Grief. Can anyone really think of a scarier and more overwhelming pain than the one that comes with losing a loved one? I am lucky enough to say that the moment in which I will lose someone so close and important to me that I will experience grief has not yet come. But every day that passes by I fear that moment will approach, and I tremble at the thought.
As if grief was not bad enough, can you imagine grief without closure? The kind of grief that hangs on to hope for years and years, keeping the wound fresh and alert, wishing that your loss is not more than a mistake, wishing that one day the person you lost will walk through the door…
It is 1931 in Providence, Rhode Island. Nancy Kimble (Jenny McKillop) has just met seaman Jack Vail (Andrew MacDonald Smith) after Sunday’s Church service. Shortly after, Nancy begins telling Jack about her employer, Mrs Tilford (Kristi Hansen). It was then that I realized that this story was about that exactly: grief without closure.
Virgina Tilford has not heard from her husband for 10 years, after he left to Ecuador searching for silver mines. But despite what everyone in her small community has told her, she refuses to accept the truth: Virgina Tilford is a widow. Jack knows what must be done to help Mrs Tilford, and he takes it upon himself to help Virginia reconnect with herself and her life.
Well, with the help of ions of course. Yes, didn’t you know that ions are the gypsies of the particles? And that they, just like us, can be emotionally unstable? Did you know that arranging your furniture in geometrical and boring patterns really brings the poor ions down? I certainly didn’t, and judging by Virgina’s face, neither did she. With the help of ions and imagination, Jack spends a short afternoon with Virgina and Nancy, and prompts them to imagine themselves in a quest: they are going to Ecuador to find Mr. Tilford.
“Pith!” is wonderfully written, and the acting is beyond convincing. I do not remember zooming out of the play for even a moment, or concentrating on a particular actor as they performed on stage, distracted by their acting technique. No, I was dancing in a boat as we crossed the Pacific Ocean, trying to understand the Inca guide that was trying to warn us about the native tribes, too busy singing in the Ecuadorian jungle to notice that I was at a play. The characters will meet very interesting people along the way, and will go through many obstacles in their adventure. With the help of music, and the wonderful impersonations of Andrew MacDonald, you will be able to join them in their quest.
And to think that we never left the living room…
The story will leave you with a sad yet realistic message: sometimes, the only closure you will get is the one that you create yourself. It reminded me of a play I saw last year which dealt with the same difficult topic of moving on to accepting your loss when you are still stuck in denial. Yet despite the important message, Pith! is a really fun play — I think the last play I saw that made me laugh so much was Citadel’s God of Carnage.
Be sure to check out this lovely short play. I promise more laughs than tears, and a worthwhile night.
“Pith!” is presented by Teatro la Quindicina at the Varscona, and will run until October 27th
For more information visit Yeglive.ca
-Ana M. Osorio