Saturday, March 14, 2009

Aukje de Vries' Diary Day 55

Esther and I were supposed to go to the theatre but in the morning she calls me because she does not feel well. She asks me to try and find someone else to accompany me. I try to call several friends, but they are not home, they are busy in the evening, they have guests, they have already seen the play or they are not interested, so after a series of telephone calls I have to report to Esther that I cannot find anyone who wants to come and see the play.

In the end she decides to accompany me anyway. She says she feels insecure. She has stayed inside because of a bad cold, but when we go together, she thinks she will be alright.

We take the bus. There is a very nice arrangement these days that local transport is free of charge when you have a theatre ticket and drinks in the theatre are included in the price of the ticket.

The play is a very tragic one, it contains social criticism about the conditions of fishermen at the end of the 19th century. They were sent out to sea in boats that were not seaworthy and many a fisherman’s wife has lost her husband and several of her children. In the play two sons of a widow go to sea in a boat which they know to be in a very bad condition. The youngest one has to be forced to go, he resists violently because he knows the trip will be very risky.

The ship indeed is wrecked in a bad storm and the body of the boy is found weeks later. The director of the fishing company has no mercy and considers this as the normal state of affairs. He thinks he is very good to the widow when he offers her a job as cleaning lady in his house. When he hears that her older son, who has also drowned, has made a girl pregnant, he accuses her of immoral behaviour and refuses to take her on any more. She will be left without any income. He feels good, rejoicing at his own moral superiority.

A friend, who had seen the play said she could not sleep, the night after. I can understand. The conditions are incredible, although I am not so sure similar conditions of near slavery do not still exist in some parts of the world. Esther says she is glad she has accompanied me after all, she does not feel worse because of the outing.

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