29 Nov «The Last Word» by Kate Johnston and Jan Corran
«Every love story is a ghost story», wrote the late American writer David Foster Wallace in a letter.
The bittersweet and enchanting play THE LAST WORD tells such a story, in which the power of love overcomes the laws of science, and loss and healing find new balances. The play leaves a lasting impression, reminding us how goodbyes are an essential part of every great love story.
A year has passed since Brett Harper, played with irony and vulnerability by John Kapeklos, (known for The Breakfast Club), lost his wife, Jillian, to a car accident. A successful writer, Brett faces a looming deadline for his latest work, but he is unable to complete the final paragraphs without Jillian, his muse and the one who in the twenty-five years of marriage was indispensable to him in finding the final words. Suddenly, Jillian (played by Barbara Niven, for whom playwright Jan Corran has tailor-made the character of a quirky and very sweet ghost) returns determined to guide Brett toward the completion of the most important novel of his life, and not only. Only Brett of course can see her and hear her speak, and there is no shortage of misunderstandings and laughter when Fred and Madge, the protagonist’s longtime friends, and later Marie, whose acquaintance puts Brett at a crossroads, enter the picture…
Director Kate Johnston, known for her previous works featuring stories about women and the LGBTQ+ community, once again demonstrates her passion and integrity in THE LAST WORD. A meeting with screenwriter Jan Miller Corran, also a producer of the play and the theatrically shot film, was essential to realize her vision, which delicately balances the depth of the story on the emotionality of the characters with moments of laughter and introspection. The result is a narrative that gradually captures the nuances of grief, rediscovery, and the power of human connection.
The chemistry among the cast members is palpable and lends a sense of authenticity to their relationships. The late Jillian, portrayed with grace and tenderness, becomes a catalyst for introspection and healing in Brett’s life. THE LAST WORD not only explores the complexities of grief and the process of acceptance but seems to suggest that to get out of obsession we must shed those heavy unspoken words, the words left unsaid when fate breaks a union, and witness the admonition to express our feelings before it is too late.
With its universal themes and heartfelt narrative, THE LAST WORD is a film that will resonate with audiences long after the credits roll.