Longtime composer and lyricist Lindsey Walker has long wondered how to combine funerals with musicals. She didn’t have much luck, until she joined local theatre directors and playwrights Megan and Beth Dart, in the production of ren & the wake.
“At the beginning, we didn’t know what it was going to be,” says Walker. “We only had a scene of our young adult character, Ren, at their mother’s funeral. And we wondered if there’s more layers in grief than pure loss and sadness.”
As the production team circled around this scene for the past few years, it revisited the impact of losing loved ones during the pandemic. While Walker searches for beauty in darkness throughout her independent music career, she sees grief as a dynamic experience. The music in ren & the wake isn’t all sad and dark, but it raises questions and offers hope.
“I don’t feel ‘closure’ is the best word to describe the feeling of losing a loved one. I see our character goes on a journey with grief and love, and it opens new pathways to see more in their mother beyond their family relationship. It is also a new way of self interpretation.”
ren & the wake takes place in the Backstage Theatre at the ATB Financial Arts Barns until May 7th. Read content advisories before visiting.