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The funeral service for shows killed by the pandemic

“Every time we make a live work to be shared publicly we breathe life into a being of our own creation. A beautiful, perfect child, made in our image, who we love dearly and who we give to the world,” she wrote.

“But our work is dying, its life cycle cut short. There is a heavy cost beyond money to all this fruitless art making. And we feel it in our bodies – in the out breath, the shoulders and the gut. So much held-in grief. So much hard positivity, and wine, and sarcasm.

“Our children are dying. And we need to grieve.”

Death Knell will be an “artistic exchange” between Fish and her colleagues, she says. She will invite artists to tell her about their show, and offer them a range of end-of-life services including a death certificate, death notices in a limited-run publication, and the cremation and ashes-scattering options (she decided against the idea of a “mass grave”).

“I expect it will be an emotional experience for myself and for many participants,” Fish says. “I received an email from someone last night who said, ‘This made me laugh so much but also I think that I want to engage with this service.’

“I make clown work, I make physical comedy, so the work I’m interested in is the space of comedy and pathos and genuine connection with people.”

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Almost a year ago in the joyous “East Brunswick Entertainment Festival”, Fish and her housemates danced on their front lawn in lockdown.

“This whole experience of the last year and a half has completely changed my perspective as a human and as an artist, and I really, really care about community now,” says Fish.

Death Knell is self-funded and limited to Fringe shows, but Fish is already seeing wider demand.

“Feedback from a group that I posted in on Facebook was: ‘We need this in all states.’ ”

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