Sunday, May 11, 2014

Rambling: A Wrinkle in Time (on paper, on stage, and in my head)

(I wrote this yesterday. Then I got sleepy and forgot to hit Publish. So I'm calling it yesterday's post. Yep.) 

 The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is showing a production of A Wrinkle in Time, adapted for the stage by Tracy Young. You should all go see it. Run along and order your tickets. I'll wait till you get back. I can tell you where to eat in Ashland, too.

But that's not mostly the point of this post. Part of the point of this post is that the play made me cry. That's no big deal, in general: plays often want to do that. But...

OK, digression. Really, this is going to be relevant. My mother has a story about my brother as a baby, eating creamed spinach. I think it was spinach; anyway, it was something he didn't like the taste of. He would willingly open his mouth for a spoonful, experience the taste, and cry. And then he'd open his mouth again. He utterly failed to make the connection between accepting the spoon, and his crying.

I have a similar disconnect with what's making me cry when I see this play. Or think about this play. Or talk about this play. I get a few words in, and off go all those wanna-cry body parts. (Not that I'm saying I don't like the taste of the play. Did I mention that you should go see it?)

But the wanna-cry isn't associated with identifiable thoughts. Or feelings. Or images. Or characters. There's no, "Oh, poor Meg," or Charles Wallace, or Calvin, or any of those. I'm burbling "Yeah, they did a really good job of carrying out the spirit of the book without slavishly sticking to elements that wouldn't work onstage, and the thing they did with the viewfoils...dagnabbit, why am I crying again?!"

I feel as if I'm standing outside myself getting exasperated as I crash, like an unstable computer. But there's no core dump, nothing to analyze.

Well, no feelings to analyze, but that leads to the second part of this post, where I realize that I'm seeing a metaphor in the play that I think was there all along in the book, and wondering how I could possibly have missed it, and wondering if I made it up. But, see, I can talk about that metaphor all day and it doesn't make me cry. So it doesn't solve the puzzle.

Anyway. This is going to be a spoiler. Spoiler. Not the final spoiler in the story, but a spoiler, so stop reading if you want to read (or see--bought those tickets yet?) A Wrinkle In Time without being influenced by my interpretation.

You remember the room, the metaphorical "cloven pine" and Mr. Murray (Meg's father) and Meg with Mrs. Who's glasses? Yes? Mr. Murray's trapped in the room, a prison with transparent walls. He can't see, and no one can get in to help him, or even communicate with him, no matter how loud they shout or how hard they pound on the walls. All they can do is watch him suffer.

But when Meg puts on Mrs. Who's glasses, she can walk through the cold transparent walls. She gives the glasses to her father--puts them on him herself, I think, against his "that won't work" protests--and he can see. He can see, and he can get through the walls, though now she's blind. He scoops her up and walks out of his prison, carrying her.

Are you seeing what I'm seeing? Was this obvious to everyone but me?

Is there a child of disordered parents who has not, at times, wanted nothing on earth more than the ability to make their parents see, and to empower them to escape from the prison of their own making? And also to give up their own self-imposed responsibility and become a child, finally cared for, rescued, by that parent?

Suddenly that's what I get from that scene, in the book or the play. Suddenly IT, and Camazotz, are all metaphor. They're Mr. Murray. The mind imprisoning and controlling him is his own mind. The mind that tried but failed to destroy his children is his own mind. I don't know if Madeline l'Engle meant that, consciously or unconsciously, but there it is all the same.

But I can discuss that, and write it, and nothing wants to cry. So there's got to be something else in there.

Or I just need a clean reinstall.

No comments:

Post a Comment