Piece By Piece

Alison Lawrence weaves together tales of grief in this moving Next Stage play

Presented by the mcguffin company
Written by Alison Lawrence
Directed by David Ferry

Mary Francis Moore and Virgilia Griffith in Piece By Piece.

Alison Lawrence’s Piece By Piece explores the rough terrain of grief through the experiences of six very different characters whose lives converge by chance in the ICU of a Toronto hospital. The play is narrated by 16-year-old Steffie (Virgilia Griffith), who spends her days in the chaos of the hospital to distract herself from the recent loss of her beloved mother.

As its title suggests, the play presents a montage of moments that are punctuated by raw and entertaining monologues in which Steffie regales the audience with amusing observations, and reveals her deepest fears. The script jumps somewhat haphazardly around as we follow three separate scenarios of profound loss. While Steffie grapples with her alcoholic father’s neglect, Jessie (Mary Francis Moore) and John (John Cleland) struggle to deal with Jessie’s crippling depression, and elderly Barb (Linda Goranson) comes to terms with her husband Frank’s (Terrence Bryant) Alzheimer’s. In the face of adversity, the characters come together in unexpected ways to ensure that all is not doom and gloom.

This is an entertaining and consoling exploration of the ways in which mental illness and grief touch both the sufferers and those around them. Griffith delivers a standout performance as Steffie, with strong efforts from the supporting cast. While the dialogue is excellent and the multi-purpose minimalist set is nicely executed, the play could benefit from some structural tightening. Overall, however, Lawrence’s meditation on mental illness, loss and grief leaves you with a glimmer of hope and a lot to think about.

Piece by Piece runs until January 18 as part of the Next Stage Theatre Festival (Factory Theatre Mainspace 125 Bathurst St.). Visit fringetoronto.com for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Wed, 2015-01-07 - Sun, 2015-01-18
Our rating:


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.