Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Fellow Creatures

I saw My Fellow Creatures tonight at the Theatre Passe Muraille.
Biking down I was expecting about 10 people. A small play in the middle of it's run on a Tuesday night in a theatre I had never heard of. Even Sky Gilbert's recent opening night musical wasn't at capacity. But the theatre was full and with good reason.
The cast was amazing, the very handsome, through not 22, Benjamin Clost stood out for me, playing a victim of a pedophile who years later is arrested for the same crime and put in a cell with his abuser. A similar thing happened in my favourite book, Against the Law, where in 1954 in England a victim was put in a cell with his abuser and when he complained was told, "That's part of your punishment."
The play really looked at the human condition, something I have tried to touch on repeatedly here, from going to Auschwitz last week to eating animals to the subject of the play, pedophilia, the question I have is always why. What is making these people tick? But like Nietzsche said, when you look into the void, the void also looks into you.
I believe that's why I went to Auschwitz in the first place, all my life I had heard the Nazis were the ultimate evil. And this is just something I can't accept. I don't believe in the concept of good and evil, I think everyone believes they are good. And what if Hitler was human, what if he laughed, what if he had thoughts and emotions, what if he loved? Perhaps examining this, and discovering that the difference between us is not so great, perhaps examining this will help us understand, get to the root of the real issue, and help it not happen again.
I really question the simplicity that some people have with these topics, and I saw it tonight in the Q & A session after the play with the actors and repeating the mantra pedophiles = evil and talk about having the stomach to handle the role, even thanking Jack Daniels in the program, it seems everyone is looking for an escape, the easy answer, and to put everything in the box marked bad or good.
I heard today the German people participated in the holocaust because they were all brainwashed by Hitler who was insane. Stupid. This didn't happen like that and there is a need to examine the gray area in the middle.
I think there is a fallacy with pedophiles that needs to be changed. I think people have the idea they are evil, constantly walking in the shadows with a long cape. The bad man from the movies with the crooked smile. I believe they are amongst us, our friends, and perhaps by acknowledging these people exist we can talk with them and give them an outlet other than being arrested after the fact.
If a 17 year old in high school has sexual feelings for a child, where does he go? What can he do? Is there an outlet other than the guilt spiral followed by action followed by arrest?
I put off writing this by about a week as I couldn't deal with writing it and I do not believe I did the topic justice. I commend the author for writing this play, as the voice in my head is too strong, saying move on, something else.....

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