Concentrate on the cookies. Practice your song. We won’t speak ill of Pastor Eddy at the poor man’s funeral. It doesn’t matter what unfinished business you and he had left when he died by falling off a ladder the other night. It doesn’t even matter whether you think he was pushed. Keep it to yourself. Only you can’t. Good Lord, this is going to be one of those messy funerals isn’t it? You hate to see it.
Mary and Pastor Ken are in the book loft, going full vindictive congregant on the widow, Alice, behind her back for never taking Eddy’s last name—Alice who, meanwhile, is downstairs, refusing quiche and possibly flirting with her tall, tawny, Burner-looking friend named Max, who is somewhat mysteriously in town. (Do you, in fact, love to see it?) As audience members for Incomplete Conversations, we immerse, milling through the sanctuary, lucking into earfuls of what ranges from gossip to raw anguish along the way. (Unlike earlier shows, this Silent Theatre Company production, written and directed by Nell Voss in collaboration with Tonika Todorova and the ensemble, isn’t silent.) A sense of Pastor Eddy emerges as someone not so very well liked, rather a rude awakening for Eddy himself, who, doomed for a certain term to schmooze at his own going-away party, appears to rehash old arguments with Alice, Ken, and the others in a series of quietly devastating flashback scenes.
By the end of the night and the show’s grand finale, Eddy’s actual “service,” every secret is in the open. Faith, pride, and death’s mystery all enter the picture. What an astonishing play. v