Spend ‘An Intimate Evening with Death, Herself ‘ – A love story | TheUnion.com

Spend ‘An Intimate Evening with Death, Herself ‘ – A love story

Know & Go

What: An Intimate Evening with Death, Herself

Who: Douglass Truth

Where: Atria Senior Living, 150 Sutton Way, Grass Valley

When: Friday, March 20, 6 p.m.; Saturday, March 21, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 22, 2 p.m.

Tickets: $10 at the door or at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1353399 (fees apply)

Info: 530-272-1055; kristin.jenkins@atriaseniorliving.com; also, http://www.deathherself.com

We’re all going to die. It’s a cold, hard fact.

Douglass Truth thinks this is seriously hilarious.

This weekend, Truth will be giving three performances of his “one-woman” show, “An Intimate Evening with Death Herself” at Atria Senior Living Center in Grass Valley.

It’s a love story between a middle-aged waitress named Dorothy and Tod, Death Himself.

“It will make you laugh, cry, and have every emotion in between. It is truly profound and you will be changed by the end of the play!” declared Kristin Jenkins, community sales director for Atria.

Shanin Ybarrondo, development director, for the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation, first discovered Truth’s original play, “Death as a Salesman” when he performed it several years ago at the Off Center Stage in Grass Valley.

“I had never seen a play like this before,” Ybarrondo said. “This really made you think about living.”

An interview with the alter ego of Death Herself

In 1998, Truth, who was living in Grass Valley at the time, almost lost his life to a brain infection and brain tumor. He was in a coma for three days, and when he came out of it, he found he was happier than he had been in his whole life.

“I didn’t have what’s normally called a near-death experience because I don’t remember anything,” Truth explained. “But when I woke up, I was a different person.

“I remember sitting in the hospital thinking I can cook and I can paint, I could golf, I could garden and life was just great and I didn’t need that other thing,” he said.

That other thing was his ability to talk, read and write. The tumor – and the left temporal lobe of his brain – had been removed. It took years of therapy for him to regain his faculties.

One of the benefits of Truth’s close brush with death was the creation of his alter ego, his sister Dorothy.

“She’s definitely a part of me and informs me what’s happening. So the character on stage is partly made up and partly theatrical, but it’s also partly something very real,” he added.

To aid in his recovery, he wrote a whole book trying to figure how his life had been changed by his illness, “Everything I Know About Death – Subject to Verification.”

Life, Death and Love

“A middle-aged waitress named Dorothy meets Death in a bar. 49 days later, she replaces him.” That’s about all the plot Truth is willing to reveal, although he did drop an enticing hint: “They fall in love.”

During the last 10 years, Truth has done about 25 shows, first as “Death as a Salesman” and then later as “An Intimate Evening with Death, Herself.”

The show is growing an underground reputation as a gentle and fun way to approach the very serious topic of death and dying.

“As the show gets on, I think it’s getting funnier, which is very gratifying to me,” he said.

On the other hand, he’s heard that some people cry during his how. “That blows me away. That’s not really my intent. I want to reach people deeply, but the fact that it moves some people to tears really moves me.”

Summing it up, Truth said, “I guess my bottom line is that, as a writer and performer, I want the audience to be entertained. I want them to have a great time, but also leave feeling better than they did when they got there about life.”

When he came out of his coma, Truth had an epiphany: “There is a God. We’re all in it together. And it’s up to us.”

Tom Durkin is a freelance writer and photographer in Nevada City. He can be contacted at tdurkin@vfr.net or http://www.tomdurkin-writer.net.

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