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A Knock on the Door

Poetically weaving together interviews with nurses, dietitians, housekeepers, theologians, and administrators from the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, A Knock on the Door is a play performed by the real staff of a nursing home about the work—both daily and profound—that revolves around death and dying.

What happens when death and dying is an everyday part of your workplace? How do you honor each life and death and how do you get up and come back to work each day with compassion? How does it change you to be part of the process of dying? A Knock on the Door is a poetically assembled play, performed by the staff of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale nursing home, weaving together interviews with social workers, nurses, dieticians, theologians, engineers, housekeepers, and administrators from the organization. The performance asks us to consider the profound effects of dying and death, both sacred and mundane, on the workforce. It also challenges us to create a culture that supports everyone in the process – the residents, their families, and the staff who create the space for them to meet this experience with dignity.

Created by: Rachel Kauder Nalebuff with the staff of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale. A Knock on the Door was commissioned by the Therapeutic Arts & Enrichment Department at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in partnership with Reimagine End of Life.

Compositions and live score by:
Coleman Zurkowski

Movement direction by:
Rachel Bernsen

Performed by:
Edna Adams

Melody Brown

George Eley

Jennifer Flood-Sukhdeo

Agnes Johnson

Keresha Morrison

Mojdeh Rutigliano

Glendalee Oliveria

Joy Solomon

Nicholas Smith

Coleman Zurkowski (piano)

Matt Lau (electric bass)

Lucie Vítková (voice)