12 Death Salon Using Theatre Silent James Postcard

Course Description


Using theatre as a means to start a conversation regarding experiences of loss serves as an effective practice for groups and individuals in mourning. Usually this class is presented to grief therapists and students of psychology. It demonstrates how to experience a major emotional, cognitive, and physical shift regarding death and grief and fosters sensations, movements, emotions, and images known as affective embodied experience, to identify with those in grief.


In most cases, we bring one or two short plays (including the actors) and a short 8-minute film to the classroom.  After each performance, we present questions and facilitate discussions that can awaken the opportunity for mourners and students to be in and move through their death fears. Often, in conjunction with a specific scene from a play, certain emotions and stories are recalled.


We use plays expressly created for the Grief Dialogues. Through the actors’ gestures, tone of voice, and expressions, clients/students generally associate with particular characters’ experiences creating new opportunities for open discussion.


Sample of plays in the Grief Dialogues library:

Dead GiveawayEnd of Life PlanningHumorous play about planning for future. Husband buys a funeral plot to surprise wife for V-day. But, if he dies before her, she’s getting remarried.
Full CircleLetting Dad DieCruel father is visited by son for first time in 25 years—who just visits to watch his father die.
Hospice: A Love StoryOur Faulty Memories
& Childhood Transgressions
A darkly comic look at two sisters on the day after their mother’s death. These sisters remember
alarmingly different accounts of their mother’s care and her final days.
[Also available as
a short film]
Death is ComingA young couple has a petty fight without knowing that she will soon die.
A pair of future beings countdown their life.
Life LinesYearning, AmbivalenceA mom struggles with reading her dead son’s diary.
The Last NightJewish / GhostAn expectant mother is visited by her dead mother and both discuss the importance of Hanukkah gifts.
The NumberJewish / HolocaustA brother and sister prepare to say goodbye to their grandmother,
who was a survivor of the Holocaust.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Coplan at or Rachel Delmar at  Thank you!