Theater archives

Millennials in Mourning: Eight Twentysomethings Grapple With a Friend’s Suicide


For the people in Lindsay Joy’s In the Event of My Death, the wounds of high school still hurt and the real world has begun to disappoint. In other words, they’re in their twenties.

The play unfolds in a suburban Pennsylvania home following the funeral of Freddy, who has killed himself. Six of his longtime friends and his two sisters have gathered to reminisce and honor the dead, but it’s not long before they’re telling
secrets and telling one another off.

Though Joy tries to save the big revelations for the end, within a few minutes of each character’s entrance it’s pretty easy to figure out his or her deal: Several are having hidden affairs, one is an addict in recovery, another is an addict in denial, still another feels stuck in a dead-end life, and so on. With so many familiar types
arguing that they’re misunderstood —
including a prom queen, a Bible-thumper, and a geek — the show sometimes feels like a reunion of The Breakfast Club.

The results are rarely whiny and often moving, however, thanks to the emotional sincerity of the performances in Padraic Lillis’s sensitive production for Stable Cable Lab Co. Joy likewise undercuts the self-pity with flashes of jagged wit and a sobering sense, reinforced by Freddy’s suicide and by all those revealed secrets, that at some fundamental level we remain unknowable to those we love, and even to ourselves.

In the Event of My Death

Directed by Padraic Lillis

IRT Theater

154 Christopher Street


Through August 21