There is Jimmy at the centre of it all making the world revolve around him. He is the axis and the two women are the pole opposites which are in fact the same, and they propel around him in orbit pulled tightly together inwards by Jimmy’s force. The two women shall go unnamed because that’s how they seem to me, a mere device to hone in a point; the other male also performs the same function but as a brother. A relative to Jimmy, someone from his heritage but also not him, a weaker more diluted version. For as ghastly as it is Jimmy is the hero. A horrific horrendous hero. He detests living but that is all that he can do, and what a mighty effort he makes of it. That’s what’s heroic, never is Jimmy pathetic. Forever heroic.
That is a facet of an hero isn’t it? That they fight and strive on for a cause, an idea, an ideology perhaps, one thing that is as unobtainable as truth and these heroes don’t care if they die in the course of attaining it. Salvation would hark the Christians, peace would chant the Hindus. However, what about heroines or just heroes that are women. Do they exist out there as eternal godly mortal bodies, washed up to shore by the tides of time and the Fates? Men can be forlorn yet majestic, pathetic and pure; but women can they seem the same? As it is all to do with seemingness not actual being isn’t it? These stories are passed on to us the audience to interpret. You can’t place all the blame on Aesychylus or Osborne or the author who penned such characters can you?
Shakespeare told that the trade of the players was to ‘hold as it were a mirror up to Nature.’ What else is happening on stage than a devised piece about our lives, the things we see and believe in everyday. Why is it that we interpret male heroes as heroes and female ones as a phenomenon, or dare I say it, a mystery.
Why is it that women can be witches men can be divine mortals? Why is it that when a man does something silly for love, like slaughter his own family, they say he was bewitched or possessed or spell-bound? Why is it that when women commit a crime they must repent or otherwise be condemned as evil?
I want to see a play where the Jimmy is a Jane. The Jane of humanity, yes the modern world but Osborne wrote that in 1956, so what I mean is as modern as that.
I see Jane living life as soulfully and truly as she possibly can. She is committed to no one and she expects no commitment back. All she has to steady her is the cause that she believes is right, and that is if she does her bit (and everyone else ends up doing a bit more their bit) the world will be stiller. Less forceful, less amorous, less spicy and more loving. Like a placid sea. Or like open water when one gets far out enough to sea, far out in to the Pacific or the Indian Ocean; when the fish shoals will mingled with the plankton and the nothing particles and the liquid and the salt and everything will move and dissolve as one. When loud clatter is drowned out almost immediately as it is made, where no accidents are accidents and time and space are the same thing.
The heroine will reach out to this ideal and grasp whispy bits of thin air and lace and petals that fall silently like Christmas snow. Men will fall for her, swoon, place bets, tear her apart and make her feel pain but nothing will compare to the eternal sorrow she endures knowing that the ideal is so close at hand but can never be touched. There will be two polar opposite men who will swivel when she swivels and a woman who belongs to her and loves her like a mother, sister and a whore. The world will be against her. Morals will not be kept by her. But she will be free from this mess, this tempting little mess.