Blackberry Winter

Years of success, meticulous planning, and an eye for detail have in no way prepared Vivienne Avery for her mother's slide into the grip of dementia. Initially hiding behind insomnia-fueled baking and a polite smile, stories about her mother leave Vivienne's inner turmoil quietly laid bare in a juxtaposition of stories, theatrical gestures, and a children's story-esque Alzheimer's "creation myth."
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Blackberry Winter

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  • Jordan Elizabeth Henry:
    24 Apr. 2018
    There is so much to this gorgeous, stirring play: the poetry, the shadow puppetry, and the use of the pedestals, which serve multiple thematic and dramatic purposes. What strikes me immediately is Vivienne's insistence on specificity of language -- the times she starts, revises, and completes her thoughts so that the words are just right. So that she means exactly what she's saying from moment to moment (which is illustrated beautifully by the piggy bank, among other things). BLACKBERRY WINTER is not to be missed, and no recommendation can do it adequate justice. Read it; see it, if you can.
  • Rachael Carnes:
    28 Jan. 2018
    Sharply written and deeply empathic, Yockey’s play trains a bright light on Vivienne, whose mother has lived with Alzheimer’s disease for a few years and is now in the throes of transitioning from assisted living to a more confining, yet safer, nursing home. Cached within the comforting science of Vivienne's routines, she has created a fable: a cosmological understanding of Alzheimer’s and its origins, a creation myth, to help herself comprehend and cope with her mother’s ever-entangling brain. Vivienne is heartbreaking — not because she fails but because like all of us, she sometimes falters.
  • National New Play Network:
    21 Dec. 2016
    Blackberry Winter by Steve Yockey received a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere. The partnering NNPN Member Theaters were Salt Lake Acting Company (UT), Actor’s Express and Out of Hand Theater (Atlanta, GA), Capital Stage (Sacramento, CA), New Repertory Theatre (Watertown, MA), Oregon Contemporary Theatre (Eugene), Kitchen Dog Theater (Dallas, TX) and Forum Theatre (Silver Spring, MD).

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