The Seven Stages of Grieving

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This finely-wrought import from Australia concerns a topic we Americans are only now getting around to acknowledging here:  how a “superior,” white-dominated culture dealt with Indigenous people’s lives, and deaths. 

Written by two Aboriginal writer/director/actors, Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman, the 20-year-old, less-than-seventy minutes, play stars another Aussie First-Nation actor, Chenoa Deemal. This play informs us of how much ancient history underscores these particular aborigines’ current lives.

Chenoa Deemal – Photo by Justin Harrison

On a bare stage, save a mound of red earth, signifying land so important to the Aboriginal culture, props are placed within circles of glowing stones that the actor has set.

“The themes in 7 Stages have relevance in the USA as there are many shared experiences between Australia and America’s First Nations people, Latinx and Black communities. These stories engage the Los Angeles community with an inspiration to stand-up to current social injustices and continue the conversation to create change,” says producer Josh Thorburn. “As the writers express in this piece, in the end it isn’t something you read or write that changes your life or the lives of others. It’s something you do.”

Clearly positive in this viewpoint, we in the audience are much enlightened to what we have little or no personal knowledge of, which is – natch – informative and fascinating. 

Chenoa Deemal – Photo by Justin Harrison

Learning about any culture is worth the effort and Ms. Deemal’s performance illuminates much of the text’s quiet admonitions and educating talk. 

After learning what I did during this experience, I can highly recommend audiences flocking to watch this timely show unfurl its wisdom to us.

Directed by Jason Klarwein. Produced by Nate Jones, Josh Thorburn, Gary Grossman, Sam Cook.

The 7 Stages of Grieving” plays at the Skylight Theatre, 1816½ North Vermont, Los Angeles, CA 90027, through November 24th, 2019. 8:00pm on Thursdays, 8:30pm Fridays and Saturdays, 3:00pm on Sundays.

Tickets: $20 – $35. Reservations: (866) 811-4111, http://www.unitedtix.org or http://www.skylighttix.com