This is a monologue, presented by Maggie Smith. She is talking about her life as a vicar’s wife, and in doing so raises some interesting questions. Why is the vicar’s wife expected to attend every service? A lawyer’s wife is not expected to attend court; an actor’s wife is not expected to attend every performance. When the Bishop visits, she is asked about her thoughts on women conducting services, and the vicar answers for her. All this points to the vicar’s treatment of her as a possession, not of great value, having no thoughts of her own. Perhaps this is the reason for her alcoholism. It is when she meets an Indian shopkeeper who treats her as someone of value, worthy of having a conversation, that she finds a reason to address her alcoholism.
Maggie Smith’s performance is outstanding. Initially it appears that her presentation is deadpan, both in lack of facial expression and tone of voice. However, in reviewing sections of the presentation, we found a range of facial expressions, and some tonal variations. It was perhaps more the way she held herself – head to the side, and body very still – and her appearance – lank hair and dowdy clothes – that gave the impression of her unhappiness. Towards the end, this changes when the new relationship develops. Her hair has been styled and she has a lighter feel about her. Certainly an interesting DVD that promoted an enjoyable discussion.
We had a little time, so a couple of people talked about movies they had seen and the impact they had had. One was The Help, based on the book about the treatment of coloured maids in America’s south. The other was Bad Neighbours 2, an American comedy which, while a rather silly movie, had an underlying message to young women that they do not need to think of themselves as only sex objects.
Next month we will be watching a much lighter American movie that is a modern day story possibly along the lines of Taming of the Shrew which we watched earlier in the year. It will be interesting to discuss whether the same messages come through this much lighter movie. Everyone is welcome, particularly anyone familiar with the Shakespeare play.
A link to Bed Among the Lentils from You Tube: