The Next Stage Theatre Festival’s performance of PIECE BY PIECE is a moving story of sorrow and love. It tells the story of 3 pairs of people, each dealing with their own stories of grief. As the stories intertwine, the human nature of compassion and love emerges – that same compassion and love that brings people together during times of crisis.
Steffie is a teenager dealing with the recent loss of her mother – and the subsequent emotional loss of her father. She guides us through her story, her father’s story, and the story of the other families she observes in the hospital. Frank is a steadily declining victim of Alzheimer’s disease. Once a professor of History, Frank is now unable to care for himself and gets lost in his own history. Barb is his wife, who grieves for the loss of her husband while he still sits by her side. John and Jessie grieve children they never met, and fear the loss of their marriage.
If the emotional maturity and creative quality of this performance is an indication of the festival’s line-up this year, the Next Stage Theatre Festival should be proud of what they are contributing to Toronto theatre. Alison Lawrence’s writing is poignant and real. The natural and seamless flow of the performance as the ensemble cast moves and intertwines is impressive.