When Skies Are Gray
immersive theatre the visceral city project · Ages 18+ · world premiere · United States of America
Review by RUTH FOWLERJune 09, 2018 certified reviewer
What I liked
I love immersive theater so everything about this – waiting outside, being told to don masks and use hand sanitizer, the quietness of Mother’s room, the sense of sadness and unease in the tiny audience, all of whom seemed to draw together as Ashley and Mother cracked their hearts open in front of us, and then poured the contents in our laps…. everything worked. Everything was incredible.
What I didn't like
I really loved this. From a personal point of view I wondered if Ashley could have shown us if she’d experienced any rage or impatience with her Mother during her demise – but perhaps this wasn’t her experience at all and this is really not the kind of production you can criticize for not showing what you want, as it’s so personal…. so think of that as more of a query than a suggestion for improvement (and apologies for the state of this review – I’m exhausted but wanted to write now before I forgot).
My overall impression
Everything about this production was brilliantly and lovingly thought out. The space – the tiny Kansas room in Thymele, lit by eerie strip lights and decked out with a simple mattress while music which sounded like someone’s last breath played softly as the audience walked in. From the limited numbers of seats, to the email I received from ‘Head Nurse’ the evening before the experience, this was really an incredible, and difficult, production to witness and participate in. Coming straight from several enormous, lavish productions at some of the major theaters in town – productions that completely left me completely cold – it was so completely refreshing to be led into an experience which was focused, quiet, empathic and completely heartbreaking with acting which was understated but utterly convincing. This show really made my week even while it broke my heart.