Theatre student to stage her own play about grief

Nyssa Lowenstein, a senior in Northern Illinois University’s School of Theatre and Dance, will direct her own play, The Elephant Grief, opening Thursday, Nov. 17. Performances are in Diversions Lounge Theatre in NIU’s Holmes Student Center.

Using talents from all departments of the school, Lowenstein crafted her play to address the universal experience of grief.

“I lost three family members in a short period of time,” she says. “I was here, out of state, being a student. I didn’t know how to grieve. I didn’t know if I was doing it right.

“It was hard, but the more I blamed myself for not going through the whole process,” Lowenstein says, “the more I hid from it. This piece is my realization that there is no ‘right’ way.”

The Elephant Grief is a movement-based piece that explores different types of experiences one can have with a personal loss, or by supporting someone who has had a loss. The scenes are tied together with props, projections and various movement styles drawn from Lowenstein’s training.

“The goal is to embody how universal human grief and loss can be,” Lowenstein says. “We want to show how no one is alone when dealing with loss; that everyone has individual processes that we use many times in a lifetime.

“Acceptance, hope and nostalgia are all part of the experience, not just the sad stuff,” she says.

The play is produced under the auspices of the Third Onion, the School’s scheme to encourage student-initiated productions. No faculty are involved.

The Elephant Grief runs from November 17 – 20, with 8:00 p.m. curtain on all nights, and a Saturday, Nov. 19, matinee at 2:00 p.m. All general admission tickets are $3, and available only at the door. Proceeds go toward presentation of the annual Senior B.F.A. in Acting Showcase in Chicago next spring. For additional information, contact Lowenstein at nelowens@gmail.com.

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