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An Instinct for Kindness

Written and performed by Chris Larner

The Lowry, 23 February 2012

An Instinct for Kindness

Chris Larner’s play is at once a wild gift and a dear hug.

It’s like life itself: untamed but dangerous, tender yet costly.

He tells the tale of his wife’s life, how she came to choose suicide and why he decided to assist her.  The arguments are given a good going over (no need to revisit them here, for an outline see my review of Michael Cholbi’s excellent book) but it’s not simply a polemical work.  Above all, the play engages the heart.  For here, you realise, was a woman who took a long look at her life and made the rational decision to end it.  You see it as like stepping into a pool of darkness.

If it is true as Blake wrote that ‘it is a sublime act to place another before’ then here Chris Larner has written a sublime play.  Indeed, it is a dear gift and a wild hug both.

And as an aside: I loved this play because part of it reminded me of Mark Cox’s poem ‘Things My Grandfather Must Have Said’, which is most likely the best poem about a funeral ever.  It can be read here.

An Instinct for Kindness is currently out there, tour dates are here.

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