Welcome to Chewerpiece Theater. I am your host – Donnie Sturges.
Soul mates – an interesting concept that seems to propagate throughout stage and screen.
Tonight we present you with a parable… of sorts. An examination into the concept behind soul mates, we will create a scenario to illustrate the points to be made, followed by an existing example from film that parallels the ideas on display. The gender roles in the tale have been assigned as they are, but in no way does this insist that this is a static structure. In fact, you’ll find later on in the program the roles quite reversed in the film example to follow.
Now – let’s begin!
Imagine a house – fine, sturdy craftsmanship. It’s a beautiful abode – a perfect setting for a lovely couple. Inside our couple dwells – happy, content, not a care in the world. In these moments, our pair has each immersed themselves completely into their moments together. They are sharing every minute, allowing it to wrap around them like a blanket.
But sometimes… sometimes cracks can appear in this solid, sturdy home. It happens from time to time, as no home is perfect. The cracks aren’t always noticeable at first. But every so often they grow too large to ignore.
When this happens, sometimes the couple inside react in completely different ways to the sudden stresses that appear. In the case, the man has decided to stay inside to attend the fissures that have appeared while his elegant companion has chosen to escape to the outside. There she remains separated from her partner while he addresses the problem on his own.
This creates a conundrum. For while the mistress of the house wants to help and tries her best to assist her beloved, there is only so much she can do from the outside. Her questions, suggestions, and support may be with the best of intentions. But, with the walls between them all that comes across is a barrage unleashed – barely able to penetrate the barrier that separates them.
Meanwhile, the gentleman inside is fighting a losing battle on his own. Jumping from crack to crack, our lag-behind frantically tries to fix the problem at hand. Though he is aware of his companion’s attempts to assist him, her position outside the home relegates her efforts as merely a muffled jumble of stressful bombardment. All this ends up doing is alienating the man inside, leaving him feeling helpless, abandoned, and alone.
This scenario is very reminiscent of the major theme that runs through the film What Dreams May Come. In this picture, Robin Williams and Annabella Sciorra play “soul mates” Chris and Annie. While their lives together start out the way every romantic would like, tragedy strikes their family frequently throughout, eventually leaving Annie alone as her husband and children are all taken from her by automobile accidents.
For the bulk of the film, these two only seem to connect as soul mates when life is at its most divine. But, every time their lives are darkened by tragedy, each of them retreat into their own way of coping with the misfortune that has been dealt to them both – Annie retreats into depression while Chris hides behind a wall of “strength”. Thinking that he’s doing his best to be there for his wife, it isn’t until much later in the film that he realizes that he has actually detached himself from her and his efforts are merely from a detached vantage point. He’s not involved; he’s on the outside looking in.
It’s a conflict he continues to wrestle with throughout the entire film, culminating in a crucial moment at the climax. After he himself has passed on into the afterlife, he discovers that his beloved has commited suicide and condemned herself to an eternity of self-torment, he does everything he can to find her and rescue her. But upon discovering her whereabouts, he is once more faced with his recurring obstacle – how to complete her in the hopes of ensuring her rescue from the darkness. He tries repeatedly to reach out to her, only to discover that he is still on the outside looking in. And she continues to fall away from him.
It isn’t until the end of the film, after he has exhausted every other effort to bring his partner back to him, that he realizes the key to helping her – and in essence he discovers the key to how soul mates truly work. Instead of trying to help from the sidelines, he allows himself to surrender fully by “joining her” in her torment. At that point, he completes his hero’s journey and finally completes her as her soul mate.
This same strategy can be applied to our scenario. In order to sincerely be there for her partner, our maiden-faire must resist the instinct to step outside the situation and attempt to assist from the outside. All this results in is a detached perspective that leads to minimal progress.
Instead, if she allows herself to remain within the conflict at hand that her mate is battling, she then puts herself in his place – giving herself the chance to to see what he’s dealing with first hand. This enables them both to connect and share a deeper understanding together, further allowing the two of them to face and solve the problem together. And in the end, the bond is strengthened for them both – enforcing the connection that true soul mates possess.
That’s what makes soul mates so unique and special – it isn’t the positive moments that determine that bond. Instead, it’s the darkest moments that define who they are together.
This concludes tonight’s installment of Chewerpiece Theater. This has been your host – Donnie Sturges.