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What would you say to your dead loved ones if you got the chance? That is the question that Veronica (Hannah Wilder) asks herself in the play Dear Dead Jason. She has recently lost her husband and has come to the decision to start a Vlog that enables her to say all the things to her dead husband that are otherwise currently piling up inside of her. Dear Dead Jason was written and directed by Jen Moss and is part of Tablespoon Theatre’s Potluck 2021 festival. In partnership with Cruse Bereavement Care, the creatives are raising awareness for their vital grief support and looking to collect donations.
Veronica’s husband has committed suicide and just like with any loss, she is heavily affected by it. To try to make sense of the situation Veronica has started recording Vlogs of herself on her couch as she talks about her emotions and sorrows. As an audience we get to join her as she undergoes all the stages of grief and slowly comes to terms with the bereavement.
As a young widower, Veronica has come to the decision that is up to her to make her beloved’s death matter and to build a legacy. As the poster girl, raising awareness for suicide prevention, she has never found herself as wanted and cared for as she does now. She receives hundreds of messages every day and is fondled like never before – but despite the attention she feels more alone than ever. And so, it doesn’t come as a surprise that her second Vlog is as far from the original enthusiastically smiling girl as can be.
Dear Dead Jason raises awareness to important topics such as depression, loss and a healthy way of grieving. The 30-minute-long monologue talks us through many of the emotions that a death may evoke and gives a good insight into the lives of the people who are left behind. Quirky emojis, videos and animated effects designed by Hugo Moss pop up on the screen every other sentence and give an insight into how much of a show Veronica is putting on in order to hide her true emotions from Jason and us. Discussing such an important and poignant topic, these theatrical choices unfortunately feel tonally off and are more disturbing than necessary. And although writer Jen Moss has hit all the important and common stages of grief, the monologue itself is delivered by Wilder without the necessary authenticity.
Dear Dead Jason discusses an important topic and explores the psychological aspects of grieving a loved one’s death. However, the modernist approach and eager attempt to make this piece relatable sadly prevent the audience from identifying with the characters and don’t allow us to be drawn into Veronica’s rollercoaster of emotions.
Dear Dead Jason is playing online until 28 March 2021. For more information and tickets visit Tablespoon Theatre’s website.