THE STORY: Inspired by her experiences in Paris at the famed Père Lachaise Cemetery—the final resting place of such legendary artists as Richard Wright and Jim Morrison—award-winning playwright/performer Dael Orlandersmith explores the strange way we form powerful bonds with people who, though unrelated to us by blood, come to feel like family. Observing strangers from around the world making pilgrimages to their favorite artist’s grave, Orlandersmith investigates the complex legacy she received from her mother—a legacy of bitterness, abuse, and frustration, but also of poetry, music, and art.
“In this raw and haunting work about her troubled youth and the rocky path she forged out of it, Ms. Orlandersmith illuminates in acid-etched detail her fraught relationship with her mother, who was abusive and alcoholic but also set an example in her hunger for books and music…” —NY Times. “…if we, the audience, must revisit [Orlandersmith’s] painful history, can’t we be kidded through the hardest incidents? Is there a part where mother and daughter cry and forgive, like in the movies? No…If Orlandersmith refuses to pander to us, denying us our pat Hollywood closure, she herself embodies the hope implicit in her story.” —LA Times. “…a simple, emotional journey through the eyes of one woman…Dael Orlandersmith, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and acclaimed dramatist, is a powerhouse…” Entertainment Weekly.