Pieces of Us

Snippets of newsreels fill the Haldane theatre as we take our seats. A cluttered stage offers glimpses of characters about to be revealed – perhaps an age, or an occupation. They are, it’s quickly apparent, representations of individuals whose accumulated losses are often shown in the News: minimised to statistics, or else heeded at largely once they have altered the system, like the generational impact of decades-long economic decline in middle America making headlines on Trump’s election. This bright spotlight of attention, followed by a move to more current affairs, cannot house the individual experience of grief. For Jessica Munna’s polemic narrator, the personal is political, and loss is the all-consuming elephant in the room. Her one-woman show explores these ideas in five character monologues from across the United States.

This piece of theatre hangs around under your fingernails long after you’ve left the theatre

These meticulously researched vignettes are plotted with great sensitivity from within various parts of a socio-political engine of loss: debt, opioid addiction, displacement. If they sometimes come across as a bit on the nose, then perhaps that self-awareness is part of the point Munna wishes to drive home. Her considerable range as a writer and performer is on full display as she pours herself into each new voice and physicality and colloquialisms with warmth and skill. The Appalachian Miner’s stoic erudition and awareness (and annoyance) and how people like us will see her contrast sharply with the Traveller’s bubbly, vivacious invitation to share her pride and delight in her family’s story. Each character address us in Brechtian style. They demand that we see them in the context of and in spite of lost dreams or jobs, and that we hold space for the sardonically funny and the gut wrenchingly sad (both abound). It’s at times an exposing position to be in as an audience member, but one I’m grateful to have experienced.

As uptight stoicism gives way to pain, and hints of if not systemic change then communal resilience emerge, Munna’s play doesn’t attempt to give closure to the dizzying questions it opens up. What it does create is a gripping, vulnerable and heartfelt a call to make time for one another’s loss in our own conversations. This piece of theatre hangs around under your fingernails long after you’ve left the theatre.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Hazel Burt

Assembly George Square Studios

Artist/Muse

★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Pieces of Us

★★★★★
C ARTS | C venues | C aquila

Photon StarBlaster and the Suicidal Spaceship

★★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Eva Cassidy Celebrating 60 Years

★★★★
theSpace @ Niddry St

Aca-ting Out

★★★
Pleasance Dome

Cowboys and Lesbians

★★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

'I would say the people are desperate for hope. They want to believe something good.' Meet different characters from sunny California, the coal mines of West Virginia, the concrete jungle of NYC and beyond to appreciate what makes us all the same: grief, love, hope. With belly laughs and bitter tears, Pieces of Us examines the isolating and polarising parts of 21st-century life from the perspectives of different American characters. It asks us to question our assumptions, be curious, and to find our compassion for others when confronted with the things that make us different.

Most Popular See More

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £46.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £42.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets