All Performances

Big Work: A Documentary Play

Big Work: A Documentary Play
Saturday, March 4
Doors at 7:30 / Show at 8:00
$18/$15 for members
All Ages / Seated


Big Work is a documentary play that examines our modern day relationship to our jobs, and the ripples this causes throughout our lives. The play follows 17 real people who share stories about their dreams, about feeling invisible, about unexpectedly starting over, and about searching for employment and themselves. What begins as a conversation about the work we do is woven into a larger story about identity, the definition of success, and what it means to both make a living and create a life.

Big Work began as a personal odyssey. In 2015, Melissa Bergstrom and Kate Marple had just entered their 30s, and as artists with day jobs, they were struggling to reconcile what they did for a living with who they were as people. Looking for answers, the playwrights set out to interview people from across the country about what they did for a living and what was most important to them. Bergstrom and Marple spoke with accountants, artists, pharmacists, salesmen, people looking for work, and at-home parents. They talked to people just starting out and people well into retirement. When the first several interviews lasted more than two hours, they realized they had struck a nerve. Other people were also wrestling with expectations, with personal legacy, and with how to find balance, and they wanted to talk about it. 

And they still do.  Recent performances of Big Work in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and at The Actors Studio of Newburyport have culminated in energetic talkbacks where audience members ask questions and share their own stories in an unscripted Act III. Big Work reminds us that everyone has a story worth telling, and that we are all more connected than we think.

The play runs 110 minutes, including a 15 minute intermission. All audience members are invited to stay for a 30 minute talkback with the cast and playwrights following each performance.

Melissa Bergstrom and Kate Marple are playwrights and founders of The Perpetual Visitors Theatre Company whose mission is to foster understanding, empathy, and human connection through theatre that explores uncommon human experiences, and to tell entertaining, compelling true stories.