What's it about?
A story about a gravedigger who struggles to escape poverty for himself and his family.
What I experienced?
Reading the title of this play sparked my interest immediately. I was curious what this would be about, as I never really hear about gravediggers or lullabies, especially not together. I thought it would somehow be related to the circle of life as gravediggers deal with death, and lullabies are primarily sung to babies. I was wayyyyyyy off.
I walked in pretty confused because the theater was probably the smallest I've ever been to. The stage set up was real simple, just a house cut out with a table and chairs, and a weird incline that leads up to the house. Confusion and sadness quickly turned to frustration as the story began. It starts with a dirty looking guy that wakes up his wife so that she can pour him a bowl of stew. Like come on, what is this the 1900s? And then I realize yes, yes it is. At least in this place. I was preparing myself for more of this, but it still didn't relieve that frustration.
I could not have lived in that time period. Another scene takes place in the morning, the wife so visibly exhausted from just getting the baby to sleep and the husband has the NERVE to ask for breakfast??!!! OH HELL NO. No. No. No. No. NO. She still loves him and is clearly ok with this and then it gets awkward. At one point, there is an awkwardly long time of the baby just crying. Like REALLLLYYYYYY long. But then it stops and they're trying to be really quiet. And I'm sitting there like WAIT FOR IT, the baby is gonna cry again at any moment. Any moment. She touches his leg, and then grabs his crotch and I'm like WHOA. STOP. NO! Oh god, where is the baby and why isn't it crying? They proceed to unapologetically start having sex... which is NOT what I signed up for. The baby starts crying and I think THANK GOD! But no. They keep going and I'm like HELLOOOOOOOOOOO. Yo BABY IS CRYIN. They eventually stop and of course, she goes to take care of the baby.
The whole play goes into how Bailan, a gravedigger, struggles to provide for his family. A rich man named Charles Timmons passes by and they end up having a long chat about life and the discrepancy between the rich and the poor. One thing he said that stood out was "You can be the type of person who gets what he wants, or you can hate the people that do." And it got me thinking like yeahhhh. Yeahhhh. True. Although Bailan despises the rich and their arrogant attitudes, his family's financial situation gets so bad that they can barely eat. He begs Charles for a job and it is really sad. I saw him so desperate, willing to throw away all of his pride, get down on his knees and beg. He begs him to just say "I'll see you on Monday." Then, Charles is debating and I'm like DO IT!!! SAY IT!! Come on! HAVE A HEART!!! And then he gives him money and you're like noooooooooooo CHARLES! But as he's walking away he says "See you on Monday" and it's like YAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSS.
That wasn't the end of the sadness either. Bailan goes drinking with his friend Gizard to tell him news of his new employment. Gizard's father died working under Timmons' company and the Timmons never helped his family. Bailan doesn't want to betray his friend and he explains he needs the job, but Gizard freaks out. They proceed to beat each other silly. Charles Timmons shows up and just from his face you know it's over. And Bailan knows too. He goes home and breaks the news to his wife, who is extremely supportive and understanding. It was cute. Hope and love and whatnot keeping them going through their poverty. Das cute, das cute. And then the baby cries AGAIN. It ends with Bailan singing the baby a lullaby and then I'm like OHHHHHHHHHHH ok, wasn't expecting that but I see what you did there.
The moral of the story, folks: Don't have children. And try to be rich because the struggle is REAL.
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