Love, Loss and Waffles

Mona Pirnot’s I Love You So Much I Could Die

By: - Feb 14, 2024

 When a play opens with the lines: “I’ve been trying out different support groups. It has not been going well. I can’t seem to find the right group for me. And everything is on zoom. Which makes everything sadder than it already was,” you know you’re going to need a box of tissues before the evening is over.

 Already, the title is a warning of what’s to come in playwright Mona Pirnot’s  intricate, autobiographical, story in which she wrestles with the private in a very public way.

Through extremely well-written monologues, spoken by a computer,  I Love You So Much I Could Die is part concert, part unconventional theater. NYTW Usual Suspect Lucas Hnath, Pirnot’s husband, directs.

 MacArthur “Genius” award recipient Mimi Lieu is credited as scenic designer, yet, there is no set to speak of. Just a brick wall, a desk, a lamp, and a very large speaker. This is truly minimalism at work, which makes it all the more ironic as Lieu is well-known for her incredible, architecturally influenced, structures (think the current Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, for one.) As Lieu explains the set, “I thought that the most important thing is that the audience is present in the very real space, together with Pirnot and the computer speaker.” As such, there is no distraction, just Pirnot, sitting behind the desk, with her back to the audience.

On the desk is a laptop and a lamp. A guitar rests on the floor beside her. The stage remains uncluttered save for the significant presence of the large speaker from which a text-to-speech computer recites, robotically, but rhythmically, every story in the play. In between the stories, Pirnot picks at the guitar and sings a song. One goes like this:

….I love you so much I could die

And I do

I feel like I’m going to

I do

I feel like I’m going to

I do

But I can’t

Not anytime soon

‘cause I want to have more time with you….”

 As the play unfolds through the computer’s voice, Pirnot tells her story and bares her soul, tackling themes of love and loss, themes most people don’t talk about, especially in public.

Pirnot’s love and loss concern her trauma around her sister and the family dog.

 I think, for Pirnot, it was easier to be emotive about the dog than the sister. To say more would be a spoiler alert.

Certainly the play is not all dark, there is humor, such as the story about the woman who wanted to burn down a Waffle House because, at the height of the pandemic, when people all over the world were dying, there were still “all these fucking people in this fucking waffle house spreading death, spreading actual death, because they just had to have a fucking waffle.”

Even though the play is autobiographical, it is also universal. We’ve all been there, grappling with life-altering situations, struggling to make sense of it all.

Running approximately 65 minutes without intermission, I Love You So Much I Could Die isn’t just theater, it’s an experience. The fact that I found it disturbing is a compliment to the playwright because she made me feel something, even though that something was emotionally unsettling. As Edward Albee said: “if the theater must bring us only what we can comfortably relate to, let us stop going entirely and sit in our rooms and contemplate our paunchy middles.”


NYTW: February 1, 2024 – March 9, 2024.

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