Created by Jen Tuder in collaboration with Candace Stimpson
Directed by Candace Stimpson
Mar. 17, 2013
Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center for the Performing Arts
Suicide Punchline takes you on a journey into survival. In this solo performance, Minneapolis solo performer Jen Tuder rehearses survival by interrogating the dead, kidding around at cocktail parties, and building dioramas of the afterlife. Suicide Punchline provides a lifeline for anyone who’s ever wondered if there’s life after a loved one’s death.
Suicide is usually a dramatic climax, a solution to a mystery, or the punch line to a trite joke. For survivors of suicide, however, it is only the beginning. In Suicide Punchline surviving is the opposite of solving.
Target audience: the living, the dead, and anyone who’s survived the suicide of a loved one.
The author’s creative process
The writer created three distinct characters that represented different aspects of her survival experience. The Questioner personifies the unanswered questions that haunt suicide survivors. The Celebrant is the life of the party, who never lets the hard facts of survival bring her down. Finally, the Architect creates worlds where she can find her father and herself. Through this process, the writer realized that survival is an ongoing process, not a conflict that can be resolved. Her hope is that other suicide survivors can recognize something of themselves and their experiences in Suicide Punchline. She also hopes all kinds of survivors will find something in the show that helps them keep body and soul together.
About the Artist
Jen Tuder holds a Ph.D. in speech communication with an emphasis in performance studies from Southern Illinois University. She is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Communication Studies and Theatre & Film Studies at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. Most recently she has appeared in 20% Theatre Company's The Naked I: Wide Open and taken Suicide Punchline to stages across Minnesota, and in Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Carbondale, Illinois.