The 7 Stages of Grieving

The 7 Stages of Grieving


Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman

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The 7 Stages of Grieving: Scene 19: Suitcase Opening Summary & Analysis

The Woman paints herself in traditional paint as if she is preparing for war. She makes an indefinable noise of great sorrow. She opens the suitcase, scattering the earth and the photos inside all over the floor. She grieves for the photographs, then leaves the stage. Images of family and landscape are projected onto the walls as loud music fills the theater.
As the Woman opens up the suitcase and scatters its contents across the stage, she attempts to unburden herself of the painful losses she has suffered. Because the suitcase is full of photographs of family members and elders who have died, the Woman’s emptying the suitcase illustrates the central conundrum she faces: to constantly grieve her many losses is too much to bear—yet to forget them altogether is unbearable in a different way, as it represents a disconnection from her culture, her family, and indeed herself. Her actions, combined with her ritual application of war paint, demonstrate that she is constantly at war with the temptation to give in to sorrow—or, conversely, to numbness.
Memory and Family Trauma Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Numbness  Theme Icon
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