24 March 2008
A Day In The Death of Joe Egg
If your mood is very sunny side up this morning, you may want to move along to another Manic Monday contribution because the very first thing that came to mind was a very dark, hilarious, and blisteringly moving play by Peter Nichols and movie: A Day In The Death of Joe Egg.
The story is about a couple who are trying to save their marriage while trying to raise their child who suffers from Cerebral Palsy, is confined to a wheelchair, and is completely unable to communicate. It is an honest look at what it takes to deal with a special needs child by dipicting the extreme of that condition. Taking care of her has occupied nearly every moment of her parent's lives since her birth, and has virtually destroyed their marriage.
While both parents are committed to Josephine (nicknamed Joe Egg), Sheila, her mother, gives her as much of a life as she can. Her father, Bri wants the child institutionalised and has begun to entertain chilling fantasies of killing himself and Josephine.
In order to deal with the complexities of Joe Egg in their lives, Sheila and Bri invent conversations between themselves, their daughter, and even the audience with a running commentary on the struggles, the causes, the humor, and ultimately the destruction of their marriage. The dialogue is intense, revealing, and uncomfortable as you find yourself laughing and then coming up short against the tragedy. In the end as with most great plays it reveals the strengths and weaknesses in the human condition as we fall, rise, and triumph only to fall again as new challenges present themselves.
The play was nominated for four Tony awards in its first visit to Broadway and has been revived twice as well as being made into a motion picture.