Total Eclipse: In a Moment, My Mum is Going to Step Out of the Moon

On one hand, Moving Pieces Theatre Company has a bold mission statement: 'We combine performing arts with the containment of psycho-therapeutic practices and emergent ideas relating to neuroscience.' On the other, this is a piece of visceral physical theatre that grabs the attention of the audience with absurdity, pathos and a close eye for psychological detail.

Finer performances would be hard to find

Lily (Charlie Blowers) and Paco (José Parra) are in a faltering relationship. They are climbing a mountain to view a total eclipse of the moon. Lily ‘knows’ that the spirit of her recently deceased mother will use this moment to visit her in some significant way. Paco, also struggling with the recent death of his own mother, just wants to eat a picnic and drink beer.

Here we have an archetypal struggle between Lily’s apparent flights of supernatural fancy and Paco’s down to earth practicality. Between over immersion in grief, and under immersion, and the consequent inability to connect because of this.

Using the principle of ‘transparency’ taken from clowning (where every emotion is displayed plainly in each moment, from elation to devastation) we are taken on an exhilarating journey from disconnection towards connection, via catharsis. Neither Lily nor Paco can get their needs met unless they change, but neither of them are able to make the first move. It takes a catalyst (a total eclipse) to provide momentum for something more profound than reconciliation between two people; an acceptance of that which has not been accepted. The result is an unflinching facing-up to the mysteries of death, bereavement and its effect on those left behind.

However, this is not a tragedy. Physical theatre and clowning are the perfect media for a story of this kind, enabling moments of drama and hilarity, sacredness and profanity. Emotion that would normally remain unseen is laid bare for all to see. From tear-jerking sadness to belly laugh absurdity, this is an uplifting piece of theatre that seeks to reintroduce us to our heart’s desire: connection.

Henderson and Parra devised this show after they themselves lost their mothers, and it bears the hallmark of authenticity because of this. Finer performances would be hard to find in this masterclass of physical theatre. The audience were rapturous in their applause for a show that is as well-crafted as it is sincere, as moving as it is inspiring. Brilliant!

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The Blurb

A humorous, playful, truthful and thought provoking piece of theatre, which challenges taboos and explores the impact of grief on our relationships and mental health. Lily and Paco's relationship is in crisis after having both lost their mothers in the same year. They arrive at the top of a mountain in anticipation of a total lunar eclipse. Lily believes that the spirit of her mother is going to step forward from the Moon during the eclipse to say goodbye to her, while Paco just wants to relax, enjoy a picnic and take a few pictures.

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