Episode 341 - The Chinese Prime Minister

Episode 305 · December 4th, 2022 · 22 mins 38 secs

About this Episode

Three recent sudden deaths of old friends have called forth this Christmas podcast.

In two of the cases, the family, let alone the deceased, have been completely unprepared. I mean, completely. No service, no faith, no comfort, no hope. Only shock and abandonment, unsuppressed bewilderment and surprise.  

So I decided to describe two ladies I know, both characters in Enid Bagnold's late plays "The Chinese Prime Minister" and "A Matter of Gravity". Enid Bagnold was an English playwright who once had a string of stage and movie successes. Near the end of her life, she decided to look backward and forward at the content of her life. She portrayed -- these characters were acted by Margaret Leighton and Katherine Hepburn -- two women in their 70s who are given to resolve their lives through visits from their adult children and one estranged husband; and who do! Not only that, but the supernatural suddenly comes into it. The heroine of "The Chinese Prime Minister" is confronted by her butler's literal resurrection from the dead; and the heroine of "A Matter of Gravity", by her cook's repeated levitations to the ceiling of her house. Each of these women comes to terms with their physical lives, and each of them is thus enabled to move forward towards a new beginning. These are astonishing, surprising plays.

I end with a Dedication to Brent White. Brent is a Mockingbirder who serves a parish in Toccoa, Georgia, and who has a wide-ranging pop sensibility that is a total treat. Recently he has helped me re-discover Los Straitjackets' Christmas tracks. With one of these, "Christmas Weekend", I close this cast. I have often toyed with the idea of having "Christmas Weekend" played as the postlude at one's funeral. It is just so 'up up and away' in feel. I want you to soar after you abreact.