When Skies Are Gray

immersive theatre · the visceral city project · Ages 18+ · world premiere · 70 mins · United States of America

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BONNIE SLUDIKOFF certified reviewer · June 04, 2018
A truly immersive experience unlike anything else, maybe even in the whole world. I recommending going in with an open mind and not thinking about it as "going to a show." This is admittedly not a "light and fun girl's/guys night out" nor is it supposed to be. I feel like I see a lot of theatre in LA that doesn't understand its identity - this piece knows itself and that helps you feel at ease as an audience member- you are plunged into a very sad and frustrating and somber experience, and don't get me wrong-that's great. (It's like an hour, you'll be fine!) In a way it's like a weird empathy building exercise- I think there's a lot of potential educational value for this piece- it's part "..is this even theatre" and part "wow, this ... full review

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RUTH FOWLER certified reviewer · June 09, 2018
Everything about this production was brilliantly and lovingly thought out. The space - the tiny Kansas room in Thymele, lit by eerie strip lights and decked out with a simple mattress while music which sounded like someone's last breath played softly as the audience walked in. From the limited numbers of seats, to the email I received from 'Head Nurse' the evening before the experience, this was really an incredible, and difficult, production to witness and participate in. Coming straight from several enormous, lavish productions at some of the major theaters in town - productions that completely left me completely cold - it was so completely refreshing to be led into an experience which was focused, quiet, empathic and completely heartbreak... full review
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AMY RAASCH certified reviewer · June 24, 2018
tagged as: ritual · immersive · healing · powerful
"When Skies Are Gray" is more than theatre. It is a ritual for the most universal of human experiences: death. With deep care and unflinching bravery, Ashley Steed relives her mother's final days in hospice mere feet before our eyes. Bone-deep performances by Steed and the astonishing Melissa Randel confront us with the primal anguish that is not only leaving this life, but leaving each other. By play's end, we have no choice but to have lived through our own grief, fear, helplessness, and ultimately, longing for love and connection as deep as that which Ashley and her mother clearly share.... full review
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MICHAEL FONTAINE my haunt life · June 14, 2018
There’s always advice to writers of “write what you know”. “When Skies Are Gray” was written by Ashley Steed after her mother’s death. This show is a recount of the days leading up to her mother’s passing and all of the things she had to deal with. You can see the love, admiration, and selflessness that Ashley gives to her mother, even when it seems her mother might not be her usual self.... full review

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SEVEN G certified reviewer · June 24, 2018
tagged as: poetic · Realistic · poignant · heartbreaking
A brilliant show that manages to pull you into your heart center even if you don’t want to go there. I don’t want to give too much away but prepare to experience what dying and losing a parent is really like; and it’s not like in TV. As a therapist who has worked with a lot of grief: this play is cathartic and very important and a rare gem: to have the space to really let ourselves connect with these primal feelings of loss that our society runs away from, denies, hides or drowns in alcohol & drugs. ... full review

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VICTORIA HOFFMAN certified reviewer · June 17, 2018
This is a truly unique, immersive experience. It's everything you want in a Fringe experience.... full review

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LAUREN FLANS certified reviewer · June 15, 2018
This show fucking wrecked me. Without exaggeration, it's the hardest piece of theatre I've ever seen. I don't usually write Fringe reviews for about twenty different reasons, but I felt like I had to for this one because it was so exceptional. Ashley is incredible and doesn't have a single false moment. The actress playing her mother is unreal. The whole conceit of the show was perfect to me. I'd be wary of seeing it if you've suffered a loss that's still raw or are currently going through one; I cried like a MOTHERFUCKER from about two minutes in til the end, and I don't even fall into one these categories. Loved it. Absolutely devastating. The end.... full review

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ALEX WRIGHT certified reviewer · June 23, 2018
Absolutely stunning. Ashley has created a profound piece of art, and I felt honored to witness and partake in this journey. Couldn't recommend it more. ... full review

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ANDY JONES-LIANG certified reviewer · June 13, 2018
This was my first experience with immersive theatre, and what a profound first experience this was. Ashley has created a space for the audience to work through the grieving process alongside the mother & daughter characters, and to reflect on how we work through grief in our own lives. This was an unflinching look at the slow, arduous process of losing a loved one, and while it was uncomfortable, it was also done with so much tenderness and respect. We were in tears at the end. When the lights came up, there was a moment where the audience stayed seated, taking that moment to process in silence. We looked at each other as if to say, "What now?" It was that sort of effect, that contemplation on how we sit within grief, how we move on from it ... full review

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MARK HEIN theatre ghost, better lemons · June 04, 2018
tagged as: gentle · harrowing · spare · powerful · unique
In a brief hour in this small room, Steed’s artwork takes us far, on journeys deep into our own lives — our fiercest loves and losses, our unspoken fears, our regrets. Ghosts fill the space, charging the air with emotion and meaning. We are fortunate to have this “professional make believer” (as Steed describes herself) making her art in our city. And fortunate that she can find such fine collaborators. An experience like no other at Fringe. Or anywhere.... full review

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