Brides and prejudice

I sat in on a rehearsal of my new play, Stabat Mater, on Sunday. The title has its fans and detractors but as the play concerns mothers and daughters, both unhappy with each other ‘Stabat Mater Dolorosa’, meaning ‘there stood the sorrowful mother’ seemed apt. The original title was Bride and Prejudice but it seems Bollywood got to that one first. What struck me as I watched the rehearsal, apart from how well they were getting to grips with the play, was how suddenly topical it is. The two young women in the play are in love, and want to commit to each other. Their mothers are, for different reasons, not likely to approve.

The play deals with the various relationships and how they tackle different world views, homophobia and racism. Sounds heavy, but it’s funny and moving too. And topical. The attitude of the church to same sex marriages is in all the news bulletins at the moment, and this is largely mirrored in the play. I’d no idea this would be in the headlines when I wrote it and I think I’ve been rather gentle on the church in the play. In real life there appears to be not only prejudice and opposition but also intemperate and abusive language, not to mention scare mongering. The one word which seems to sum up the churches attitude, especially the Catholic hierarchy in the UK, is ‘unChristian’.  Sections of the Anglican Church are no better. Well, for the record, I want no part of it. I am a Christian and I support the proposals on gay marriage. I’m a married man, and don’t see the changes as in any way threatening to the institution of marriage, rather the reverse. I do see the attitude of church leaders as counterproductive. We preach love, but nobody believes us. I wonder why.  Pity I couldn’t have stuck with the first title though.

Tony Earnshaw

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