Am I Dead Yet?
Director: Amy Hodge
Writer: Jon Spooner, Chris Thorpe
Cast: Jon Spooner, Chris Thorpe
Part of: Fringe @ Rabenhof
Seen on: 21.1.2017
One could assume that the difference between life and death is one of the most easily recognizable and most basic of medical distinctions. But with advances in resuscitation, death is no longer entirely irreversible. And it’s definitely not something that can be pinned down to a certain moment. So, let’s talk about dying – and coming back to life.
Am I Dead Yet? is a mix of stand-up program, play and medical lecture. It’s an unlikely combination, but it works perfectly, tackling an often tabooed topic from many angles with charm and science.
Thorpe and Spooner – who developed the program together with a doctor and their director Hodge – tell two stories in their play: the story of a kid who falls into a frozen lake and drowns and the story of two policemen who find a severed head. These two stories are interwoven and seasoned with medical insights, an actual CPR demonstration and a couple of songs (one comes at the very end and is half-improvised with statements collected from the audience on how they’ll think they’ll die).
It’s an eclectic mix and with its multiple changes in pace, the entire production could have fallen flat on its face. But thanks to Thorpe’s and Spooner’s likeable and charismatic performances, it never does.
The show is definitely leaning to the funny side. But under all the excitement about medical technology and black humor that lends itself naturally to the topic of death and dying, there always is a serious and potentially terrifying side to death as well. And Thorpe and Spooner manage to capture that as well. So the play achieved to give me goosebumps and have me crying to having me singing and laughing within minutes of each other.
It’s a most entertaining show with big philosophical questions at its core. Those questions might take a backseat to the humor and the storytelling, but if you want to think about them, Am I Dead Yet? will give you plenty to chew over.