• In 2012, visual artist, puppeteer and director Chrystene Ells was catapulted out of her body through the top of her head during a sudden onset of partial seizures.
  • Upon re-entry, she found a brighter and more serene world, so different that for nearly a year, she secretly wondered whether she was dead.
  • In losing facility with verbal language and linear time, she had somehow stepped into a transcendentally beautiful universe which unfolded behind the sheer curtain of cognitive functioning. While friends worried and baffled doctors suggested she had experienced ‘events’ in the temporal lobe of her brain, Ells’ inquiries unveiled that many people have similar unexpected encounters with states of surreal bliss, interconnectedness, and bright humour — and that there is some non-pathological fun to be had in The Big Living and The Big Dying.

Venue and Dates

  • Templeton Studio Cabaret in the Globe Theatre, May 31, 2012 – Jun 9, 2012


  • Written by Chrystene Ells, in collaboration with the ensemble
  • Directed by Chrystene Ells
  • Music by Jason Cullimore
  • Puppets and Masks Designed by Chrystene Ells
  • American Sign Language Poetry consultant: Joanne Weber
  • Featuring: Mark D. Claxton, Aubree Erickson, Avianna Hudym, Berny Hi, Joanne Weber
  • Produced by Chrystene Ells and Berny Hi (Regina)
  • Assistant Production Designers: Shelby Lyn Lowe, Rosa Laverdiere
  • Lighting Designer: Ben Gilmour
  • Stage Manager Angela van den Heuvel
  • Running Crew: Shelby Lyn Lowe, Rosa Laverdiere
  • Guest Dramaturg: Michael Scholar Jr.


  • On Friday June 8th, 2012 the performance was interpreted in American Sign Language.