‘Her story is intimate and revealing about what it is to smile and what it means when you can’t’ Cynthia NixonThe extraordinary story of one woman’s ten-year odyssey that brought her physical, creative, emotional, and spiritual healing. With a play opening on Broadway, and every reason to smile, Sarah Ruhl has just survived a high-risk pregnancy when she discovers the left side of her face is completely paralyzed. She is assured that 90 percent of Bell’s palsy patients experience a full recovery, like her own mother.
But Sarah is in the unlucky ten percent. And for a woman, wife, mother, and artist working in theatre, the paralysis and the disconnect between the interior and exterior brings significant and specific challenges. So she begins an intense decade-long search for a cure while simultaneously grappling with the reality of her new face – one that, while recognisably her own, is incapable of accurately communicating feelings or intentions.
Smile is Ruhl’s piercing, witty, lucid chronicle of her journey. She explores the struggle of a body yearning to match its inner landscape, the pain of postpartum depression, the story of a marriage, being a playwright and working mother to three small children, and the desire for a resilient spiritual life in the face of illness. Brimming with insight, humility, warmth and humour, Smile is a triumph: an intimate examination of loss and reconciliation, and above all else, the importance of perseverance and hope in the face of adversity.