Friday, July 26, 7:45 p.m.
They say: “An unusual personal story woven with the traditions of Arlington National Cemetery and the daily “life” that happens there brings comfort and surprise insights into the ongoing importance of this special place, which will eventually be Ellouise Schoettler’s ‘forever home.'”
Sarah’s Take: A play whose main focus is contemplation of the fact that a cemetery will one day be the actor’s “forever home” has the potential to be both morbid and depressing. But in Eloise Schoettler’s hands, it’s neither. Schoettler is an artful storyteller, and her warm, conversational manner brightens the mood of what could otherwise be a very somber evening.
By turns funny, heartwarming, pensive, and sad, Arlington National Cemetery: My Forever Home tracks Schoettler’s relationship with the cemetery, from her daughter’s burial there in 1964 through her visits to her husband’s grave there today. The stories are sprinkled with humor: describing the grave waiting for her in Arlington, Schoettler says, “I have a very small place in an exclusive gated community. And though her tone is off-the-cuff, her descriptions of her most somber memories are full of poetry.
There’s very little action in this play—Schoettler spends the entire 60 minutes seated—and it’s easy for your mind to wander as her stories meander and double back on one another. But the hour goes by surprisingly fast, and audiences will leave soothed by Schoettler’s grandmotherly manner and impressed with her storytelling ability.
See it if: You miss talking with your Southern grandma (or never had one and wish you did).
Skip it if: You’re looking for action, not contemplation.