Saturday, August 16, 2008

16 August 2008

I was taught I think that saints are saints because they are good people. Super good people: and that is why they are saints.
But it occurs to me now that all that is just a lie. Another of the lies we were told as children.
I think saints are saints not because they are good, but because they are themselves.
And that’s why they perform miracles. And that we, too, will perform miracles the day we stop becoming our own shadows and enter fully into our own selves.
Our own amazing selves.
All this prompted by going to Duddingston and seeing Theatre Alba do Shaw’s St. Joan.
And the other thing about St. Joan is that she never censored herself. As we always do. She heard voices, and she said so. She heard voices that seemed overwhelmingly to her to offer a positive way forward and she obeyed them.
I have heard voices. Always at moments of profoundest crisis.
Once was in 1978, telling me to give up nursing and go back to writing.
And the second time was in 2004, telling me to live as a woman after Susie’s death.
It’s hard to acknowledge these things, because you feel crazy. And in fact I know there have been many many other times, but I have not been able to fully acknowledge.
And if I have on these occasions, it is because the experience was so overwhelming that I had no other choice. Just as it also felt impossible not to obey.
And all that helps me appreciate the amazing quality of Shaw’s writing and the beautiful devoted skill of Theatre Alba bringing it to life.
I love this company. Its director, Charlie Nowoskielski, is someone of huge artistic integrity who absolutely refuses to be anybody but his own dogged artistic self.
In that sense, he’s very like St. Joan. And he gathers around him a band of like minded St Joans whose enterprise in its own quiet way is as crazy and as inspired as her aspiration to drive the goddam English out of France.
Which is of course in the end what actually happened.
They created a piece of amazing theatre. And the goddam English have left France.
Common sense turns out to have no sense to it at all.
Comments:
I loved your piece on saints and Theatre Alba, Jo. And, speaking personally as a cast member, it is all the more pleasing because it was written by someone of your standing in Scottish theatre.
 
I loved your piece on saints and Theatre Alba this morning, Jo. And, speaking personally as a cast member of Saint Joan, it was all the more pleasing coming from someone with your standing in Scottish Theatre
 
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