THE SPIRIT OF JOHN PROCTOR HAS WOKEN UP A SLEEPING GIANT

The run of The Crucible at The Old Vic Theatre in London finished a few days ago, and to my utter suprise and annoyance, I have not been able to function properly since then. I have been carrying deep within in the pit of my stomach a strong sense of bereavement, a sense of deep loss of something that brought back to life, something that unearthed a SLEEPING GIANT in the hearts and souls of so many people all around the world. I have been bewildered by the knowledge that some people have travelled from as far as places like Australia, the States and some Asian countries in order to witness what will turn out to be, in my opinion, a highly regarded and respected chapter in the history of Theatre and a catalyst for change in people’s attitudes toward Truth, Love  and Freedom. Indeed, there have been so many who bewitched by the sheer power which Drama possesses to mirror life, have been unable to be content with seeing the play once or twice, but as many as seven times. Crazy, one may think initially, but having experienced the play twice, I can only but relate to that uncontrollable urge and desperate attempt to not let go of something so beautiful, so transcendental which once delivered by the actors acquires a life of its own and moves high and far beyond the rows of seats in a theatre. A rare thing indeed in this world we live in dominated by speed, urgency and the shallowness and ephemerality everything we experience is tainted with.

The Crucible, as recently rendered at The Old Vic Theatre in London has released an unstoppable force spiritually, something which challenges the status quo and the complacency of a human race which right now sits pretty for the most part and in denial as the most abominable of evils, perils and injustices are happening all around us.  It is ironic that a play which is dominated by the subject of false accusations of witchcraft can carry with it such “supernatural” force for transformation, for good, for justice, truth and freedom, rare values indeed in today’s world and because of their rarity made all the more precious to audiences and onlookers across the world.

Granted that the character of John Proctor and his evolution throughout the play cannot exist without the other characters, just as human beings cannot grow and develop unless sharing life with others. Having said that, it is solely the gradual and “supernatural” ascend of John Proctor’s soul throughout this play that leaves behind a blazing trail of glorious notions such as: TRUTH, COURAGE, HONESTY, INTEGRITY, AUTHENTICITY, LOVE and COMPASSION. These are notions which have laid dormant for far too long in our world; notions which were long ago replaced by their evil counterfeits: GREED, DECEIT, PRIDE, FEAR, COWARDICE, HATE, MERCILESSNESS. As I said in my previous post, these are forces which have been contending in the world for thousands of years, but today, right now, the good guys are losing this mighty battle. “The Crucible” as I have experienced it and as I have seen, read and heard others experience it, is fast becoming the antidote to a poison fed to the world daily which has numbed our senses, blinded our eyes and switched off our brains rendering us ineffective to live lives worthy of living, to leave behind a legacy worthy of remembering, and an inheritance worthy of being shared with others. For is a life well lived one that leaves this world exactly as it found it and in so many cases much worse than it found it?

There is in all of us an innate, inherent and deeply rooted longing to live for something that transcends the triviality, the immediacy of our daily grind. For some, it is a religion, for others a worthy cause such as Equality, Freedom or Justice, a charitable enterprise, being the best at what you are gifted at. That deep longing that we are all born with slowly but surely gets numbed and put to sleep by the pressures and fears that daily living brings, and little by little as we age, the brave soldier within us that once carried so much promise, surrenders a small piece of that lofty enterprise we felt born to pursue, one sorry day at a time. The glorious quest we set off on in our youth is slowly but surely annihilated by the cynicism, and everyday demands which chain to the ground our bodies, our hearts but most of all the ability for our souls to ascend, as John Proctor’s soul ascends, in those moments, seasons of our life when we come face to face with a choice to stand up, be counted and fight for what is right, for what is truth, for what is just.

Our world is dying of hunger and thirst right now, a hunger and thirst for the John Proctors that have existed throughout history but who shine for their absence today; a thirst for individuals who led by humility, integrity and courage and the acknowledgement of their own fleetingness and mortality are able to spiritually transcend beyond the carnality of their existence and give their all, even their last breath in the quest for the truth, even if that truth means losing everything that is dearest to them. Hardly anyone seems to be prepared or willing to go that extra mile, to lead from the front, to lead by example, to jump off the precipice as eagles do in order to reach glorious and new heights, in order to conquer new enemies, in order to enjoy that elusive freedom we all think we have. But are we really free, free enough to overcome the fear of rejection and alienation from others if we consistently and to the end swim against the current of tyranny, pride, conformity, lukewarmness and deceit?

This is for me where “The Crucible” and particularly the depiction of John Proctor by Richard Armitage have shifted the tectonic plates of a world dominated by inactivity and the lack of a fire in its belly in the face of adversity and evil. I deeply believe that what this play has achieved in London goes far beyond what our eyes can see and our ears can hear. It is my utter conviction that something has shifted and been released into the four corners of the earth through the spirit of truth and love that this wonderful piece of literature carries.

I am in absolute awe and truly humbled by this rare breed of individuals like the play’s Director, Yael Farber, and the actor playing the lead role of John Proctor, Richard Armitage, who go far and beyond their artistic flare and vocation in order to use their gift not only for their own profit but because their life’s mission is also to use what they have, their gift, talent and resources to create a channel through which others can travel and see too that a life worth living can only be a life pursuing even to the death those things we know deep in our hearts to be true, to be right. Anything else is not living, but dying one day of conformity and indifference at a time, short-changing ourselves of the supreme quest that it is to pursue “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

This Sleeping Giant has most certainly been re-ignited in me through this play. I was there twice and I felt it; I felt its power and its weight. I saw that the people who left the theatre were transformed from the people they were when they first came in. It is for this reason that I sit here today with a heavy heart, praying that was has been released through this play is not diluted by the one other million things thrown at us, put in front of us each and every single minute of the day. When one witnesses truth, it is impossible to continue on our journey as before.  How can anyone witness through the character of John Proctor what living and dying for love and the truth truly is and at what cost, and then not have the unwavering determination to make our lives shine as they should, as they were always meant to?

