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Adie Mueller’s emotionally enlightening story in Another Goodbye trickles over the heartstrings of loss, love, grief and family connections. This audio piece, beautifully directed by Peader Kirk, allows the listener to hear and reflect as we are submerged in an instant meditative practice of watching our breath every step of the way.
Mueller’s story begins with her precise German dialect giving a warmth to the piece, as she begins to tell us of her sick mother who has requested to die. Although this process of death that we are lead through is awfully devastating to hear, it is the pure human nature embedded within Mueller’s anecdote that ignites a sense of pride and unity within the performance. Especially as the story falls just at the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic, this rippling relation to loss is something that has unfortunately reached all of us. However, Another Goodbye is like taking a microscope to the wider picture of trauma that has occurred in the past year and focussing it on the intimate web of feelings caused by a family loss.
Armin Lorenz Gerold’s soundscape perfectly envelopes that whirring unsteadiness that comes with grief. But also, the gentle serenity of the peaceful forest where Mueller’s mother was buried. The marriage of these sounds with Mueller’s personal account brings life and body to the story. In a way, this production is a metaphorical tribute to her mother that manages to capture the raw subtleties of life in this blend of audio styles.
Initially, we are invited into the story by a male voice who remains nameless. His position seems to be that of a meditation leader. In small intervals between each section of the audio, we are encouraged to look around us, caress our hands, listen to the kettle boil. These simplicities, this quietness and presence are laced into us from the first moments, and I imagine it to be the resonating coping tactics that support us when dealing with such experiences of grief. We are allowed to break the story and be within our environments. As individuals. But also connected by Mueller’s words and the wisdom within them.
I am unsure if it was the connection between Mueller’s story and my own personal reflections, or the beautifully written reality woven into the story; either way, I was truly touched by Mueller and Kirk’s production to a level where I shared this family’s pain, even though they were settled in the mountains of Germany and I was nestled in East London.
Another Goodbye is playing on The Place Theatre Bedford website until 27 May 2021. For more information and tickets, see The Place Bedford Theatre online.