Everyone here at Geva was sad to say goodbye to Informed Consent, which closed last Sunday after a fun and inspiring run. The cast and the set moved to Cleveland a week from yesterday and it sounds like they are all settled in. (The playwright and director were also there a little less than a year ago, developing the script. You can read about that trip here. How time flies!) Informed Consent is following in the footsteps of our co-production of Clybourne Park, which transferred to Cleveland Play House last month.
“Wait!” Jillian says.
There was one thing left to do before Informed Consent was totally out of the building… take down our Share Your Story wall. If you came to one of the performances or walked through our lobby during the past few weeks, you likely noticed the sprawling mosaic of green, blue, red, and yellow cards covering several walls around the entrance to the Mainstage.
For the course of the play’s run, there was a table in the lobby with stacks of cards, pens, and bowls. Audience members were encouraged to share their own stories. Each color of card had a different question:
BLUE What were your first thoughts after losing a loved one?
RED Where/when did you first see your love?
YELLOW Tell us about your child!
During each performance, the actors would read some of the replies (read one critic’s take on this theatrical device here) during a part of the play around that theme. For example, when Jillian and Graham told the story of how they met at a children’s bookstore, all the characters read aloud from the red notecards, adding the audience’s own love stories to the play. “We met at Wal-Mart – you can find anything there” was a big hit.
The replies we received ranged from silly and sassy to true and sad, with a few unbelievable stories in between… And interestingly enough, there were trends.
Many Rochesterians remind their families in hard times that “this too shall pass” and that “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” For the most part, parents take pride in their children and enjoy becoming friends rather than guardians as their kids grow up. Lots of lovers met their loves at high school and college dances or on blind dates and online. Unsurprisingly, the greatest variety of reactions was towards losing a loved one: guilt, glee, extreme depression, and most often, appreciation for the solace the loved one could now have.
In the end, audience members shared hundreds of stories through the notecards, both in performances and on the wall, and the conversations they sparked. Thank you to everyone who participated! And more stories will be shared as Cleveland Play House builds their own “Share Your Story” wall…