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20 thoughts on “THE SPIRIT OF JOHN PROCTOR HAS WOKEN UP A SLEEPING GIANT

  1. Mercedes, another beautiful expression of your spiritual sensitivity and passion, thank you again. I just want to encourage you re: “Today, right now, the good guys are losing this mighty battle.” In many corners, yes- but losses in battle don’t change the war that has already been won – the Master is seated in heaven (Heb. 1:3), and while His saving work is finished forever, His Spirit longs to continue to work through us if we turn back to Him for the power we need.
    I’m also reminded of many all over the world, with names and faces mostly unknown but to God & their loved ones, who are and have been willing to lay down their lives and more for the truth of the Gospel. We may follow in their footsteps one day, as they follow after the Lord. Perhaps this is a lasting legacy of John Proctor. (As you know, I can’t wait to see him on the stream / DVD!)

  2. Hi There SH,

    Thank you so much for your kind words, as always.

    Couldn’t agree more. I however was not just speaking from a Christian point of view on this post. I am generally referring to the courage to die and give everything we have for what we believe is the truth, what is at the core of who we are. I don’t speak here of radicalism or extremism for a given cause, that is something completely different which I far from advocate. The Truth I speak of is one that brings freedom to individuals as they pursue the purpose they feel they were put on this earth for, as they use the gifts and resources they have been blessed with. The Truth I speak of is the one that would be conducive with making this world a much better place for EVERYONE, not just the privileged ones or those who are in control. A Truth that brings healing and equality to all humankind. Utopia? Maybe, but the world certainly has enough ambition and determination. For the most part we focus that ambition and determination on all the wrong things. A Truth that transforms us into agents of change for the better.

    • Oh, I think you were very clear about the human spirit’s longing for legacy and lasting impact, our too frequent distraction to triviality and self-serving, and The Crucible’s inspiration to commit our spirits to that for which we were born. (I may have overpersonalized it a bit, your writing deeply affects me!) I also suffer from not having yet been able to see this amazing production, across the Atlantic. The sense of spiritual motion, if you will, that you and others have described so eloquently seems to be such a unique element of Ms. Farber’s production. The opportunity to witness such a transformative experience seems so unique – I completely understand a taste of that driving people back, and back again. Thanks again!

      • Fear not. The Crucible will soon be available for download online and though I suspect watching it on a screen will not be half as impactful as sitting at arm’s length from the actors, with the echoes of the sound and scent that impregnated the air whilst the play took place, you will be able to get a taste of why I am so passionate about this and why it means so much.

  3. Hi Larry,

    Love and a big hug to you from little England to wonderfully heavenly and awesome California! Hoping to visit again in the future! How I wish you and I could sit down for a good old catch up. Love, Mercedes

  4. Thanks for sharing what is obviously a very powerful impression with all of us. I think i am slightly more optimistic about goings on today as i do see people who make a difference every day, but there is room for so much more and it’s so easy to get complacent and take everything for granted. And i totally agree with you that in this respect the play has made a massive difference in a lot of people! And i think more than a few will do things differently and take up challenges. Sometimes a lot of small gestures can change the world too 🙂 In the hands of Richard ( and also the other actors and Yael ) the play has become like a transformative potion and i am sure the ripple effect will be felt for a long time.

    • Hi there Hariclea,

      Thank you so much for coming back to my site.

      I am sorry to come across as pessimistic. I like to err on the side of caution and though I also see people taking small steps which put together with others’ efforts can make a big impact, there is so much more to be done. I am excited and hopeful that there are people out there who have been given a platform due to their gifting, talent or whatever it may be, who use that not only to make a living and to self-promote themselves and/or their work, but more so to stand up and be counted to the point of putting their popularity and success on the line, as someone who cares for the world, for individuals who suffer, for inequality, injustice, abuse, discrimination, to name but a few of the many wrongs the world and many of its people have to contend with and endure.

  5. Sorry didn’t mean to sound like that, you’re not pessimistic, more like more driven to action which is a good thing 🙂 and yes i agree it makes such a difference when we see people using their gifts and talents in such inspiring ways and to bring change ( like i think Richard does in many ways 🙂 pleasure to read your thoughts! 🙂

    • Hi Hariclea,

      No worries and no apology needed. I am known to veer towards the pessimistic or as I like to put it, the more realistic side of things, so no offence taken. That is just who I am and how I was created. There is a good reason why we are all so different. Nor one nor the other is wrong. As opposites we can complement and enrich each other. Only a genius could have come up with that orchestration of human beings!! X

  6. Your passionate writing of The Crucible can only inspire others to take up the mantle of which you spoke of. I know we will only get a taste of what was witnessed on stage,on screen, but even this taste will so be worth the wait after reading how truly moving and inspiring this play has been to so many. I do love that Yael wants people to feel this play in their gut as well as their heart and I think she has found a key element in making one feel like a witness while one views The Crucible on Stage. I hope it truly inspires us to do better in this world as this play stays so relevant in our times. All we can do is strive to do good when we can and have the means too. Thanks so much for sharing your views and your passion with us.

  7. Hi Fernanda,

    How are you doing? Thank you so much for kindly taking the time to leave me a comment. Feedback on what I write is utterly important to me. It gives me a good indication of whether what I share resonates with anyone and why, and if not, what do I need to do in terms of my writing style to improve things.

    Have a great day!

    Mercedes

  8. Mercedes, beautifully said. Holy Spirit has promised a great move around the world. The sleeping giant has only just begun. Great and beautiful post.

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