The following piece was submitted by Caterina Incisa, Writer and Actor, and Laura Buchanan, Director, of 0 Days Without Crying. The piece is part of QDF’s series of artist-submitted works detailing experiences creating at the 27th edition of the St-Ambroise Montreal FRINGE Festival.
“Even writing the word self-love makes me feel stupid. Is anything more BS, kale-eating, juice-fasting contemporary American than the notion of self-love?…‘Be gentle with yourself, you deserve it.’ Do I really?” (Melissa Broder, So Sad Today)
The idea for 0 Days Without Crying first popped into my head in May 2016 when I was reading the collection of essays, So Sad Today by Melissa Broder. It captured my gloomy little heart and reassured me that I wasn’t the only one who found the idea of self-love embarrassing and absurd. And the book is so funny; I mean piss-yourself-so-hard-you-leave-a-puddle-on-the-floor-slip-on-it-and crack-your-skull-open kind of funny.
0 Days Without Crying is very personal for me and there are many similarities between Jess, the protagonist, and myself: we both hate ourselves, our mothers both died when we were young, and we both have inappropriate crushes on our doctors, but the further into the play I got the more Jess wriggled away from me and became her own character.
Grief is a large part of Jess’ self-hatred. I’ve written about my own mother’s death constantly in the eight years since she died but I was surprised to write a comedy about it–make no mistake there’s some dark stuff in there too. The biggest struggle for me was to create a balance between the jokes and the gross, raw sadness at the heart of the character. Dramaturg Jesse Stong, who I worked with while developing the play at Playwrights Workshop Montreal Young Creators Unit, encouraged me to get into the more melancholy stuff so if you find this play too bleak, blame him.
I find dark stuff very, very funny. Recently I’ve recommended books or plays to people saying, “read this, it’s hilarious” only to have them return the book to me all grim about the mouth saying, “this was fucking depressing.” That being said there are a lot of jokes in this play and I need those sweet, sweet validation laughs in order to live so please come see 0 Days Without Crying and laugh at my misery for God’s sake.
-Caterina Incisa, Writer and Actor, 0 Days Without Crying
It sounds strange to laugh at someone’s pain, but Jess makes it so easy to do just that. In 0 Days Without Crying, we enter the mind of Jess, a space where there’s no need to be apologetic. Years after Jess loses her mother, she struggles with the idea that she can no longer use her mother’s death as an “excuse.” Caterina Incisa takes every cruel thought of Jess’ and adds hilarious soap opera charm. Incisa’s writing has bite, wit, and so much heart that you will be dying to give her a hug after she tears up the stage in her solo act. What makes this play so captivating is its willingness to dive into depression without an ounce of reservation. This dar kcomedy will startle its audience with the alarming familiarity to the dark fantasies of its watchers, and be a reminder to not be so hard on yourself. This is the (temporary) medicine everyone struggling with mental health needs. I hope that Jess makes you feel seen and less alone in your denigrating thoughts.
-Laura Buchanan, Director, 0 Days Without Crying
0 Days Without Crying plays at Studio Jean-Valcourt du Conservatoire, from June 9 – 18. For ticketing information please click here.