The Big White Door
Premiered at The Riverside Church Theatre, NYC. Interview-based collaboration with The Narrative Medicine Program at Columbia University, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Sound Impact, and families dealing with a terminal illness.
Based on interviews with kids dealing with terminal illness and their families, pediatric oncologists, nurses, and palliative care doctors, The Big White Door explores how kids process their own mortality.
This project came out of a curiosity that I had around how we talk about death when we've got to do it on simpler terms. The resulting performance was created for the community of people I interviewed, and a small number of outsiders.
I had the opportunity to bring this play to a large theatre in NYC, but it just didn't feel right. I wanted the audience to have an intimate experience, to feel the vibration of the cello, violin, and viola. It was important to me to create a personal, disarming space.
This piece was performed in the tower of Riverside Church at sunset. We sat in a circle with the instruments close and the music all around us. We laughed, cried, found that in many ways, we are all children when it comes to facing death.
"Claytie Mason is an artist of incredible empathy and sensitivity... much of her work is simply about letting someone tell their story, and then finding imaginative theatrical ways to reveal what has been overlooked."
-Kelly Stuart, Playwright & Lecturer
"Working with Claytie I learned that kids with terminal illness also have fun."
-Emily Kubovy-Weiss, Actress, The Big White Door
“Claytie is an extraordinary person to work with. She is tireless in her quest for the heart of what she is working on."
-Alissa Mortenson, Theatre Artist & Collaborator