By Natalie Leslie
Three ingredients make up the ballerina diet. As the audience tries to piece together this nonlinear story, they begin to wonder if this diet could be the cause of a ballerina suicide. “Absence Makes the Heart” explores a tragedy through the different perspectives of those affected. From a therapy session to a train track, the variation of settings helps the crowd to uncover the secrets of one ballerina’s suicide.
This modern take on controversial topics is complemented with bursts of dry humor as it addresses the internal struggles of sexuality, drug use, mental health, and privilege. Although difficult at times to emotionally detach from the agony of one scene to the comic relief in the next, the smooth transitions allow this talented cast to accurately portray the ripple effects caused by one individual’s decisions.
The stage was scattered with empty drink containers, headphones, dead leaves, magazines, and other props readily accessible as the story progresses. The entire cast was outstanding in creating and recreating new identities for themselves as the characters transformed throughout the show. In Jacquelyn Price’s powerful confession-style monologue, her character.strives to understand what might push a person to suicide as well as what might influence a public vs. opposed to private collapse.
The collection of monologues and simple dialogue was packed-full of emotion which centers on understanding the many ways trauma may be both experienced and revealed.
Giving insight into a “glamorous” profession and yet with many insights about the pressures and traumas faced by many, this is a compact, moving, and worthwhile theater experience.