Two siblings are forced to confront the unfamiliar in the most familiar place, deciding what matters most.


Sharon - Female, 20s / 30s, any race / ethnicity

Matthew- Female, 20s / 30s, any race / ethnicity

estranged siblingsgrief, sexual orientation, selling a housereconciliation
Publication Anthology - 2023

(Know Theatre, NY - 2020)
“There is so much at work in this short play! Great characters. Wonderfully written--I will carry so many lines of dialogue away with me. John Mabey gives us a beautiful excavation of the complexities of being human.”
(Robin Berl)

“Once again, John Mabey lifts a veil on our own lives that we so rarely glimpse under - even if we scour our lives regularly. In this case, we see the real lives of parents and the legacies we receive, good and bad. Mabey reminds us that families are not a finite thing - discoveries are made along the way - as we mature, they age and lives close. To be able to see what this brother and sister discover is a joy: they are not stuck. They grow. We all have hope. Well done, Mabey.”
(D. Lee Miller)

“Messy, messy, messy, are the family dynamics explored so beautifully in John Mabey’s Stages of Joy. As Sharon and Mattie near the end of clearing out their deceased parents’ house, an accidental discovery sheds potential new light on old wounds — but whether that will prove to be a balm or more salt is unclear. The natural, easy flow of dialogue gives us two memorable characters: real, complicated adult siblings who are distanced but not estranged, loving but not close, and trying to do their best by each other. Well done.”
(Vince Gatton)

“John Mabey’s play puts two siblings in their deceased parents’ home as they make final arrangements to discard or keep what was their parents’ possessions. But the physical objects, like a letter, open unseen doors to their family secrets. “Stages of Joy” tackles grief, love, shame, guilt, and the realization that there was more hidden from them than divulge while their parents were alive.”
(Jack Levine)

“Shame is a waste of time" vs Shame is a stage in coming to terms with the past. Full of sharp perceptions, there's a lot going on in this realistic sibling encounter on the death of the second of their difficult parents. Then comes a huge revelation in their understanding of their family history - a real catalyst to their emotional growth that is satisfying for the characters and audience alike.”
(Christine Foster)

“You'll fall in love with Mattie and Sharon, and ache with them as they discover secrets about their recently deceased father. Playwright John Mabey beautifully brings us into their world of sibling rivalry and revelry as they navigate what was, what is, and what might be. A gorgeous play about love, loss, and coffin shaming.
Read it and produce it! Then go call your sibling.”
(Arianna Rose)
Winthrop University, SC - 2022

Winthrop University, SC

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