Things to Avoid in a Eulogy

Drama · gray area productions · Ages 17+ · United States of America

Content Warning world premiere
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June 19, 2023 original article

What I liked

Jill (Lindsay Seim) answers an ad at Craigs List that sounds too good to be true—free room, good pay, just to take care of/keep someone company. Sandra (Jennifer Ashe), it turns out, is dying of cancer. She doesn’t want to die alone, and knows she’ll need some help soon. She will pay very, very well. And she hires Jill.

What follows is an emotional odyssey between two women of different generations and worlds—what they have in common, what they disagree about, how they have reacted to the world, what each wants, how they (eventually) feel about one another. It proves extremely moving, as well as gently (sometimes savagely) funny as hell. Among other things, and honestly everything else is ultimately very charming minutia, it is a portrait of growing courage—physical, emotional, intellectual.

And, it is about love. I sometimes think far too many plays (and novels, movies, etc.) confuse love with desire, or treat it as a beautiful weakness. Which is fair, but there’s more to it than either of those. More, this play demonstrates a functional love story can be exactly as compelling as the most dysfunctional kind.

Kudos also to the director Thomas Bigley, not only for fostering this story as it is told by two wonderful actors, but also helping keep the momentum going between scenes (a sometimes daunting task, but helped enormously by how much we care about these people).

What I didn't like

I suppose with practice the interim between scenes might be shortened.

My overall impression

Go see this play. That is my simplest, most heart-felt reaction and review. I mean it. Donnie Jarman’s play hit me in the gut and the heart. It is a profound piece, not in terms of ideas or action, but for the emotional depths it reaches and explores, with compassion and humor.

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