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Day 44 the open door

March 12, 2010

The Quest for God took a quantum leap when we got a piece in today’s:

Independent

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Confidentially, Simon Callow has said he’d’ve loved to but has other engagements. We never expected this to be easy. After all, A-list actors are A-list because they work and are in demand. But at least two of the names mooted by the Indie team are to followed up on!

BTW wouldn’t want yesterblog to give the idea I spent all yesterDay 45 musing on intercutting and interconnectivity in The Southwark Mysteries. No, this blog is merely my refuge from the non-stop life of a modern Mystery Play producer.

High noon. I’m sitting in Daisy’s Council flat near Tabard Gardens, drinking tea and listening to her life story – how she came here from Jamaica in 1959, her battles with Council, Church and other establishment figures. Daisy has always been an unpaid community support worker – raising her grand-daughter and looking after a lot of others beside; helping Audrey run the jumble shop in the crypt of St Hugh’s Church, back in the recent day when it was still Charterhouse and the Rainbow Centre.

I’m here to offer Daisy a part in The Southwark Mysteries. It’s only a twelve-word part, but it’s one that carries enormous prestige. One that should – must – be played by a woman of colour, preferably Jamaican, preferably with the dignity a certain age confers. The part of Mary Seacole. In the play she’s introduced to Jesus in the company of Florence Nightingale:

FLORENCE           You’re an inspiration to us all, Sir.

They shake hands formally. Seeing the black woman  next to FLORENCE,  JESUS greets her like an old friend.

JESUS                  Mary! Mary Seacole!

MARY SEACOLE laughs, hugging him. JOHN TAYLOR sidles up to MOLL, observing them.

MARY                   Wha’ appenin’, Jesus! Look at you! Skin and bone! You need feeding up, boy!

TAYLOR                Who’s that then, with Florence?

MOLL                   Mary Seacole, your ‘black nightingale’. Born Jamaica, but we claim her as a local girl. Florence wasn’t the only nightingale one doing a spot of nursin’ in the old Crimean War…

Soon after, Jesus begins to unfold his teaching: that he is not to be worshipped like some abstract, external idol, but that he is present in the good deeds of all men and women and in compassion for the disinherited:

And as, in each life, I am Light revealing,
In each death, a part of me darkens and dies.
And there in St Thomas’ I work my miracles
As here in my Bermondsey Guy’s.
In my Nightingales and my Mary Seacoles
Who mopped-up my blood in the mud of Crimea.
Thus I tirelessly labour in your long night’s Ministry,
To restore mine own body to wholeness and health.
Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
Physician, heal thyself!

Now showing Daisy the script, fine upstanding church-going Jamaican lady that she is, I’m a tad nervous that she might find it a bit racy. I heard her a couple of the edgier lines.

‘It’s not all pretty.’ I say.

‘No’, says Daisy, ‘But it real!’

‘You won’t need to act.’ I say ‘Just be yourself, only bigger. Are you up for it?’

Daisy laughs: ‘I’m up for anything!’

So, fingers crossed, we have our Mary Seacole, with Pam to play Florence.

Spent a few hours updating our website, putting community cast photos on a couple of the pages as well as the links to Dom Search’s every expanding

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The shadow lifteth. The black dog is slunk back into the murk whereof he cometh.

Songs of love and healing ring down the ages.

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3 comments

  1. Wonderful – I was wondering who would play Mary S! She sounds perfect. Looking forward to rehearsals on Monday.


  2. One of my colleagues counts Joanna Lumley as a family friend?


    • Joanna as God? Well, after Gurkha!!! lol – it might be worth informally sounding her out and availability – or let me know if your colleague has an email address address I could send the God script to. (I’m after Ian McKellen or Tim Spall, though with nothing but blind faith on my side – still, when it comes to preconceptions about God, best to keep an open mind. 😉



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