89: Julia 3

18 Jun

I read Michael Gurr and feel waves of recognition and sadness. He cares passionately. Lots of writers care passionately, in fact it could well be a prerequisite for pouring your soul onto a page or tapping it into a keyboard, but few manage to articulate that passion as clearly as Gurr does.

Julia 3 and me

Julia 3 could be an allegory about big business and the rape of the third world, or about wealthy do-gooders and the way that a donation can wash the stain of corruption from dirty fingers. Or it can be read from the surface as a play about an extremely wealthy woman trying to settle her uneasy conscience while toying with her three living projects.

It’s Julia’s husband’s funeral. When he was alive he managed other people’s money: lots of it. He also started a foundation to give money to “good causes”. As Julia puts it: “[…] paying people next to nothing to sew little button eyes onto children’s toys, well, that’s just commerce. But medical research and art and the study of literature, these are good things.” There’s a can of worms just waiting to be opened right there.

Anyway, Julia is put in charge of running the Foundation and she chooses who will get the cheques and sets up her pet projects. There are three of them: three men. Charlie, the youngest, is writing a book about love. Joe is a scientist looking for a cure for cancer and Leon is an art valuer who decides whether works are authentic. Julia is having affairs with all of them and they meet for the first time at her husband’s funeral.

There are plenty of tensions between the suitors but they are balanced by Julia’s long soliloquies and observations on the world. Julia gets four newspapers every day and is used to the “soft avalanche of disasters” on her table.

JULIA: You can be forgiven for thinking that it’s the same passenger ferry sinking over an over again.
Do you know what I mean?
The same colonel mounting the same coup, the same child in the rubble. You know?
How there is always a child buried in the rubble after a bomb or an earthquake? I can see his face now, these big men’s arms lifting him out as if he was made of light. […]
I mean, don’t misunderstand me, I don’t mean to disregard those lives, I’m only saying that in our minds it is almost like thinking: Oh, that passenger ferry has sunk again. Or: there’s that little boy again […]
And sometimes, I don’t know, but sometimes, it’s as if these events don’t stop.
So that the child is always buried. The boat is always sinking.

And if the boat keeps sinking and the child is always buried, it stands to reason that we lucky ones will keep averting our eyes, or finding new ways to salve our consciences. And that, for me, is what Julia 3 is about. When the world is too hard to take, there’s always lust, power or maybe even love in which to lose yourself.

Publisher: Currency Press

Cast: 3M, 1F

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