The Work: Plays


1980, (3w 8m - doubling) Also an opera. Music by Robert Saxon.


In the 14th century a young woman, CHRISTINE CARPENTER asked the church to allow her to live the rest of her life in a cell attached to the church in the Sussex village of Shere. Through living the austere life of an anchoress CHRISTINE hoped to become pure enough to receive divine revelation. Three years on she realises that an anchoress's life is not her vocation - the word of God does not come to her. She asks the church to release her from her vows. They cannot. To do so, they argue, would be to make a cuckold of Christ. Victim of religious fervour she is doomed to live out her life imprisoned in her cell where she goes mad. A metaphor for wrong decisions - political, social, private, religious - which we make and which imprison us for life.


An' then, an' then - Oh forgive me, father, forgive me! but as I stand, my arms outstretched, my eyes closed - I think new thoughts (her legs move apart) which I can't deny' cos O they're sweet, so sweet. I'm naked. My body open to the sky, my skin in the grass, sun on my breasts. I feel cool winds bring me the smell of hawthorn and the wild mint. An' I see the birds sweep high an' sing. An' O those clouds, that sweet scent, that soft air - thaas not the devil's forms, I say. Forgive me, father, but I say thaas never the devil's forms. An' I'm torn between shame and delirium. The spring, father, the spring! I am crucified upon the spring!


A stark, suggestive play, beautifully poetic prose …
Time Out

Mr Wesker is here writing at his poetic best …
Sunday Telegraph