The whole is less than the sum of its parts (with sincere apologies to Aristotle).
The set is filled with what would appear to be totally unrelated objects: a walker, keyboard, wig, headphones, and a radio boom box, to name but a few. A glimpse perhaps into Erin’s mind or any one’s mind for that matter.
Erin Leddy lived with her grandmother for a year in 2001 and recorded her remembrances and thoughts on tape. My Mind is Like an Open Meadow is the fruition of those tapes. It is a work of great charm and nostalgia filled with both joy and sadness. It is also a hodgepodge. It’s an engaging story with a wavering through-line.
The production is the result of the work of many very talented people. Jonathan Walters has done an excellent job meeting the challenge of piecing together 17 separate segments. The other-worldly music by Ash Black Bufflo is interesting and appropriate. Lighting (Christopher Kuhl), sound (Casi Pacilio), and costumes (Anna Cohen) each add another layer to the finished product. The choreography (Jane Paik) includes a great deal of running and jumping about. It is for the most part effective, but at times seems too much of a good thing.
It is essentially a one-woman show written and performed by Erin Leddy, with the voice on tape of Sarah Braveman. There’s a wide span of emotions communicated in dialogue, song and movement. There is also an interesting contrast between the two characters. Erin’s general outlook on life for the most part (there are exceptions) appears to be negative.
She conveys some of these feelings in song: “I know what tomorrow brings, and it won’t be pretty, and it won’t be easy, and you won’t be graceful,” and offering the apology “….every time I went to write a song about you it was about you falling apart or dying.”
In contrast, Grandma frequently seems to be the welcome voice of optimism and reality (with which we can choose to agree or disagree).
“I like to laugh. You have to. Cuz life is very, very difficult and if you really looked at it, it would be impossible to go on. So you find something. You find love, you find laughter, you find light. And if you can’t find it, you create it.”
“All kinds of things can happen, but you can still be joyous. Not really to be attached to anything. To let it go.”
The piece has concluded its limited engagement in this venue, but you can be assured that all those who put so much love and work and talent into My Mind is Like an Open Meadow will continue to express their remarkable creativity.
Presented by Hand2Mouth Theatre
Written and Performed by Erin Leddy
Directed by Jonathan Walters