The Dead Ones

The Dead Ones
Written & Performed by Margie Fischer. Directed by Katherine Fitzgerald. Designer Kathryn Sproul. Theatre Works. 29 January to 3 February, 2013.

The Dead Ones is a moving work about sorting the goods, chattels and memories of deceased parents. It is about what to keep, and what to dispose of, and how. In a way it is the reconciling of a daughter with the memory of her childhood, youth, history and strong, hardworking and determined Jewish parents and paternal grandparents. It is a solitary journey by an only child, due to the premature loss of her brother from a rare illness in his early twenties. Therefore the volatilities that could be experienced in the sharing of the responsibility of this task with siblings are absent.  As a raw work that touches on tender feelings and vulnerabilities that are exposed by grief and intimacy it is a courageous gift from Margie Fischer - writer and performer - to her audience

The Dead Ones is a statement of experience and not a complex exploration of ambivalence or the illogical paradoxes imbedded in filial relationships. It is open to interpretation and available as a yardstick by which one can measure one’s own experience.

Both of Margie Fischer’s parents died suddenly, so there was no long protracted suffering or indeed opportunities for nurturing palliative care with its potential for profound intimacy, healing reconciliations and outpourings of grief. 

The work is measured and virtually delivered as a eulogy with revealing photographs. Although directed by Katherine Fitzgerald, her input would appear to be of refinement and consolidation rather than interpretation. As a simple and sincere presentation, not adorned or embellished it could, to some, not really be perceived as theatre.

It is an absorbing experience like having a short holiday in another family’s home. 

For this reviewer it was an enriching and enlightening experience that differs greatly from my own experience of grief and passing of ‘love ones’. I found it to be deeply moving, thought provoking and cathartic and am very glad I had the opportunity to see it.

Suzanne Sandow

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