He Made a Show About Grief. She Saw Herself In It.
Things aren’t always what they seem. Michael Cruz Kane’s “sorry‘, a comedy show about grief, it’s a prominent theme.
When producer Kate Navin saw a show last year at Cavitto, a comedy theater on New York’s Lower East Side, the moment he showed a photo of him with his wife and two children, the audience was blown away. I realized what I hadn’t told you. This is not the full picture of his family, and it cannot be, because one of his three children is dead.
“At that moment, I didn’t want to use the word ‘saw,’ and it felt like it could be cliche, but it’s the best word,” Navin said at a Greenwich Village cafe recently.
A family photo of herself works just as well. Ten years ago in August of this year, her eldest son Jack was 2 years and 9 months old. He died in a fire along with his grandmother, Navin’s mother-in-law. If you ask Navin what kind of person Jack was, he will say that he loved the movie Cars, valued raspberries more than any food, and was surprisingly kind. He’s unusual for a toddler and she knows he’s had two more.
“When you gave him a bowl of raspberries, he first distributed it to everyone in the room before he started eating,” she said. “That was Jack. He was incredible.”
When Navin joined audiobook company Audible in 2017 as head of the theater division, he didn’t intend to produce a show about grief.
However, a mutual friend of Navin and Kane, writer-director Daniel Goldstein, suspected she might have a professional interest in the film and took her to see “I’m Sorry.” He was right when he went. Embracing the humor, she thought, might help what she called “lost parents.”
The current show, which is taking place at the Minetta Lane Theater, Greenwich Village home of Audible Theatre, is the latest edition of “I’m Sorry” and is a staff writer on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”. It has more glorious production value than Kane is accustomed to. I work at a comedy club. Here he ponders the mystery of permanent absence and residual existence, tapping into this culture’s deep annoyance with the inevitability of death and loss.
Kane hosts a podcast about grief called ”.good shout‘ performed the first version of ‘Sorry for Your Loss’ shortly afterwards. a tweet he sent November 2019 marked the 10th anniversary of his son Fisher’s death from sepsis at 34 days old.
Kane said she was tired of not talking about the central facts of her life, and in another interview it became “the elephant in the room all over my brain.” After this tweet went viral, he took the conversation to the stage and made a funny autobiographical show laced with grief.
“I’m still at a stage where I’m happy to share my son’s story,” Kane said. “If that means I’m a griefboy for a while, or forever, things could get worse. This subject isn’t the only thing I want to contribute to the universe. But if If it ends here, I feel like I have to say what I really wanted to say.”
By the way, these weren’t moody interviews. But when Mr. Navin told how scared he was about grocery shopping after Jack died, he broke down in tears. Because when he happened upon a friend of Jack’s and was asked where he was, he didn’t know what to say.
In an experience Kane articulated on the show, she recognized her own surreal loneliness.
She doesn’t want anyone’s sympathy. But she says that if she tells someone she doesn’t know about her dead child, she may not get the conversation back on track. Because no matter how long ago it happened, people will react as if your grief is fresh and as if you are broken.
“It changes my mood,” she said. “And it’s hard to be the one who caused the mood change.”
Kane and Navin want to make people feel less awkward about grief so that those who need to talk about grief can stop keeping it to themselves. “Sorry for Your Loss” offers her one space for that.
When I asked Kane if he believed art could heal, he quoted WH Auden.poetry nothing happens“I’ve been thinking about it a lot,” he said.
“I think it’s possible for art to at least make you feel like you’re not alone,” he allowed. “It is very important to know that I am not the only one who feels this way. “
Navin believes Kane has changed him for the better and is “less embarrassed” to tell people he has three children and cares about people’s reactions. He says he has less to do.
“It’s a big gift,” she said. “And he mitigates my damage. I definitely feel less damage than I did a year ago.”