Loss, Grief and Green Sneakers with Windfall
Windfall Theatre presents a limited engagement of a musical by Ricky Ian Gordon
The problem with so much non-behavioral psychology is that it is an extravagant attempt to build fabulously complex and intricate concepts on foundations made of jello. In neurology class, they tell you why the human brain is convoluted. In psychology class, they can tell you why the human mind is convoluted, but it’s not very comforting. With respect to the loss of a loved one, many point to a rather quaint model created by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross that recognizes five stages of grief—Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. And as nice and cozy as that model may seem, Kübler-Ross ended up pointing out that not everyone goes through these five stages in the same order . . . or even necessarily at all. So it’s not really a model then is it? It’s a vague collection of ideas that may provide comfort to some . . .or not . . . y’know . . . whatever.
It’s actually a huge relief that not everyone grieves in the same way. It means we’re all very different in how we heal from different tragedies. The human psyche has an endless array of different ways to recover from loss. Some time ago, composer Ricky Ian Gordon lost his partner to AIDS by developing a modern “opera for baritone, empty chair, string quartet and piano. The song cycle, which debuted on World AIDS day in 2008 makes it to Windfall Theatre this week for a limited engagement at Village Church Arts.
Deeply emotive musical theatre talent Larry Birkett stars as Ricky Ian Gordon in the production accompanied by Nancy Maio, Jessicca Williams, Maria Gesiorak and Beth Bender. One of the smallest performance spaces in town, Windfall’s home at Village Church Arts is perfect for a musical of this nature . . . kind of a contemporary chamber orchestra piece with some spoken word thrown-in. The narrative tells of the composer’s loss of his partner, finding a pair of green shoes they had bought together and the general process of mourning the loss of his love.