'It got me out of the house,' Alberta woman sees 500 shows in 6 years after husband's death

'It got me out of the house,' Alberta woman sees 500 shows in 6 years after husband's death

An Alberta woman had a hard time keeping it together after her husband passed away a few years ago.

"When he first died it was really hard to talk to people because my voice would break," Sandy Moser told Daybreak Alberta.

"Well, if you go to a play they would like you to shut up. They are doing a play, you know? If I started to cry, well, they would just assume I was crying at the play, good or bad."

Going to a play, it turned out, was therapeutic for Moser in dealing with the loss.

"My husband, who passed away six years ago, was really not a fan of theatre so we didn't go often, I didn't want to go by myself. After he died, I thought, 'I wonder what I do with the rest of my life,' I had taken care of him for quite some time," the retired Edmonton nurse explained.

"A friend of mine took me to a high school production of Les Misérables, well how terrible could that be? It was fantastic. It was Scona High School in Edmonton and it was absolutely fantastic."

Moser said it was the first time she could escape the sadness.

"I sat there and I thought, 'For the last two hours I didn't once think about me and my life.' That was my first two hours that I hadn't been wallowing and it was wonderful."

So she saw another play, and another, and another.

This month, Moser saw her 500th production, but at times she can't resist and goes to some more than once.

"If I see it twice, it gets two points," she said with a laugh.

Moser and her daughter, Karen Johnson-Diamond, have compiled a list of all the shows and concerts that Moser has enjoyed.

"She's seen professional and community theatre, play workshops and readings, elementary school artist in residency presentations, opera, shows in French, shows in ASL, and shows put on by high schools and junior high school drama classes," Johnson-Diamond wrote in a Facebook post.

"She's seen outdoor theatre, seen all sorts of improv and been to a lot of festivals. She's seen shows in Alberta, B.C., Halifax, and the States."

Moser says when she's sitting in the front row taking in a performance, she's transported to her happy place.

"I would sit down in a theatre and my soul would exhale, I don't know how to describe it, but I didn't have to think about anything but what they were going to tell me, so I kept going."

Two of her favourite productions are very different, but both memorable.

"I saw Falling; A Wake five years ago, that was my number one for years. Then I saw it in Chemainus last year and it was even better. It was just my cup tea. I cried my eyes out both times. On the other side of the spectrum, last year at the fringe festival I saw Cowboy: A Cowboy Story. Absolutely ridiculous. I loved it."

Moser's theatrical adventures, which she calls "How Sandy Fills in her Days," is about stepping away from her day-to-day responsibilities, which can also be a way to gauge the quality of the production.

"If I didn't once think about my grocery list or what I have to do when I get home. If they have got me totally engrossed in the story they are telling me, it's perfect. Doesn't matter if it's sad or happy. If I am planning that I really need bananas and toilet paper then, no, I wouldn't tell anybody to go and see that one," Moser said.

"They are telling me a bedtime story and you know what? Adults need a bedtime story."

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With files from Daybreak Alberta