The “Wall of Death” motor-cycle stunt show is currently drawing audiences at the St Helier People’s Park as part of the
Jersey motoring festival of speed.
The cars and bikes are giving us another chance to confront death at the sprint and hill climb events. Death is everywhere – in the news, at the cinema, in literature and even our popular songs. We cannot get enough of it. Murder, war, the wild-west or history – we just cannot see too much of tragic death.
Yet I “reluctantly” attended Chris Larner’s one man show “An Instinct for Kindness” at the Arts Centre yesterday evening and was enthralled and impaled.
Tragedy, pathos and humour – the three musketeers of theatre – were here all right but I was confronted by a reality that we should all experience. It is something that “society” as a whole needs to address and discuss.
This is not a review of Chris Larner’s extraordinary play. I don’t understand theatre enough to attempt that but I am amazed that one person can fill a stage with characters and images with no other prop than a chair.
But even the chair acted its legs off. As a wheelchair, hospital bed, airline seat it was presumably predictable enough but this was also an empty chair dammit! Somebody was of course ultimately missing…
And the lighting was perfect and poignant. Don’t ask me how or why, it just was.
If you have already looked at the video interview with Chris Larner here you will know what this is all about.
It is a very personal and painful experience that Chris has “acted out” seventy times all around
. He must ride the “Wall of Death” at every performance and I have no idea how he does it. Britain
In every audience there will be many people who have knowledge and or experience of the subject matter. Some might even be considering the one way trip to
that ends in “assisted suicide.” Switzerland
Jersey performance there were people discussing their own experiences among themselves and it was simply surprising to hear the similar concerns being spoken.
In other places, performances have been followed by an organised discussion so that audiences can participate to some purpose. This did not happen in
Jersey but there surely must be a much wider discussion here soon of the issues raised by Chris.
So far we have only had the Jersey Minister of Health’s recent personal declaration that she will not contemplate any change in
Jersey law or practice. This was in response to a UK Report that urged a review of current practices in the and of course, she is a nurse who cared for her own terminally ill late husband. UK
It is especially relevant that this current posting follows on from that on “Changing Places” and the provision of the £88,000 public toilet in St Helier for the use of severely disabled persons in
Jersey. There are so many questions and there is not a Chris to speak every disabled person’s thoughts or defend their rights - but at what cost should we try to prolong or support life?
Of course that name “Changing Places” is very deliberately chosen because it invites us all to put ourselves in the empty chair.
What would WE want if our unlucky number comes up or we have to manage the painful death of a most beloved companion?
Chris has become involved in the
campaign “Dignity in dying” and this can be contacted via Google or firstname.lastname@example.org UK
My own agenda seeks a discussion of the wider issue of suicide in
Jersey because this is at a very high level within this little community.
My previous posting on the death of Ronnie Allan addresses many related matters but so far, seems to have provoked little response.