The Tibetan Book of the Dead

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By Jean Claude van Itallie

Directed by Katrina Stevenson

Mar. 21 – 31, 2002

Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center for the Performing Arts

Gallery Cast & Crew Season

Winner!

  • Weekly Planet 2002 Top Ten Production

The Ensemble of Jobsite's The Tibetan Book of the Dead. (Photo by Brian Smallheer.)The Tibetan Book of the Dead follows the dying one into the afterlife and beyond, as the soul journeys to rebirth, capturing one of the most powerful religious texts humankind has known. The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a guidebook to be read aloud to the dying or deceased; it gives practical, navigational instructions through the Tibetan afterlife. This manual instructs the living as well as the dead to remain alert, to be fearless, and remain undistracted by the trivialities of daily living.

The intrigue of the script is not only with the words and message written by the playwright, but also the unlimited possibilities between the lines of text. The fluidity of an oral ritual allows greater freedom for expression through voice, body, and spirit; there is no limitation by concepts of character, setting or plot. Emotion, symbolism and thought are able to take physical form on the stage in clear images rather than being inferred.

Director’s Note

The Ensemble of Jobsite's The Tibetan Book of the Dead. (Photo by Brian Smallheer.)“The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a guidebook to be read aloud to the dying or deceased; it gives practical, navigational instructions through the Tibetan afterlife. What struck me is that this manual would have invaluable instructions for the living as well as the dead: to remain alert, to be fearless and remain undistracted by the trivialities of daily living.

“My love for this script began not only the words and message within it, but also the unlimited possibilities I saw between the lines of text. The fluidity of an oral ritual allows greater freedom for expression through voice, body, and spirit; we are not limited to concepts of character, setting or plot. Emotion, symbolism and thought are able to take physical form on the stage in clear images rather than being inferred. We as an ensemble have endeavored to create the world the dying one must pass through using our individual and communal responses to the ritual. Within the sounds and pictures created in this space, you will see how the deeply personal impulses of the ensemble create a universal story.

“To me, mortality is something to be contemplated, but never obsessed on. Living is beautiful; dying is beautiful; and every experience is a thing of beauty, not to be judged good or evil but accepted for what it is a lesson.” – Katrina Stevenson

Gallery

The Ensemble of Jobsite's The Tibetan Book of the Dead. (Photo by Brian Smallheer.)The Ensemble of Jobsite's The Tibetan Book of the Dead. (Photo by Brian Smallheer.)The Ensemble of Jobsite's The Tibetan Book of the Dead. (Photo by Brian Smallheer.)

Cast & Crew

  • Katrina Stevenson – Director

Ensemble

  • Summer Bohnenkamp
  • Shawn Paonessa
  • Christen Petitt Hailey
  • Harry Richards
  • Grace Santos Feeney
  • Joan Strauman
  • Mark Trent
  • Caitlin Eason – Assistant Director/Stage Manager

Crew

  • Dickie Corley – Light, Sound and Scenic Designer
  • Brian M. Smallheer – Light, Sound and Scenic Designer

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