Sweet Disasterdirected by Ken Prestininzi
with David Hopkins’ animated films
video design by Elliott Mazzola
Perishable Theatre, Providence, RI
April-May 2008

Reviews

“Sweet Disaster, the earthquake of a play by Charlotte Meehan, may not topple any of our convictions about how the world works. But that’s only because it reminds us how we stumble over our existential rubble every day.”

— Bill Rodriguez, The Providence Phoenix

“Sweet Disaster is not a play for traditionalists, people who like tidy, conventional theater with all the dots connected.”

— Channing Gray, The Providence Journal

Photos taken by set designer Sara Ossana, who won Providence’s 2008-09 Motif magazine best set design award for Sweet Disaster.

(l-r) Elise Morrison, Luis Astudillo, Elizabeth Anne Keiser

Elise Morrison

Sweet Disaster scene - picture 3

(l-r) Elizabeth Anne Keiser, Luis Astudillo, Gloria Crist, RBobby

Stephanie Burlington Daniels

(l-r) Gloria Crist, Elizabeth Anne Keiser, RBobby

Puppet made by Nina Alexander

Poster design: Povilas Mecys

Excerpt

A
I don’t know who I should have been.

C
Or who I could have been.

D
Or who I might have been.

E
(a voiceover, always)
Or who I was.

A
I don’t know who I should have been.

C
Or who I could have been.

D
Or who I might have been.

E
Or who I was.

B
What I need to do are the following things:

D
Somehow my brain fell into pieces.

B
Face how much money I actually have and spend only that.

C
I want to understand you.

B
Stop buying clothes to make myself look thinner.

C
I don’t understand you.

B
Lose weight so I can look good in the clothes I have.

C
I’m trying so hard to understand you.
If only you would. . .

A
Clean out my drawers and all the bags of papers and clothes all over the house.

C
If only you. . .

E

Deal with what is, not what I wish were.

C
If only. . .
If I. . .

A
If only I. . .

B
Yes. That’s it. Just those things. And those things only.

C
I want —

A
(interrupting)
I also need to rest.

D
Interruption —

FACILITATOR
(only talks to HER, ever)
And when you share, you feel better.

E
And then I said to myself,
Where is my mother?
I can’t feel my shoulder.

A
Yes. Do you have any tea?
Tea makes me feel better.

B
I feel.
I feel better.
I’m a feeler.

FACILITATOR
We don’t provide beverages.

This play was developed and this production made possible by a 2006-08 artist residency in Perishable Theatre’s RAPT program under the leadership of Executive Artistic Director Vanessa Gilbert. An earlier version of the piece was developed during a residency David Hopkins and I shared in HERE Arts Center’s 2002-03 HARP program under the leadership of Artistic Director Kristin Marting.

Very special thanks to Elana Greenfield for dramaturgical support and to Jessica Takach, my principal research assistant while a student at Wheaton College, who helped me gather source materials from biblical excerpts to life insurance company claim forms.