Who are we? Ashley Sharpe and Geraldine Gibbons from Arch SixtyTwo. A four-person theatre company based in Worcester, creating theatre that is unconventional and true to the creators.
What did we do? One show, forty minutes, three parts: death, grief and funerals. A light-hearted look at death and how it impacts us all. Yes, you too! Even if you don’t know it.
How are we holding up? We face scary times and being part of a community is now more important than ever. Now is a time where we look for things that connect us, rather push us apart.
Theatre has the ability to bring a group of strangers together in one moment. A sense of connection. Ironically, this is what sparked the beginnings of Good Grief. The idea of a subject that connects all of us: Death.
The show runs an unspoken parallel. It is as much about life, and performance liveness, as it is about exploring the topic of death. We (Gerry and Ash) are loosely scripted, though the script acts mainly as a through line, a guidance. Additions of audience participation, songs, spontaneous wit and improvisation keep the show feeling alive, and therefore mirroring the unpredictability of life.
Stylistically the show is very much a product of who we are. Ash has a background in musical direction and Gerry a background in authentic performance and comedy. We, and consequently the piece, are very transparent. It was important to us that Good Grief was an honest show about people, including ourselves, and a celebration of life.
A normal devising rehearsal would be spent chatting about death/funerals and all that comes along with it; the music, its weird quirks. We wanted the show to be conversational, so we would often record our chats and unpick the ideas. Once collated, we reached out to have these conversations with others via Skype, online surveys and letters. We then present those on stage, carrying on the conversation with the audience.
We will still be continuing with this project and are eager to listen and share as many stories/memories relating to death, grief and funerals as possible. If you feel you would like to share, please get in touch.
@noffmag / firstname.lastname@example.org