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I Love You So Much I Could Die

Mona Pirnot. Photos by Jenny Anderson.

Theatre power couple Mona Pirnot and Lucas Hnath join forces to present I Love You So Much I Could Die. This solo show combines music and technological tools to share a personal story about grief, love, and healing.

Written and performed by Mona Pirnot, the script follows a pattern of stories read aloud by a Microsoft text-to-speech tool, followed by original songs sung and accompanied on guitar by Pirnot. Not only does Pirnot not speak any text in the show, but the audience also never sees her face. She sits in a chair with her back facing us for the duration of the piece, only using her voice to sing. We only see her face when she turns to bow at the very end, breaking her anonymity once the vulnerable storytelling is over. These dramaturgical choices result in a detached, introspective and subdued production. In not performing the text, opting for a robot to dictate it, the audience must focus solely on the words. We wrestle with the overwhelming emotions in the script internally, never seeing a representation of them onstage.

I wonder if Pirnot chose this removed storytelling style because of the depth of vulnerability shared in these personal stories. I wonder if the show is a means of coping with these traumas. Was the choice to leave the audience without a person onstage to project the catharsis of the story intentionally created to reinforce the collective catharsis of the show? In the show’s lack of theatricality, it works as a stage piece because of this communal emotional connection. As the show continued, the sounds of crying multiplied around the space, sniffling noises echoing in moments of silence.

The show follows two main story threads: the fallout of an accident Pirnot’s sister is in and the love story of Pirnot and Hnath. Much is said in the script about the romantic relationship, including how it started, how it blossomed, and the support Hnath extended to Pirnot and her family in the wake of the accident. Conversely, little is said about the actual substance of the sister’s situation, leaving the audience to piece together bits of information scattered throughout the script. At first, this lack of clarity drew me in, making me invested in discovering what was happening. However, very little resolution is given to this storyline by the end. I know it is hard to write real-life instances in a way that translates to theatrically satisfying plot lines. However, if the story had a little more lucidity and a more conclusive narrative, it would have landed even more with audiences. In addition, the connecting threads between the stories could have been strengthened. The different robot-read monologues all loosely fit together; however, they could have formed a stronger narrative structure to create a more cohesive story.

The lighting design and music direction/additional music arrangement aided the sensual experience of the show. The play begins with the lights fully on, even in the house. This choice, jarring in its unusualness, puts the audience slightly on edge. Then, as the play goes on, the lights slowly get darker and darker, bringing the audience further into the stories shared onstage as the rest of the world fades away. By the end of the show, the whole space is left dark, with the exception of a lamp and the light of the laptop reading Pirnot’s words. She closes the laptop and turns off the light, bringing the play to a close. Similarly, the musical score develops significantly throughout the show. In the beginning, Pirnot accompanies herself on an acoustic guitar, even giving a vocal rendition of an electric guitar solo, instead of using an electric amp. By the last song, her vocals and guitar are boosted by an underscoring, making for a musical crescendo of a finale.

I Love You So Much I Could Die is unique in its solo storytelling. The show is an emotional journey and makes for a very evocative night of theatre.

“I Love You So Much I Could Die”

Written and performed by Mona Pirnot

Directed by Lucas Hnath

February 1- March 9, 2024

New York Theatre Workshop (79 East 4th Street, NYC)


Carmen! is a trans-multimedia artist specializing in playwriting, acting and crochet. Originally from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, they are currently based in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, returning to their Atlantic Oceanic roots. Their play Taking the Plunge has been performed at the Tank and the Chain off-Broadway and in the 2023 Fresh Fruit Festival slated this June. Carmen has also worked in front-of-house and technical positions for prominent theater organizations including New Dramatists, Portland Playhouse, Emursive and Future Proof. Carmen’s mission is to use play to create meaningful representation by and for underrepresented communities. For more information on Carmen! Follow them on socials @carmenacetosociety or check out


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