When Skies Are Gray

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

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Review by KAT PRIMEAU

June 09, 2018 la bitter lemons
tagged as: amazing · Beautiful · cathartic · exemplary · Must See

What I liked

I could write a thesis about everything I loved, but will refrain so as to maintain some element of surprise here. Some of my favorite aspects include:
- how the ritual of theatre provided a safe space to imagine or even “rehearse for” an end of life experience and explore the rituals centered around dying
- how the piece was simultaneously an authentic slice of life and a graceful, artful interpretation of an experience
- how safe and well looked after I felt the whole time
- the sound design & music
- watching other audience members as they experienced the piece

Having just DJ’d at my dad’s deathbed after a long fight with dementia and ALS in November, I came to the show with high expectations (which were so pleasantly exceeded). Being thrust into the action of grieving while ones loved one is still alive (as all of us inevitably one day will be/have been), our capacity to empathize expands and we are reminded of what truly matters in this human experience. It is a profound realization, and certainly one worthy of discussion in a public forum such as the theatre. With graceful movement and simple but effective design and dialogue, this massive lesson hits home. The creators also managed to capture some of beauty, wonder, and light that comes from this liminal place. I am so grateful for this contribution to the LA Theatre community! What an incredible tribute to her mom and a beautiful example for all who are healing from loss and grief.

I think it’s nice to see this piece at the beginning of an evening of shows because it leaves you feeling open to humanity and hungry to share in more stories for the rest of the night/weekend!

What I didn't like

More people need to experience this show!

My overall impression

One of the best shows I’ve seen in 9 years at Hollywood Fringe, and a Top 10 Theatrical Experience of my lifetime, for sure. Steed could teach a masterclass in making the personal universal. This show embraces the theatrical medium at its highest potential, creating a truly visceral, cathartic, and invigorating experience. I wish more creators could witness and be inspired by the piece, and hope they find a supportive home for an extended run beyond the festival.

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