This honest piece about grief and finding support in the aftermath of a tragic loss is well grounded and relatable.
Created for Tablespoon Theatre’s digital festival Potluck, Dear Dead Jason is a short and concise play surrounding themes of grief, suicide and adjustment to life without someone that you love.
Based around the experiences of writer and director Jen Moss, we follow the story of Veronica who has recently been made a widow following the death of her partner who took his own life. Through it we see her struggling to deal with not only her own emotions but the difficulty in finding the support that is desperately needed in the aftermath of such a tragic loss.
Told with frankness and honesty, a lot of what is said in the play is utterly relatable and is never sugarcoated in any way – particularly when Veronica proclaims: “you know there’s an issue when Netflix checks in on you more than people do”. In this one quote alone it highlights the fact that people find it difficult to talk about death and how to approach it when someone is suffering in grief to the point that they find it easier to move away from the person in question to avoid awkward conversations. There are so many of lines like this dotted throughout this script that really stick with you and ensure that it is relatable.
While at times it seems as though the use of gifs, memes, emojis, lip syncs might seem distracting and light hearted additions visually considering the seriousness of the subject, they actually can be quite effective in emphasising a certain point – making it feel sharper, particularly when brought to life in an innovative way by Hugo Moss.
This is an emotionally raw piece of writing, bringing together memories with the present with a bittersweetness that keeps the audience completely involved with Veronica’s story and the growing sense of her isolation from other people and the world around her. But just as importantly it highlights the complexity of grief and the importance of seeking help from the right source to help get through it.
Dear Dead Jason is performed with great thoughtfulness by Hannah Wilder, who captures all of Veronica’s conflicting thoughts and emotions with sensitivity and charm. The way in which grief causes her physical pain is heartbreaking to watch and you sense the character’s desperation about moving forward and trying to get her life back – it is a performance that has been nicely judged.
Overall, it is an important piece of writing that could use further development to explore the issues raised in a bit more depth. This being said, it deals with the topics with great sensitivity and insight and is completely relatable.
By Emma Clarendon
Dear Dead Jason is being shown as pat of the Potluck Festival until the 28th March.