‘God’s Waiting Room’ by Karen Bartholomew is a comedic drama about a sibling relationship around their terminally ill mother. The play dares to debate euthanasia and stresses arising from end-of-life-care. Following an excited response from this year’s shows, it’s clear it resonates with many and with an ageing population, limited NHS and social services; it prompts discussion with social and political relevance.
My work in recent years combines difficult and at times dark subjects made palatable by its humour and humanity. Essentially, this company’s direction is about creating plays that present difficult issues or situations and evoke strong and meaningful reactions. We want our stories to resonate beyond an evening but into the conscious thought, that moves, empowers or humours people.
‘God’s Waiting Room’ - deals with the living around the dying. While respectful it illustrates that comedy can arise even from our darkest times. Death, so frequently a taboo subject, hard to face, to laugh at would seem inappropriate, but this play shares that, even celebrates it and was commented on widely in review.
One audience member, who lost her partner to cancer just four months ago, laughed throughout the play and shed a tear too. She commented afterwards that it was honest, brave and a totally cathartic experience for her and I was deeply honoured how much the play meant to her. If theatre can engage a group of people and has that response, as a playwright, I feel I’m making a difference.
Following a successful showing at Camden Fringe, I’m keen to have this play seen by a wider audience in this region. I’m currently applying for Arts Council funding, in addition to other areas of support.
I would like to work with a team co-producing who could mentor and support the show towards target audiences culminating in a small-scale tour. The play is due for publication later this year and would be available to venues.
I’m also seeking partnerships in the health industry, end-of-life care and charities, who could introduce staff and users of their services to seeing the play.