Self-Storage Plays Central Role in 'Breathing Corpses' Production

The Coal Mine Theatre in Toronto is hosting a production of “Breathing Corpses,” a murder mystery with self-storage as a focal point of the play. Written in 2005 by English playwright Laura Wade, the story unfolds backward as the connection between seemingly random dead bodies comes together. The story is also a social commentary, with the title taken from the Sophocles quote, “When a man has lost all happiness, he’s not alive. Call him a breathing corpse.”

The Coal Mine Theatre in Toronto is hosting a production of “Breathing Corpses,” a murder mystery with self-storage as a focal point of the play. Written in 2005 by English playwright Laura Wade, the story unfolds backward as the connection between seemingly random dead bodies comes together. The story is also a social commentary, with the title taken from the Sophocles quote, “When a man has lost all happiness, he’s not alive. Call him a breathing corpse.”

The play includes five seemingly disjointed scenes that contain plot points and tiny details that reveal their cohesion to the audience, according a source. One of the bodies discovered is in a storage unit. The self-storage facility serves as “a perfect place to hide a body, but also a metaphor for globalized society: a soulless repository for all the useless excess stuff in which we invest, in place of sustained relationships and commitment to community,” according to a review in the “Toronto Star.”

Two scenes feature a self-storage manager named Jim, who discovers a rotting body in one of his property’s units. The smell sends him on a “downward spiral,” from which his wife and assistant try to save him, according to the review.

The play debuted 11 years ago at the Royal Court Theatre in London and earned Wade the Critic’s Circle Theatre Award for Most Promising Playwright.

Directed by David Ferry, the Coal Mine production began Oct. 25 and runs through Nov. 13.

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