When I was cast in this play I vastly underestimated the emotional heft that was packed into a play written in 1934. The power of a lie. Even if you aren’t the one that tells the lie, it’s ramifications multiply in every generation of it’s telling.
Dr. Joseph Cardin is a nice guy. A very nice guy with a strong sense of honor and loyalty. He is a fixer. It is that which makes him a good doctor. I got all that but what hit me as the show progressed through its run is the amount of guilt he carries that a member of his family crafted this lie. This lie that ruins his relationship with Karen and ultimately plays a factor in Martha’s suicide.
One thing that kept nagging me was in his last scene with Karen why he didn’t say he loved her. I mean I understood within the structure of the play why he couldn’t but you can’t play “to further the plot on” as your intention. I came to believe that when pushed to the emotional turning point and after Karen basically tells him that she couldn’t believe him ever he fell back on his training in a sense. As a Doctor he had to take the Hippocratic Oath, and in one translation this phrase caught my eye:
I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.
Never do harm. At least he could try to stop hurting Karen by giving up the battle. This may make him too noble but I feel there is enough support in the script to make this plausible. And if ever there was a time that Karen asked for him, he would be there.
And now big thanks to Street Theatre Company and Cathy S. Street for casting me in this project. I would also like to thank Jaime Janiszewski who played Karen and Martha was played by Terra Buschmann. It was an amazing experience to work so closely with other actors that are more than willing to go “there” and to be incredibly open to changes in the nuances of their performance. The rest of the cast was simply amazing and committed to presenting the play in it’s best form.
It was challenging experience. It was a rewarding experience. It was a learning experience. I am very grateful for it!