Instructions For Breathing
by Caridad Svich
“In a world of hurry, what’s the cost of playing? Jon and Sara return home one night to find that their child, Sonya, has mysteriously vanished through a casual act of neglect. Her disappearance turns her parents – and the community – upside down with regrets, judgments, and gossip; but also galvanizes them to take responsibility for their own fate in today’s global and frenetic society. This lyrical, dreamlike drama exposes tragedy in the modern world – personal, private and public – in a fiercely witty look at love, lies and the language we use to disguise our hearts.”
A full-length play that examines a marriage and community shattered by the disappearance of a child. A play about loss and faith; an intimate portrait of quiet lives broken by tragedy, and how we may heal and transform from moments of crisis.
Cast: 2 female (30s), 1 female (teens), 3 male (30s). Setting: Several locations suggested simply.
World Premiere produced by Passage Theatre @ Mill Hill Playhouse, Trenton, NJ.
Artistic Director, June Ballinger.
Original premiere run: April 16-May 10, 2009
Director: Daniella Topol
Cast: Heidi Schreck (Sara), Bryan Close (Jon), Les (Frank Harts), Leslie (Polly Lee), Don (Gerardo Rodriguez), Kate Hopkins (The Girl)
Set Design: Jeffrey Van Velsor
Lighting Design: Charles S. Reece
Costume Design: Gail Hecht
Sound Design: Broken Chord Collective
Line Producer: Kacy O’Brien
Articles and Reviews
“Svich’s Instructions for Breathing is heartbreaking, compelling, successful new play, and while there must be many emotions and situations that Svich couldn’t fit into her play about a married couple whose child goes missing, she gives the impressions that she’s thought of every one and wrote each one sensitively.” Peter Filichia, The Star-Ledger on Instructions for Breathing
“The poetry of this refreshing, invigorating work is rare in contemporary plays. Given the subject matter of the play, it might sound depressing. But it’s strangely cathartic, even hilarious at times.” Bob Brown, Princeton Packet (Central Jersey) on Instructions for Breathing
“Poetic, poignant drama is a story of devastating loss, its effects and the struggle towards recovery. Shifting back and forth between dream and reality, the drama takes its main characters, Jon and Sara, along with the audience, from the shock and despair at the loss of their young daughter through the shattering of their marriage, their jobs and their entire lives.. The poetic words and powerful images of Caridad Svich prove to be formidable resources in the haunted world of Instructions for Breathing.” Donald Gilpin, Town Topics (Princeton) on Instructions for Breathing
“It’s always refreshing to see brainy artists at work. Instructions for Breathing leaves us wanting more of the future work of Ms. Svich and director Ms. Topol.” Stephen Wells, The New York Times on Instructions for Breathing
“A noteworthy and fascinating piece of theater which wastes no time in cutting to the heart of the matter. It starts with the premise of unthinkable tragedy – the disappearance of a young child – and plunges into a world of suburban norms, mores, and faux pas, where friends and neighbors scramble desperately towards an imagined center of calm and normalcy while trying to cope with the epic shift that pulls them apart so very far away from it.” Jonathan Elliott, U.S.1 (Princeton) on Instructions for Breathing.