When Skies Are Gray

immersive theatre the visceral city project · Ages 18+ · world premiere · United States of America

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Review by KATIE LINDSAY

June 06, 2018 certified reviewer

What I liked

There is a dance moment towards the end of the piece that totally ripped my heart open. I’ll just leave it at that.

I was apprehensive about the immersive elements in such a delicate piece, but seeing strangers as nurses helping Ashley take care of her mother made me reflect upon how many strangers are a part of the end of someone’s life, how often in the most traumatic and difficult moments, strangers are the ones to show a distant kindness. Ashely handles the participants with such care and grace.

What I didn't like

Nothing. Loved it.

My overall impression

Ashley has created a gorgeous performance piece about the physical aspects of dying and grief. I was incredibly moved by the performances, especially by Melissa Randel’s portrayal of the mother. Ashley uses the ritual of live performance to invite us into her grieving process. The use of real recordings and the knowledge that the performance is based on Ashley’s experience makes the intimacy feel real, and not forced. I feel honored to have been trusted with such a profound moment in her life. It moved me to think about my own experiences with death and hospice, an experience I often want to bury but that was cathartic to reconnect to.

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