Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mourning Dove

While I appeared to have abandonned this blog, I have just been doing other school things. Now that it's summer, and I have a simple job, I'm going to attempt to update this blog with things I'm thinking at least once a week.

So on Sunday I went to see the play Mourning Dove since I had free tickets. It is a play based on the Latimer case, in which a man killed his severly disabled daughter because he said he wanted to stop her suffering. Before I actually this play I felt that the man deserved to go to jail. A life is a life, and you should go to jail for taking one away.

This play changed my perspective completely, and I think that's a testament to the great acting. You could see that the mother and father loved the child very much. They did everything they could do to make her laugh and smile. Yet every day they had to endure her suffering with seizures, and constantly gasping for breath. There was nothing they could do. She was going to have more surgery to cut off her thigh bone. Even that wouldn't alleviate her pain. If I were in a state like that, I would prefer death, because that's no way to live.

So the father should have killed her right? It's not that simple. They had no way to KNOW what she wanted, since she couldn't speak. Who knows whether she wanted to live that way or not, she certainly couldn't have been given her consent. No one knows what it was like to be her, since she was never able to tell them. Yet the impulse when a child is so obviously in pain to have that child drift off peacefully into sleep and never wake up, yet never be in pain again is extremely understandable. When you see him in the play wishing to be able to fix his daughter's pain and knowing he can't, my heart broke for him, because he did what he thought was the only thing he can do.

The other character Keith (I believe that was his name) complicated the question a bit. Keith was a man with developmental disabilities that was a friend of the family though I couldn't quite understand his relation. Keith was a kind man who didn't quite understand what was going on all the time, but just wanted to make Tina (the girl killed by her father in the play) and the rest of the family happy. When Keith found out that Tina's father killed her, he couldn't understand when the father said it was to kill her. As he said, killing doesn't help, it hurts. He felt that the father, Doug, killed Tina because she was different and would never heal. He says that as he is also different, called a freak, and will never heal, Doug should kill him too and stop his pain.

While I do not believe this man killed his daughter because she was disabled, and only because he believed her to be in unbearable incurable pain, this raises a whole new set of issues. If euthanasia is legalized to allow killing in compassionate circumstances, who is to decide what is compassionate? Who is to decide what is severly disabled? Do we just kill people because we believe they would be better off dead? It leads to a slippery slope which leads to leniency in cases like this to be thoroughly questioned.

This play touched me greatly, and had more than a few of the audience in tears. The small intimate theater added to that effect. Last year in my Plays of the Modern Era class, we saw several plays at this theater, all of which were deep, profound, and entertaining. If anyone who happens to read this wants to see a good play, I recommend seeing any play that is shown at Tarragon Theater, you definately won't regret it.

Thus concludes my blog, anyone who's interested can attempt to find a copy of Mourning Dove, or listen to it (it was originally a radio play). It is my summer goal to blog once a week, but we'll see how it goes.
If you would like to read my poetry I intend to write every day, go to my other blog ideasinarhyme.blogspot.com

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