What we leave behind
Music by Jenny Giering
Lyrics by Jenny Giering & Sean Barry
Illness changes us. More often than not, that change is a temporary one. We get sick; we recover. But what happens when we fail to recover? How do you live a life forever altered by illness, and who do you become as the familiar parts of that life fall behind?
WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND is a courageous one-woman show exploring what it means to live a life reshaped by illness.
The piece follows the journey of a woman from diagnosis and treatment to the onset of a mysterious condition that robs her of her life as a wife, mother, and artist. Juxtaposed with this journey is the story of a time before her struggle, when life was full of daring and passion—when she and her husband embarked together on a year-long relationship with a young woman.
Both sexy and heart-wrenching, WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND is poetic, passionate, and deeply compelling. It is intended for a single female performer and a small orchestra (4-5 pieces) and will be staged simply, permitting the bareness of its struggle to be related as effectively as possible.
The core of this story is autobiographical. The illness is Jenny’s; the adventures are Jenny and Sean’s. Our aim in baring these intimate parts of our lives is to create a piece of theatre that declares as fearlessly as possible that the ill cannot be reduced to their illness; that every one of us has had a life before—and hopefully will have a life after—the trials of our suffering, whatever their nature or cause.
We believe this piece will speak to those who have experienced breast cancer, as we have, but that it will in no way be limited to that audience. It will be a powerful and resonant work, and will touch audiences deeply. All of us know someone who has been cheated of some measure of life by illness. WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND acknowledges that loss while declaring that life can still be alive with wonder and hope, provided we are brave enough to embrace it.