Sunday, November 22, 2009

"The Curious Savage" and the Message It Made

I love theatre, because of its proximity to real life and it being in the form of "real life". The playwrights all know this method of relaying a message about "life" is effective. Last night, my husband and I attended a local production of the play, "The Curious Savage". It's message was no less poignant.

The notes on the play suggested that the main character, Mrs. Savage was an illustration of selfishness, but I thought that some of the other members of the play illustrated selfishness more starkly.

The play begins with Mrs. Savage being brought to a 'home" by her three step-children. She portrays her resentment of their control and their greed for thier inheritance, through a mockery of thier values. And is left by them to face "herself" in the many characters that inhabit the "home".

These characters; a grieved childless mother, an idealistic, sensitive "dancer", a stubborn defiant "hater", an accomplished neurotic pianist, and a "blind" unaccomplished violinist "mirror" Mrs. Savage's psychological "reflections" of "loss".

Mrs. Savage's hope for a family had ended quickly after marrying her step-children's dad. She was never accepted for "who she was", but for what she could give monetarily. These step-children were"well-connected" and had positions of promenience. It was obvious that their actions were only "protected" by their fear of loosing "status", but their greed over-rode their sensibilities in the end, when Mrs. Savage told each one where she had hidden thier inheritance. She did not tell them the truth, nor did she tell them the same thing. She was protecting the inheritance to provide a 'name" for her dead husband.

Justice finally rules at the end. Each character is "redeemed" from their situational/psychological "doom", the step-children have been exposed for who they are and what they really want, and Mrs. Savage ultimately gets her inheritance, and her freedom.

I found this play to really speak of "reality". People are prone to hide their fears behind religious walls of identification. These fears are "real experiences' that have impacted lives. And religion or tradition just covers over their denial of "real life".

On the other hand, character is truly revealed when desire runs over another human being, such as the step-children did in Mrs. Savage's case.

I didn't agree with the director's analysis of the play, as Mrs. Savage was the only courageous one in the play. She was resolute to defend her honor, face her problems, and protect her husband's memory.

I highly recommend this play.

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