Capturing loss and uncertainty


Artwork by Narciso Espiritu of Instigatorzine for the play, “Dissecting Lily.”

Through words, film, and artwork, the play “Dissecting Lily,” captures the sense of loss and uncertainty that invades a community after a teenage suicide. A fellow classmate—somewhat obsessed with her—interviews friends and family in an effort to make a tribute video. Along the way, details begin to unfold, and the scenes begin to unlock the mystery behind her death. Footage of Lily during and in between the scenes reveals more pieces of the puzzle including a surprise turn at the end.

Narciso Espiritu of Instigatorzine did an amazing job with the artwork. In his ethereal depiction, he managed to evoke the essence that is Lily.

As a collaborative effort among Jersey City Writers, “Dissecting Lily,” presents a unique attempt to bring the diverse skills, perspectives, and styles of various writers into one cohesive story. The project grew out of a writing exercise where each writer responded to the suicide in the form of a character. The characters manifested a range of emotions that usually accompanies death from blame to guilt to anger to sadness. For Shane, the obsessed classmate, he begins with the fundamental question, “why?”

“Dissecting Lily,” is currently being performed at StageFest in Jersey City at Loew’s Theatre. It was wonderful to see it manifest in front of a standing room only audience last night. As a contributing writer and a cast member, I was happy to see some of the reactions. I played the role of Vicki Neruda, a reporter who introduces the tragedy in a brief video clip at the beginning.

I wrote the scene for Ms. Alvarez, the biology teacher. She is filled with blame and guilt because she didn’t pick up on the bullying that was taking place in her classroom. For Ms. Alvarez, Lily faded into the background after she became disengaged, after began to retreat from the world.

“Dissecting Lily,” will be performed again tonight. For ticket information, visit:

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