Review: Newest Persephone production captures heartfelt loss, grief and hope

Photo Credit: Jennifer Dawn Bishop and Skye Brandon, who play spouses, work on a scene in the rehearsal hall for This Is How We Got Here by Keith Barker, playing on the Main Stage in Rawlco Radio Hall Jan. 31 to Feb. 11. (Photo by Olivia Swerhone-Wick)

Live theatre has the power to move us through the silliest trifles and the deepest losses. This is How We Got Here manages moments of humour with a chuckle here and there, but mainly navigates some of the darkest moments of grief and loss. While it is not perfect, it is a powerful and heart-wrenching story of two parents who have lost a child to suicide.

The story begins with a legend of a fox who tells many stories but has lost his own. This legend is interspersed throughout a non-linear tale of Paul (Danny Knight) and Lucille (Kathleen MacLean) who have reached the one-year anniversary of their son’s passing. The couple has split up, and Lucille is spending much of her time and grief outside her sister’s home in the company of a wild fox. Bouncing through the timeline of events and the legend of the fox, the story extrapolates on the longing and pain of losing a loved one to suicide and depression.

The performances from the whole cast are superb despite a pair of line stumbles near the beginning at the Thursday preview. Once the nerves were out, they hit their stride and brought tears to the audience throughout the show. MacLean began her performance with a heart-breaking monologue about all the wonderful and terrible things that could not have happened to her as a mother; this denial seemed the only way to cope with the loss of her son.

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