Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) by Sheila Callaghan has touched me to my core and succeeds as a production, partially because, in all of the absurdity, these glimpses of women at points of crisis are so very relatable. In an instant, they powerfully transform you back to a place and time when you shouldered an unbearably heavy load. They remind you in the deepest possible way that you are not alone in your pain and that it does, indeed, get better.
When I was a child, I was Janice. I was “precocious” (which I now understand means making people uncomfortable because sometimes you act older than you are….and sometimes you’re just weird). I lived most of my days in intricately woven fantasy worlds. I escaped into lives I wished I was living and planned epic futures for myself. I languished in melancholia, listened to The Cure and The Magnetic Fields on constant repeat...except when I was singing Tori Amos like I meant it. But the most Janice thing about me was the heavy cloud of tragic loss that clung to my childhood like a mildewy stinking and suffocating wet woolen blanket. My baby sister died just shy of my fourth birthday. There was never a time in my life when I didn’t know that people die, that horrible things happen, that your whole world can break into a million pieces at any moment and there’s no reason why.
I’ve been The Apartment. I’ve been desperate for love, for connection. I’ve behaved in despicable ways to try to get it. I’ve allowed myself to be blinded by my own needs in order to justify hurting someone else. I’m not proud of those moments. I’ve felt ugly and rotten inside and out. I just hope I’ve done enough good work and put enough positivity in the world to balance this out.
Oh my, have I ever been Barbara. I struggled with infertility. I felt a limitless hole within myself that could be filled by nothing but my own child. I pictured a future that stretched on into a painful oblivion of emptiness. I judged parents harshly. I just knew if I had a chance, I’d be so much better at it. And, it’s true, I have three cats and have never met an animal I didn’t want to save.
And now….I’m Clara. I’m a mother and I’m terrified all the time that I’m doing it wrong and that I’m not enough for this amazing child I’ve been blessed with. My son has autism. The highs and lows of my motherhood experience are amplified. Some days I’m soaring with a breakthrough he’s had. Each defeat, however, threatens to shatter me. Each time, I’m certain my heart can’t handle the heaviness. I’m exhausted and anxious most of the time, but I have an incredible cheering squad to remind me "you are enough, you are enough, you are enough."
So if you’re like me and you’ve ever found yourself crumbling, do your brittle heart a favor and don’t miss one of the last four performances of Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) and let some cracks of light in.
For more info and tickets, click here.