Synopsis: One actress plays three women drawn together in the grim aftermath of a high school shooting - the mother of the shooter (staph infection), one of the shooter's victims (early release), and the mother of that victim (keynote speaker). It is a deep exploration of the lives of three women that, according to SEE Magazine ..". will leave you wringing your hands in helpless empathy." "Ripped me into little tiny shreds, but I would see it again and again." - Time Out New York (CRITICS PICK) "A truly amazing evening of storytelling that is equal parts brilliant writing and powerful performance... "Commencement" looks into the heart of tragedy and stabs it." - NYTheatre.com (CRITICS PICK) "Wow. This is what theater is all about." - Canadian Broadcasting Company (5 out of 5 stars) (Best of Fest) "Commencement is strong stuff and frequently moving." - Stage Directions Magazine
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I saw this performed by Hanna Cheek in a small downtown Manhattan theater, and it was one of the most powerful performances -- in terms of writing, acting, staging, everything -- in decades of reading and watching theater at all levels. Mr. Chapman is a unique talent.
We have just ended a very enriching visit from Mr. Chapman where I teach. We have been producing some of his works in our theatre program. I have read many of his short pieces and am looking forward to reading his novel, MISS CORPUS. So I was excited to see that this piece was available.
Like most of Chapman's works, COMMENCEMENT leads the reader through the darkness and into the light. Even in times of dispair, Chapman's characters reach for whatever goodness they can find. Remarkably, they do find that goodness, that spark of light that serves to illuminate their world, even if for just a brief moment.
Chapman's characters are strong, resilient and multi-dimensional. They are real people in whom a reader, or performer, can see parts of themselves, parts that often remain hidden except to a select few. Lucky are we, the readers of Chapman's words, that we are those select few to whom he gives access to those hidden pains, desires and emotional chasms.