Jigsaw is profoundly beautiful. It is expressive and articulate interchangeably –and yes, there is a difference. At points Molly Parker explains her perspective on the vital need to alter our vocabulary surrounding the actions of people with autism, to refer to it as the individual’s preferences rather than symptoms of their autism. She does so with clarity and evident rehearsal, selecting the right words to assert her view with conviction. At other points the performance takes on an unrehearsed style. The intimacy and honesty of this–
I am trying to have control, to be clear, and articulate, to have thought this through and ordered my thoughts into a linear response. But it is not honest to do so. I’m not lying; I’m just walking around the edge of my feelings, hoping I can spiral into the centre.
I’m still doing it now.
This is what I would like to say…
There was so much love. It swelled and pulsated throughout Jigsaw. It was caring and careful and so kind, so overwhelmingly, affectingly kind. It was humbling and made me want to be a better person. Society does not merely need to pay attention to these marginalised experiences to accommodate them, it needs to allow itself to be altered by the empathy these relationships epitomise.
I would like to tell you…
I’ve worked with children and young who have special needs for a few years, and the days I’ve spent with them have been some of the most joyful and formative of my life. Because they are joyous and beautiful and kind people. And sometimes they’re sad and distressed too. And because I cannot always understand their feelings, without the prescribed and limited way of communicating that is words, it is not easy to help them. They can express, but I long for them to be articulate.
I would like to admit…
I’ve never really thought about what will happen when the young people who I work with no longer have their parents. When they are grown up, who will support them? I’ve not thought what happens when there isn’t family.
I would like to thank the creators of Jigsaw, the bravery of Molly, the medium of theatre, all of it, for reminding me how to feel gratitude and hope and love, for reminding me why we share.
I would like to apologise…
I feel solipsistic. Having watched a performance which is so emphatically about family and relationships, I have said the word ‘I’ twenty times. I didn’t mean to, but it would be a false to avoid introspection. It would be too easy to distance myself from a play that gently pleas for engagement.
There are so many aspects of this performance, from the ordered-disorder of the set design to the accessibility, from the meta quality to the notion of testimony, which deserve consideration. I have no words left for this, but I hope you can understand now what I mean when I say it is profoundly beautiful – I hope I have expressed myself clearly enough.