Death and Coffee

immersive theatre · annie lesser · Ages 7+ · United States of America

world premiere
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June 23, 2018 certified reviewer

What I liked

I like immersive theater. I like feeling like I am a part of the fictional reality of the play. The performer is very good at drawing you in, so that it feels like a real conversation that you feel a part of and involved in. I appreciated getting an email afterwards with photographs of Annie and her grandfather.

What I didn't like

I had an interesting response to this piece because it didn’t match my expectations. Given the one to one quality and the title, I expected it to be a mix of the actor/writers story ( In this case about her relationship with her grandfather and his death) and whatever I chose to share about my relationship with the topic of death. I expected it to be a piece that would change each time it was done. Instead, I thought it was a one person show that used the immersive quality and non traditional setting to enhance the play but not to change it. My fantasy is that you could take this play word for word, and put it on a stage in front of an audience and it would still work. The fact that there are only two people, sitting in an apartment, where the actor can touch your arm or hand you a sweater, makes it feel like a conversation. It adds to the immediacy and intimacy of the play. It increased my involvement and increases the emotional intensity of the show and the warm feeling I had as I left. But it doesn’t change the plot of the show. So the show works, and I think it does what the author intended, But I still feel like it could have utilized its audience more fully.

My overall impression

This is the first time I have gone to a play where the audience was just me. The play is a conversation about the performers relationship with her grandfather, and about his death, and about the way we assume other people are judging us. It takes place in an apartment over a cup of coffee ( or tea). Though it is actually quite short. It doesn’t feel it. It feels rich and involving.

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