At the end of day and at the end of this life
When the last tear has been cried
and our last song sung
We just want to know
that we became someone
Numerous events throughout this year have made me continuously reflect on how fleeting life is. Attending a funeral service. Reading in the paper recently of a bride that died on her way to the church to get married. Walking to the station in West London and seeing the looming presence of Grenfell Tower under the night sky.
It can be scary mainly due to the unpredictability of it all. From apps that predict menstrual cycles to apps that display weather forecasts, bus times and TV schedules – access to information that predicts things happening before they actually do is usually right at our fingertips. Death, unfortunately, has never been one of those things and can pierce through our lives like lightning- violent, nosy, sudden and always unwelcome. Another unpredictable aspect is who it will happen to. In Macbeth Shakespeare likened life to a stage- with everyone in life having cues on when to enter but also on when to exit. But how do you know when the play is finally over and it’s your cue to exit?
It sounds quite depressing to ponder on but it should actually get us thinking and fill us with urgency. I’m always reminded of Beyonce’s song ‘I Was Here’ when it comes to legacy- the lyrics appeal to the fundamental part of everyone that wants to leave a positive imprint on Earth before they die. Not necessarily so that they’re remembered because of it but rather so that they can die with the peace of knowing that just one life was bettered through their existence.
Reflecting on it all, I’ve decided I want to be known for love. For loving people fiercely. That may take different forms- since God himself is love and reflects it in different forms. From defending the oppressed and campaigning against injustice to simply just being there and listening to people; letting them know I see you. I want to be the one that embodies all those things. It’s a tall task but one I feel I’m called to. And in the end, it may not get me named after a community centre or charity foundation but a big legacy is not always the most meaningful. Holding an intimate place in the heart and minds of a few loved ones is more than enough.
Have you decided what your legacy will be?
So on Saturday, I went to watch a play currently showing at The National Theatre called ‘The Suicide’. I’ve decided to share some of my thoughts on its content and execution.
Without giving too much away, the play deals with Sam Desai- who after losing his benefits and consequently facing relationship difficulties becomes suicidal. Throughout the play, various characters are introduced who encourage him to go forward with the suicide – each having their own agenda. The play wasn’t afraid to throw humour at such a dark theme which in turn made the audience feel more comfortable.
The play does (perhaps indirectly) raise some interesting points. Firstly there’s the opportunism that seems to come with death. Most people around Sam saw a beneficial opportunity in the event of his death. A good real-life example of such opportunism would be of Nicole Brown Simpson’s death in which the famous OJ trial stemmed from. Her supposed ‘friend’, Faye Resnick, went on to write a tell-all book about Nicole less than a year after her death. In fact, several of the parties involved with the trial had related book deals. It seems like the dead are never truly dead- they are continuously exploited by the living for self-beneficial reasons. With each death whether it be of a celebrity or a sensationalised murder comes the numerous press, tell-all documentaries, and book deals. And let’s not forget the crappy Lifetime movie. It really never stops!
In a scene after the opening of the play, Sam is about to jump from a rooftop and some teenagers on the estate eagerly spur him on from below. There have been many real life incidents like this where people about to jump off bridges and have actually been cheered on or heckled by people below. This weird commercialisation of death (if you like) is highlighted in the eccentric character of the documentary filmmaker who is keen on filming Sam’s last days (including the suicide.) He fails to realise (as the media does on many occasions) that this is a real life he’s filming. Instead, it’s just fodder he hopes to feed to the world for recognition and to ultimately establish name.
Final Verdict: 3/5. I found it very amusing and it covered very relevant themes. However, the ending wasn’t completely cathartic and as satisfying as I expected it to be.
The play is running until June 25, 2016 at The National Theatre in Southbank, South London.