A Good Death
To January 18 at 7:30pm (Thu-Sat), 2pm (Sat-Sun)
Neptune Studio Theatre, 1593 Argyle Street
Kim Parkhill isn't sleeping so well lately. As both playwright and producer for A Good Death, currently playing at the Neptune Studio Theatre, she's got a lot on her mind.
"I've discovered sleeplessness accompanies most of my projects," Parkhill explains with a little laugh. "But adding producer to my duties has been something else...This play has been a pretty significant project to bring to the stage."
Parkhill began writing A Good Death, which follows one woman as she struggles to make "something good" of her dying, back in 2011. However, she'd been thinking about the big questions in the play for much longer. "The topic itself stemmed from a question about our society's prevailing ideas about death and dying," explains Parkhill, who worked as a nurse before moving into a career in theatre. "I saw that death is almost always assumed to be bad, but I know that death can be a good thing and that it's a natural thing.
"Too often we fight it, and the cost can be too high."
Parkhill finds it frustrating that the topic of medically-assisted dying flares up only intermittently. "Why aren't people talking about this? When you look at our aging baby boomer population, you see we have customization and choices in so many more things. Why don't we have choices at the very end?"
And that's a question that Parkhill hopes audiences will leave the theatre asking themselves. "I think A Good Death is a good story that will entertain and hopefully resonate, but more than that, I hope it provides a 'way in' for people to talk about something that they might not feel comfortable talking about otherwise: what is 'a good death' and how can we express what we want for ourselves and support others in what they want?"