Pleasance Courtyard (Above), Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
The perfect world premiere for true crime fans, Drowning is Jessica Ross’ blistering new play about the Lainz Angels of Death. In 1991, four Austrian nurses were charged with murdering 49 elderly patients in their beds, although estimates now put the death toll nearer to 200. Drowning is directed by Steven Roy and executive produced by Carrie-Anne Moss, star of The Matrix and Jessica Jones.
Austria was left shaken by the enormity of the institutional silence that surrounded this atrocity within a state-run hospital – it was one of the largest serial killings in post-war European history. What started off as ‘mercy killing’ led to a genuine desire by this foursome to play god. It has now been more than ten years since the last of the Angels of Death was released early from prison for good behaviour, aged only 49.
At its heart Drowning interrogates exactly what evil looks like and how sympathetic it can be, debating whether the Angels’ ringleader was a compelling force of personality manipulating young women or a figure of authority who simply gave permission to dark desires. This fantastic piece of new writing forces us to confront what we understand by ‘evil’ and the terrifying space between ‘mercy’ and ‘murder’. It asks: is it murder if you put an end to suffering? What if it puts an end to their pain but also to the annoyance they cause?
Wednesday 31st July – Monday 26th August (not 13th), 14:30
Ages 14+, contains adult themes and content including some scenes of violence and some strong language