to be staged. Lives need to be lost. Hopelessness answers with a slight smile, assuming the identity of Hope.