Chackerian, E. S. (2020). Survived By. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14418/wes01.1.2301
Survived By is a semi-autobiographical playwriting thesis examining how we use music, religion, and memory to grieve. Inspired by the plays of Paula Vogel, Djanet Sears and Quiara Alegria Hudes, Survived By explores four generations of family members as they pass down stories and rituals to each other. The play weaves together two narratives, one following a young Dixieland jazz enthusiast in the 1950s and his mother, the other following his grandchildren, over sixty years later. As the grandchildren clean out their grandparent’s home, they trade stories about their family members and reflect on what it means to say goodbye to both places and people. The play is semi-linear in form, jumping back and forth between timelines and using the idea of record skips and scratches as a device to convey jumps or pauses within time. Further, Survived By, features a live band, and employs a score of musicals, blues, jazz, and classical music performed throughout the piece. This sonic framework both enhances the stylistic nature of the piece, and serves as an entry point for the grandchildren as they remember their grandfather. Ultimately, Survived By aims to examine how legacy and remembrance function within theater by telling the story of my family.