January 15, 2015

Margery Kempe, the Visonary'sTale


All pictures by Al Pulford

The same bed. 40 years earlier. 1394.

Margery: (on bed, howls, ante-, mid- and post-natal) Oh Jesus! Twenty years of age, married to a worshipful burgess of Lynn and quickly with child as nature would have it. And it’s hell on earth! (living this) Devils opening their mouths all alight with burning flames of fire, pawing at me, hauling me about both night and day, menacing me to deny God, family, virtue and the Christian faith.

She self-harms violently, bites her hand ‘scarring it for life’, tears ‘the skin of her body near her heart with her nails pitilessly.’

(to audience) Post-natal depression you call it? (putting us right on that) Eight months straddling the eternal pit, between the devil and the unshriven dread of my confessor, I desired all wickedness (strait-jacket arms) and had to be tied up in case I killed myself! 


Read the full play, plus related prologues by Margery's parish priest the Lollard William Sawtrey, her Scribe, her father and a version  for a full cast, including all these characters  and with extensive press features, afterwords and research items here

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