Earlier this month I watched the Theatre Royal Plymouth People’s Company Production ‘Mended’, by Jon Welch. The performance was originally from one of Tolstoy’s short story, What Men Live By. Through the performance I saw numerous of inspirations that I would like to share here.
To summarise the play, a young mute woman is found abandoned on the moorland near a small village. “No clothes, no belongings, no sign of struggle, no tyre tracks. No matches on any missing persons database. Like she just dropped out of the sky”. Quoted from the play, the story is drawn among a cynical community from the small village, trying to investigate the unknown mute woman, who, was first found by the ageing loner. Later, the loner is given a miraculous last chance to cure his loneliness.
The play marks some classic scenes and characters that we will meet in our real lives. I totally enjoyed the whole play and there were a few thoughts I have taken in from the performance.
1. ‘When we try to ask questions and made effort to know somebody else’s issues, are we truly intended to care about them or just to fulfil our own pleasure on, say, “gossiping”?’
So after the ageing loner found the mute woman, who is also a mechanic of the village. The community would start ‘gossiping’ random interpretations of how the mechanic would have connection with the mute woman. Some would say “Do you think he found her from the Internet (adult-only websites)?” “She seems very young, do you think he has been hiding them in his garage?” or, to the mechanic “Hey, so why don’t you tell me more about your new girlfriend?”
2. ‘Do we easily jump to our imaginative conclusion (often cynical) and only ask questions that we would hope to end up fulfilling our conclusion?”
From the audience point of view, it would gradually be clear that the mute woman would in fact be some kind of an angle, being sent down from above to this village to ‘cure’ people. She made a symbol of a heart out from some metal scrap at the garage and start showing it to the community, also expressing that she is giving the ‘heart’ out as a gift, like a kindness. Yet none of the characters in the community would accept it but even felt offended and defend themselves over it. “What? Why are you giving me this (to the heart looking metal scrap)? Are you saying I don’t have ONE!?” This makes up to the third message of the story.
3. When we see someone showing a sign of kindles, regardless what you might have done to him/her. Do we often start interpreting the negatives and start believing the negatives without any clue?
Towards the end of the story, the mute woman was found lifeless, “like she has already given her time here” and left. Almost at the same time, the loner mechanic was found, in front of the whole community, with wings at the back of him and ‘promoted’ to the sky above.
After that, the community seems to just pass over the whole incident and back to their mundane life. However, one young female character from the community decided to leave the village. Saying her goodbye to the owner of the pub and said, to me, a very strong line from the play “Makes me wonder, how many Jesus have we missed in our life?” Then the play ended as she walks off the stage.
The line made my last but not least reflection from the play.
4. When chances are offered to us, have we missed it and keep on living the same old live? Perhaps we should start seeing new different perspective(s) and do something about it?
In conclusion, the play was performed on point and I love it when it has given me, as an audience, a chance to open up numbers of diverse thoughts. Love it when it all just makes sense now!
Thanks for Reading
Harry Chi Li
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