Friday, January 30, 2015


Today was Play 2: Creature, by Heidi Schreck.

It's a strange little play - one that I can't say filled me with a desire to see it, but it was interesting. The setting is a sort of collision between the 15th century and present day in the small town of Lynn where the mayor's daughter and her husband have just had their first child. Margery, the mother, believes that she has been visited by Jesus, and that she is being tormented by the devil, so she begins visiting a local grayfriar who reads to her from a book of revelations written by another woman - Juliana - who is said to have had visions. As she studies, she gets more and more committed to becoming a saint. She fasts, she refuses the company of her husband and her baby son, she weeps and prays and preaches and wears white... all things that are not looked upon kindly by the 15th century people around her. 

The real story, of course, has much less to do with whether these visions are real or what the true nature of divinity might be, and much more to do with a new mother who is completely overwhelmed with all the responsibilities that come with that. She not only runs the house, but she also seems to run their successful brewery as well, as her husband has no head for business. And on top of all of this, she has to be sexually available to her husband as well. She runs from all of these responsibilities into the confusing arms of religion, where men want nothing more than to adore her (in the case of the church tenor) or read to hear (in the case of the friar). Unfortunately, most people don't see things their way, and the townspeople start getting a little burned-at-the-stake happy, so Margery has to make a pilgrimage to Juliana to be officially declared not a heretic. When she returns home, the city is in flames, but she returns to her family and holds her baby for the first time, and allows herself to be held by her husband too. 

Honestly, this play didn't inspire me to see it realized the way yesterday's did. I feel like the danger of this piece is that Margery comes across as pretty outlandish. It's easier to relate to a bunch of avatars than it is to a woman dubbing herself an aspiring saint and wailing on her back in religious ecstasy. I couldn't really relate to any of the characters, frankly. I sort of judged them a bit too harshly throughout. Her husband didn't try to understand her, and just seemed angry he wasn't getting laid. But when he tells the friar that he's been raising their son because his mother won't, I saw a glimpse of a different side of him. I would have liked to see more depth like that in the characters. As it stands, I mostly see a lot of people talking at each other, and no one hearing either each other or themselves all that well. I think it would be a frustrating play to watch.

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