By Holli Harms
A story told in dance and movement, with absolute heartbreaking fierce honesty, told with vivacity and humor, and an open raw vulnerability is the soul of I Came Back For Molly. It’s the true story of performer Molly Carden’s two attempts at suicide when she was 17. Molly takes us into the world of her teenage self where the negative voices in her head and heart, attempt to take over every chance they get. She is a senior in high school trying to hold it together but she is unraveling every moment of every day. School becomes too much, life too much, sitting in Barnes and Noble she is no longer able to read to distract her mind. Reality is being distorted and not sure anymore what is truth and what is not she shows us how one thought, one moment leads to the next and the next and the decision to end the pain by ending your own life makes sense. It is not a scattered thought it is calculated and necessary. She lays out the days and hours in her three separate institutions which she distinguishes by the color of the walls, Blue, White, and Beige. In each of them, she meets others who too have lost their truths and who are wanting their life back somehow, some of it at least, some, something. Her observations and love for the others who found themselves in these three places are held up to us and we drink them in.
Abigail Zealey Bess’s direction in The Tank’s wonderfully intimate black box is a skillful enterprise of movement and stillness allowing Molly the space to construct and deconstruct this time in her life and weave in her life now as an adult – quarantine and moving forward. David Maurice Sharp’s choreography visually enhances the highs and lows of Molly’s days and thoughts and moves her seamlessly through time and place, from the institutions to her job as Starbucks’ Star barista on New York’s Upper East side, to her life at home and her life at school. She wants to get out of these institutions she wants to start her life and go to college. She has been accepted to the North Carolina School of the Arts, and she is ready to head below the Mason-Dixon Line, she just needs to convince everyone that she is healthy now and that she is there for Molly.
To give your raw truth night after night as fully as Molly does is not easy but Molly makes it look that way, she has us laughing and listening intently as she retells the heart-wrenching narrative of her journey.
This is a must-see for parents and teens, for all who have misunderstood suicide, and for all who enjoy good theater.
I Came Back For Molly, Molly Carden: Playwright/Performer, Abigail Zealey: Director, David Maurice Sharp: Choreographer
THE TANK 312 W 36TH ST, NEW YORK, NY, 10018, 212.563.6269 INFO@THETANKNYC.ORG
I Came Back For Molly will next be seen at New York’s United Solo Performances. March 11th, 2023, 2 pm
Content warnings: Talk of suicide and mental illness