To the Editors:
According to its playbill, “Birthday Triage” strives to create a new mythology—one borrowed from age-old myths and folklore and informed by the science of today. As a 73-year-old neighbor living in the Columbia area, I had a feeling I should see this play because it would be breaking new ground. It certainly did.
I am astounded that the Columbia Spectator reviewer didn’t seem to “get it” (“Birthday Triage,” March 11). You are dealing with the central question all of us must ask: Who am I? And, because we are a new conglomeration of people living together in a scientific age, we need the new mythology to support an ethical and spiritual community. For years I have been reading literary critics asking for a new mythology. Now that we have a credible attempt through this play, let’s recognize and celebrate it!
I am a progressive Jew. I belong to a movement called Jewish Renewal, which, while not abandoning our traditions, seeks to gain spiritual wisdom from wherever it can be found. It appeared to me as I watched this play that Adrian, the birthday celebrant/central character, was hearing a voice either from God, an angel, or his higher self. The important thing is he finally confronted human suffering, compassion, self-worth, and love. He listened to the voice.
I was thrilled with the imagery in the speeches the messenger uttered, especially in his instruction to Adrian to lie with his feet on the pollen, which must have been a Native American image. This connected with my personal vision of God as immanence flowing through the material world, including our bodies. I hope to see more plays from these playwrights and I am comforted that they selected such deep and wise subject matter and used so much of theater’s potential to engage us. The play was delightful as well as wise.
I feel the world is in good hands when members of the younger generation confront these issues in the theater in a way that is relevant to their current lives.
Rachel Makleff, PhD ’72, French and romance philology