This play was unsettling.
Firstly because the presentation was so simple, and I found myself trying to find its “theatricality” as I was watching. There was very little activity on stage and the “drama” was spoken and subtle.
Secondly, the subject matter was disturbing and upsetting, and while the play wasn’t long exactly, it felt like time was slower while I was listening to the characters’ stories unfolding.
Afterwards, I thought until late into the night about the play, and not only about its apparently stated theme of ‘forgiveness’.
A story can tell us about a feeling or idea, while a play can show us — reveal to us — an idea… and perhaps get us to feel something as well. Perhaps.
But surely there are limits to empathy. Some thoughts and acts in others cannot be understood. And perhaps some acts cannot be forgiven.
Yet who or what is served by forgiving? Is forgiving the same as forgetting?
None of us wants to be put into a position where we must discover our own ability to forgive or not forgive. Maybe we must expose ourselves to these uncomfortable ideas in order to test ourselves.
As We Forgive: Three Morality Tales for an Amoral Age
Playwright: Tom Holloway
Director and Dramaturge: Julian Meyrick
Actor: Robert Jarman
(The image is my attempt to lighten the mood: three unforgivable things that have nothing to do with this play).