Death Cafe and the 11th Hour


If it wasn’t for the 11th hour, nothing would ever get done. I mean, why do now what you can put off until tomorrow, right?

The eleventh hour approacheth. By the time Santa drops his filthy boots down the chimney, today will be a blur. People everywhere are feeling all sorts of pressure, myself included. It’s as if towards the end of the year, time is pushed into a cone, towards a narrowing opening at the tip. Things get tighter and tighter, we pass through the aperture, and find release at Yuletide. Then in the New Year, we’ll pick up the pieces of what has been a truly, truly, TRULY remarkable year. Twenty-sixteen. Yoh! Yes, we were here. Do I want the T-shirt? Is the Pope a woman!? Nah!

But… can any of us say we’ll even be here next year? Or tomorrow morning? One thing we have in common, one thing is certain – in this life, no-one gets out alive. We’re all going to die, even if we continue to live as if we’re immortal. Why is it taboo to speak about death, when it so often shapes our lives?

Jon Underwood started conducting Death Cafés in London, in around 2012, to create spaces for people to discuss their own mortality, and make the most of the life that remains. I had the privilege of chatting with him via Skype the other day. My friend Antonia and I are hosting a Death Café in Cape Town next month, on Mortal Monday, the 5th of December at my friend Karen Dudley’s amazing The Dining Room. It starts at 7:30pm. The invite is below. You’re invited. Space is limited and pre-booking is required. It’s not for profit, and a small voluntary donation is suggested.

To date, there have been over 4000 Death Cafés held in 40 countries all over the world, in workplaces, community halls, campuses, living rooms, coffeeshops, pubs – anywhere people can gather in a safe, contained space, discuss death, and eat cake. For that is one of the rules of Death Café. Cake.

That, and that people who come must be willing to engage about death. Which is a great filtering tool – the people in the room want to be there. It seems that talking about death can make life better.

Death Café is NOT a grief, trauma-sharing or group therapy session. There are no speeches or pamphlets, no attempt to lead people to any conclusion or outcome. It’s open-ended, open-source intellectual capital that anyone can use – even you, in your workplace. Check out if the idea strikes a chord. (Some eejits write ‘cord.’ It’s chord, for fluff’s sake!)

Do it. Life is short. Our invite is here and the link to our facebook page is here. What’s stopping you? If you can’t make it, or are not ready, we’ll hold one every month next year. If we’re here.

Would be so good to see you.

Peace and love, and thanks for reading –

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TakeAWAY Theatre
TakeAway Theatre and Training est 2001