Saturday, 24 May 2014

Subtext and Rain

So last night I went to see play performed and written by some University Students entitled Subtext and Rain. I have to say as way of an introduction that I was pleasantly surprised by it. It was well put together and kept me engaged throughout.

As the title may suggest this was a show of themes. The subtext was key and as such worldviews were portrayed but rarely articulated. One of the key ideas which came across again and again was the idea of isolation. As we entered we were encouraged to write down secrets which played a part in the performance and throughout the play again and again the idea came out that no-one really knows us (and perhaps we don't even know ourselves).

This was seen as an overwhelming experience. This sense of isolation, or not being understood, was often portrayed as too much. The water (rain) is rising around us and we're struggling to stay afloat.

This was only one of many themes within the play but it got me thinking about the play as a whole and it struck me that like so much that I watch it was again a play which was willing to diagnose and highlight problems but unwilling to even venture a solution. The sense of isolation highlighted in the play was never addressed. So we identify a problem but offer no solutions. We are nervous to offer solutions because who am I to say anyway - The problem is that mere diagnosis is of limited use.

As I look at the gospel I see the problem of isolation, of loneliness regularly presented but I see a solution offered as well. We are isolated as we seek to present a different face to that we have. We are isolated as we harm other people and are harmed by others and withdraw. We are isolated but this is not the end. The work of Jesus was specifically to rebuild these broken relationships. The security offered by the gospel enable us to be open and vulnerable with people rather than mere actors working hard to portray the version of ourselves we want others to see. This is why so much of what Jesus talks about relates to how we relate to others.

The bible is clear - Isolation and loneliness are realities but the gospel offers a promise of something different/something better. Subtext and Rain could not offer this and so what you are left with is an entertaining and engaging diagnosis which leaves you aware of the problem with no idea how to address it

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