“4.48 Psychosis” is presented in Meiley-Swallow’s intimate theatre

Apr 15, 2014

The drama “4.48 Psychosis” by late British playwright Sarah Kane will feature North Central College student actors April 24-27.

Four performances will be presented at 7:30 p.m. April 24-26 and at 2 p.m. April 27 in North Central College’s theatre at Meiley-Swallow Hall, 31 S. Ellsworth St. Tickets are $10/adults and $8/students and senior citizens; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit Because of strong language and adult themes, no one under age 16 will be admitted.

Carin Silkaitis, assistant professor of theatre at North Central College, will direct her rendition of Kane’s most personal piece. For years, Kane suffered from severe clinical depression. “4.48 Psychosis” was her final play before her sudden death and suicide.

“This play is about one woman’s struggle with severe clinical depression and it doesn’t claim to be any more than that,” says Silkaitis, who believes the audience can learn from Kane’s raw, honest, scathing portrayal of her struggles. “There are important, relevant themes for our times in ‘4.48 Psychosis.’” These themes focus on decisions about taking or not taking medication as treatment for depression, the effects and effectiveness of medication, suicide and self-harm, relationships and loneliness.

In addition, Silkaitis (photo, far left) chose to stage this play because she feels the word “depressed” has been watered down. “It’s become a catchall phrase when we don’t feel fabulous,” says Silkaitis, who thinks we need to revisit the conversation on depression, a disease. Depression affects some 120 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Kane’s play provides significant artistic leeway to the director. It’s written without specific stage directions, characters or setting, including how many actors to use and how to divide up parts within the play.

Silkaitis plans to study character development with her student actors and work with them on getting in and out of very dark characters. “It’s always a huge challenge for actors, to go to a place as dark as this,” she explains. “It’s also a challenge to learn to get out of character, and I want to use this play to work with some techniques for doing that.”

The cast list includes (role, student, hometown, year, major):

She: Colleen DeRosa of Downers Grove, a sophomore majoring in theatre and speech communication
Doctor: Hillary Haymond of Plainfield, a senior majoring in theatre
Lover: Michael Ermel of Northbrook, a sophomore majoring in theatre
Chorus: Amanda Rose of Goshen, Ind., a senior majoring in theatre; Rebecca Sheehan of Hinsdale, a sophomore majoring in musical theatre; Samantha Hess of Decatur, Mich., a sophomore majoring in musical theatre and finance

“The language in this play is incredible, with some of the most beautiful, tragic, image-filled words I have ever read,” says Silkaitis. “4.48 Psychosis” is not for young viewers and could be a trigger for individuals who suffer from depression, she warns.

North Central College’s 2013-2014 Fine and Performing Arts Season is partially sponsored by USG Corporation and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Season supporters include BMO Harris, Bulley & Andrews, Casa by Charleston, Grant Thornton, J.P. Morgan, Main Street Promenade, Marquette Properties, Nicor Gas, Ryan Hill Realty, Turner Construction Company, U.S. Bank Private Client Reserve and Water Street Development.