Watching Glory Die
was presented at
Grand Canyon Theatre,
2 Osler Street, Toronto ON
February 19-23 & 26-29
Directed by:Kendra Jones
Cast: Pip Dwyer, Jennifer McEwen & Kaitlin Race
Stage Manager: Marvin Araneta
Sound Designer: John Norman
Lighting Designer: Sebastain Quinn Hoodless
Producers: Breanna Dillon, Jennifer McEwen Dysart & Kaitlin Race
WATCHING GLORY DIE by Judith Thompson
A mother mourns. A guard struggles. A troubled young woman is alone with her thoughts.
Three women, inextricably tied to one another, wrestle with the slow and undeniable realization that despite their efforts, they cannot escape the system which has brought them to this brink, and won’t release them. Inspired by a true story. Watching Glory Dieis a meditation on isolation, loss, and our need for connection.
"The production is terrific. It’s beautifully, vividly directed by Kendra Jones. A large swath of elasticized material is spread on the floor in what looks like a bow-tie shape. There is also a black chair stage left.
Kendra Jones directs with simplicity, focus, sensitivity, muscle and some of the most vivid imagery I’ve seen in a long time. The swath of material at times acts as the bars of Glory’s cell, or the small opening in her cell door through which her food is passed (kudos also to Sebastian Quinn Hoodless’ lighting), restraints to bind her and a rope to entrap her.
The three characters are all dressed in drab green sweaters and pants and dark shoes. Having them dress the same suggests that they are all trapped in that same world, enduring it in their own way.
The acting is superb...
With such a hard subject who would I recommend this for? I’d recommend this for anybody who wants bracing, challenging theatre; anybody who wants to see indie theatre done wonderfully well. Love2 Theatre Company and Impel Theatre are doing just that; and anybody who wants to be put in a world unlike their own for a close, uncomfortable look into a penal system that needs to be re-examined.
The woman behind me was sobbing loudly by the end of the play. When the play was over I turned around and asked if she was ok. She had recovered slightly. She said that she worked in that world. It was hard. The producers urge us to try and fix a system that needs fixing by taking action. Judith Thompson does not let us off lightly to just go off comfortably into the night. Her play makes us turn around and ask someone in obvious distress, “Are you ok?” I’m grateful for this play and this wonderful production for that at least and so much more." ~Lynn Slotkin
"Race’s guileless intensity disarms you completely and pulls you into the truth of her fraught reality.
Dwyer shows us, with vivid nuances, Gail’s uncertain grasp on her own narrative.
In the role, McEwen reveals her flair for persuasive, telling gestures that tug the audience into her confidence before she utters a single line.
While each of these women are very much alone in their frustration and grief, Thompson’s script and the actors convey a deep, unspoken connection. Director Kendra Jones gives this link tangible form in her intensely physical staging. She has us fixate on a length of fabric that binds all three women. As they stretch and pull, Glory is often caught within its folds, paradoxically tethered yet somehow out of reach...
Disrupting that perceived boundary between performer and audience, the powerful finale of Watching Glory Die is somehow both bleak and eerily transcendent." ~Istvan Dugalin
"Watching Glory Die is a call to action. Judith Thompson’s play is based on the true events surrounding the death of Ashley Smith, a teenage inmate at Kitchener’s Grand Valley Institution. If you’ve heard of the tragic story, you’ll know that after an exceedingly long period in solitary confinement, Smith strangled herself in her cell while under suicide watch. The incident raised many questions about the treatment of inmates in Canadian prisons and director Kendra Jones’s take on the work further amplifies them". ~Mae Smith
"This ‘Watching Glory Die’ is powerfully moving with resonating performances that remained with me long after the curtain call." ~Joe Szekeres