And Then The Moon Swallowed the Sky

Two years ago, Susie and Rachel sat down and had a long conversation about grief. Both of us were going through deep loss in our own lives, and we had a lot of questions about the artistic and personal reverberations we were both feeling.  

Eventually, these conversations became a play.


Over the spring of 2017, Rachel wrote the first draft of the play with Danielle Mackey, a reporter and artist living in El Salvador. Both of them loved the Annie Dillard story about her experience seeing a full solar eclipse, and they chose to focus the play on the great eclipse of 2017, an event that people flocked to, hoping to find some kind of meaning in the sky. As we wrote the play, Donald Trump was elected.  Grief and the desire for transformation became a cultural touchstone. 

In August of 2017, Rachel took an early draft of the script to Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands, where the show was in residence at the Orcas Island Theater. The show hit a nerve: almost everybody wanted to tell their own stories. So, in collaboration with community artist Sarah Hollows, we started a blog where the community could share their own feelings of grief.

You can find the blog at 

Rachel and Susie continued to work on the script over the course of the fall of 2017, while they both were in residence at Hollins University. They brought musician Mary Roach, who is designing an original score for the piece.

The show centers around three women, all dealing with different stages and types of grief, who find each other across space, time, and history. One has lost a partner, one has lost a home, and one has lost a legacy. On the eve of the solar eclipse, they all contemplate what they have lost, and what it means to keep living with that loss.  

The show asks us examine questions around grief: how can we support each other in times of pain and transformation? How can we learn and grow through our own grief? These are questions that we all will grapple with in our lives. The only certainty we are given in life is death and loss. We live in a culture that doesn’t prepare us for that, so it is terrifying and isolating to contemplate. This play is an exploration of how we find each other in times of grief and transformation, how grief can bring us together.  

We’re seeking funding from our closest supporters for a one month rehearsal process in New Orleans (where Rachel lives) in May and June of this year, so that Susie, Rachel and Mary can all be in the same place and get the show on its feet.  Your contribution would mean to the world to us- it would give a chance for this important piece to come fully to life.

This summer, we are will be in residency with the Seven Devils Festival workshopping the script, followed by a New Orleans priemere. We plan on touring to several theaters including Oregon Contemporary Theater and The Festival of the Unexpected in Portland, Maine, not to mention several fringe festivals, universities, and local theaters over the course of the upcoming year.

We are seeking $3,300, which would allow Susie and Mary to travel to New Orleans for a six week residency to rehearse and design the show in Mary and June.  Your contribution is needed to let this show come to life! We will have a blog where we will post updates, rehearsal clips, and interviews, so you can watch your contribution come to fruition.

In this confusing and dark time in our nation's history, art that brings us together and illuminates our experience is essential. We deserve stories that connect and expand our humanity.  

Together, we can make it happen.  We hope you join us in this important work. 

Contribute to the blog by emailing us here: [email redacted]

 Thank you so much,

Susie, Mary, and Rachel
  • Linda Malonis 
    • $20 
    • 38 mos
  • Philip Johnson 
    • $6 
    • 38 mos
  • susan greve 
    • $150 
    • 38 mos
  • Sam Macher 
    • $150 
    • 41 mos
  • Mallory Haar 
    • $40 
    • 41 mos
See all


Rachel Nelson 
New Orleans, LA
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