I watched Kate’s play, ‘The Story of Mr. Wright’ at the Globe last night. It was a gooder. Really moved me. As with all good plays, it caused me to look inwards.
The play was about belief. It follows the true story of a cancer patient (Mr. Wright) who participated in an experimental treatment in the 1950’s. Though he only had two weeks to live, he made a miraculous recovery. The tumours in his body seemed to melt away. He was cured.
Every other patient across the US showed no improvement and the treatment itself was soon proven to be nothing more than snake oil. When this patient read those reports, he soon relapsed.
At this point his doctor decided to treat Mr. Wright with a saline solution. He told the patient that he didn’t realize the drug had a short shelf life and as a result, led to his relapse. The new shipment would be an extra refined super dose that would get him back on track. The ruse worked, and Mr. Wright once again made a full recovery… until learning the new treatment was smoke & mirrors. He died within days.
In short, Mr. Wright through the power of his own beliefs, had the power to cure himself, doom himself, cure himself again, and then finally doom himself once more.
As the telling of this story unfolded, the cast related personal stories to the audience, shattering the forth wall by breaking out of character to become one of us. Kate began by telling the story of her leg. She was born with a birth defect, where one leg was shorter than the other. Her parents never allowed her to believe she was ‘disabled’. At 16, she underwent a procedure to lengthen the leg by breaking her femur, and then continually widening the gap a millimetre at a time, allowing the bone to regenerate itself to close that gap.
She set a goal to play the lead in her high school musical, without crutches, and without a limp. She set her mind to it and nothing was going to stop her from attaining that goal. She recovered from the procedure a full three months ahead of schedule to take the stage.
The evening was filled with story after story about belief and the mind’s power to accomplish the impossible. As I said earlier, I couldn’t help but look inward. I’m writing this from a bar in downtown Washington DC called Stoney’s. I’m here to pitch projects to US broadcasters and then after that, to do the same in Toronto. Spent $2,500 to be here.
Just signed a new lease for a new apartment. I have no guaranteed income and beyond March nothing is certain. I’m not worried though. It simply hasn’t crossed my mind. Water is wet, sky is blue, and I’m gonna be alright. I have too many good things going for me and something’s gotta catch. It just will.
Having said that, I’m reminded of Judy’s story (another cast member). She lives in what she calls a manageable state of pain every moment of every day of her life. She’s got cupboards full of pills, herbal remedies, and a plethora of consultations with doctors, therapists, psychologists, and healers. Nothing’s worked. Not belief, not modern medicine, not spiritual healing… not anything.
I’m not a fool. I know there is risk to the lifestyle I live. I’ve seen very hard times and without dumb luck, help from those who could, and savvy planning, I would have been wiped out a long time ago. Still, I am here. I’ve been doing this 15 years. I’ve raised and burned vast sums of money over that period of time.
I can do it again. Only this time, I will have all those mistakes under my belt to learn from.