Monday, September 15, 2014

My Father’s Ashes

My Father’s Ashes
Written and Directed by Tom Slot
Produced by Original Binding Productions

Nomination: Milee Bang is nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Featured Role

Photos by Tom Slot

About this Production

On the one-year anniversary of their father's death, three sisters return to their childhood home to scatter his ashes. But a brutal winter snow, their judgmental mother, and years of unresolved baggage threaten to derail the memorial before it even begins. As secrets and insecurities are exposed at every turn, can these three sisters overcome their sibling dynamic long enough to mourn their father? Or will the night leave their relationships so fractured that they can never go home again.

Writer and Director Tom Slot and actress Milee Bang talk about working on this production that dealt with the heavy emotional material of love, loss and family.


What attracted you to this project?

Tom: When I wrote My Father's Ashes I was very interested in exploring the different ways people deal with the death of a family member and how they process grief. On top of all the natural feelings of loss and mortality you suddenly have to layer in the sibling and family dynamics as well. That can be a delicate balancing act during a time when emotions are already running hot. I also wanted to write a show that had strong roles for women, and I was attracted to the idea of explore how sisters would interact in this type of situation. I only have brothers and was curious to see how flipping genders would inform the writing.

Milee: Tom Slot (the artistic director of Original Binding Productions) wrote a play with specific company members in mind. He was kind enough to include me amongst those members writing a beautiful play about love, grief and family. What attracted me to the show was how Tom was able to capture the dynamics of a family during the time of loss and show how everyone mourns and grieves differently.

What was your favorite part of working on this production?

Tom: My favorite part of working on this production was the cast. I had written these parts for specific actresses and watching them take on the sister and mother relationship was incredibly fulfilling. Meredith, Claire, and Kristi were all friends prior to the show, but through the rehearsal process I came to see them as sisters. And Victoria's work as Edithmarie was wonderful to watch her create. The whole cast was amazing. I really got spoiled working with them.

Milee: My favorite part of the working on this production was being involved from the start. From the first reading of the play to closing night, I saw how the play evolved and became this incredibly moving piece. It's rare to be part of a play from start to finish and it's such a treat for the actor.

What was the most challenging part of working on this production?

Milee: The most challenging part of working on this production was the issues it dealt with (love, grief, and family). It wasn't easy working on the play without thinking about how love, grief and family affects your own life. That's what makes the play so intriguing to watch.

Tom: It's a heavy play emotionally. There were nights in rehearsal were we could only get through a scene once or twice and have to stop. It brought up a lot of memories for all of us and we often left rehearsal emotionally worn out.

What was the most memorable moment for you during the creation of this production?

Tom: Every night of the show when the sisters and Anna (Milee) would pack up the house between Act 2 and 3. They moved with such sensitivity, letting the emotion and music play through them. There was no spoken text, but their physical dialogue with each other was crystal clear. It was an incredible cathartic moment every performance.

What did you want the audience to come away with after watching your production?

Tom: I wanted the audience to come away from the show looking at their own lives and family relationships. I hope the play served as a mirror that asked them what's working and what could be better in those relationships.

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