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Letter: Play Is Anything But ‘Dated’

To the Editor:

My husband and I went to see The Shadow Box presented by the Parish Players in Thetford. The play focused on three families engrossed in the drama of end-of-life decisions, their feelings and coming to terms with mortality.

It was poignant, heartbreaking and at times funny as they came to terms with the realities of dying. Each story unfolded in short segments, and then the next stage lit up and took over, and so on throughout the play. After a while, the actors were so engrossing and convincing that I forgot I was sitting in the audience. I felt swallowed up inside their drama with the pain of losing their loved ones. It was intimate and so beautifully human.

It seems that your reviewer, Nicola Smith, felt none of that while she watched it, judging from her lukewarm review and her calling it “dated” and somehow not apropos. Really? Did people stop dying?

I’m really confused by how this play might be “dated” in any way. It’s really about the fragile human condition and facing mortality while we still have the wherewithal to consider death and dying. Sudden death deprives many of the opportunity to say goodbye to loved ones. Having a terminal illness gives people a chance to reflect on their life, to say the things that they never said to their loved ones, and to make peace with the inevitable. It serves as a time to remember and forgive, if anger and denial don’t take over completely, and to cherish each moment of life.

This is a play that is cogent and moving no matter the date on the calendar. Smith seems to suffer from not having empathy, and perhaps too much clinical criticism for what was a phenomenal production. Congratulations to the cast, crew and director for bringing us T he Shadow Box. Facing death should be an emotional and heartbreaking experience — for most, anyway. And despite the subject matter, this play is joyful and uplifting, keenly shining a light on what really matters in this world as we let go.

Susan Gyorky

Fairlee

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