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When Skies Are Gray

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

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Review by RUSSELL EATON

June 25, 2018 · original article

What I liked

The emotional intensity of this piece is incredible. The naturalistic style of the performances, the simplicity of staging and a hauntingly beautiful score by Dave McKeever all blend together to create an incredibly realistic experience.

Audience members became overwhelmed with emotion, openly crying.
Ashley, the creator and lead performer, gracefully maintained composure while generously allowing a safe, caring space for all of this emotion to flow around her. That sort of connection is an intimate, beautiful thing to witness in such close quarters. Actually, it is a gift to any audience lucky enough to participate.

What I didn't like

For me, this piece works well, as is. I have talked to other audience members who did yearn for more information about the backstory of the characters. I totally understand the desire to learn more since you share very emotional moments with these people but for me it was not a necessity to appreciate this play.

My overall impression

This is an incredibly effective, emotional piece of theater. The story is told in snippets as a daughter visits her dying mother in hospice care.

The simple structure makes the situation feel harshly authentic and invites the audience to relate the process to their own experiences. By the end, this feels less like a play and more like an actual real-life experience. There is no simple, strong narrative that unfolds here. You get glimpses into these women’s lives as days pass one by one. The focus is on the process of death which is unpredictable and sometimes complicated.

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