17 April 2019
Grace Patrick went and watched – and felt anger
I saw a man standing on a stage, telling us about a woman who he had loved and lost.
I saw two male musicians supporting the telling of his story.
I didn’t see the woman.
I didn’t hear the woman.
I certainly didn’t hear the woman’s side of the story.
I don’t know if the woman is real.
If she is, I don’t know if she knows this story is being told.
I held a drink in my hand, and I felt it go warm as the man on stage returned, over and over again, to points in his story where heavy drinking felt like the only option.
I heard him recognise how ingrained in student culture alcohol has become, and I didn’t hear him question that. This story is all told with the genius of hindsight, and yet the critique of himself is limited.
So many times, I heard him place this unnamed woman on a pedestal.
I heard that she liked to read.
I heard that she gave him a book.
I heard she often lit incense.
I heard that he loved her and that she didn’t love him, I couldn’t feel sorry for him.
I heard that she was leaving the country for six months, and I couldn’t feel sorry for him.
I heard that he could barely leave his bed, and I couldn’t feel sorry for him.
It’s not her job to fix him. She didn’t offer.
As the play kept going, I felt anger.
I felt anger for all the people performing emotional labour that they didn’t offer to undertake.
I felt anger that her inability to be his anchor was framed as a tragedy on his part.
How can he be a victim of a crime that didn’t happen?
Who was this for?
What were they meant to feel?
What was I meant to feel?
I don’t know what I was supposed to learn, or what I was supposed to take away.
I don’t know anything about the woman at the heart of the story, and I don’t trust the narrator.
I don’t have a lot more to say.
Photo credit: Beatrice Debney