Thursday, August 20, 2015

Josh Duggar, Ashley Madison, and Covenant Marriage

So, the Josh Duggar saga just keeps going. I originally wrote about Josh Duggar here. 

When I first saw the news, I had a momentary hesitation about posting, because some of the email addresses on the list are not legitimate. (For example, someone used Tony Blair’s address for a fake account.) I was, however, fairly certain that the Duggar connection was true, because credit card payment was made from a card with a matching address. That’s harder to pull off, shall we say. Any qualms about getting ahead of a potentially fake story disappeared when Josh himself confirmed the truth of the matter. 

 Ashley Madison really should use this picture instead.

So yes, he had an Ashley Madison account, and for good measure, a porn addiction. (I believe his first "confession" was more honest.)

As many have noted, apparently doing chores and construction work for another member of your cult doesn’t cure deep sexual dysfunction. And neither does “repenting.”

This whole thing is both sad and pathetic.

(I mean, I always thought Ashley Madison looked like the sort of place pathetic guys would go to feel like alpha males, but it was even worse than that. 90-95% of real users of the site are men. Most of them are not getting laid, I would guess. As a friend quipped, “Well, yeah. I mean, being married to a philanderer is bad. Being married to a gullible, unsuccessful wannabe philanderer…”)

I found several things interesting in the details. (Gawker broke the story, and embedded the raw data from the account.)

First, look at what he said he wanted in a girl. Most aren’t all that odd, or even adventuresome. They could easily be in a personal ad. Two, though, are interesting in light of the teachings of the Bill Gothard cult that the Duggar family is in.

He’s looking for a “jeans and t-shirt” kind of girl. He’s looking for a girl with an “aggressive, take charge nature.”

In Gothardspeak, he might as well have said he was looking for brazen testicle-eating whore from the pit of hell.

(For those who are not familiar with the cult, Gothard railed against jeans and t-shirts, even on men, blamed women and their bodies for men’s sexual sins, and built his system around the subjection of women to men.)

There’s a sad bit of pathos in the fact that his idea of a “bad girl” looks like the wholesome girl-next-door to those of us in egalitarian marriages. For that matter, his list of sexual acts he wants is pretty vanilla, certainly nothing that many normal married folks don’t do with each other.

But, make no mistake about it, if Anna Duggar showed up in jeans and a t-shirt, Jim Bob and company would be shielding their other kids’ eyes from the sin of the whole outfit. Can’t have them think she was promising to have sex with them or anything. And the whole raison d'ĂȘtre of the Christian Patriarchy movement is to promote the hierarchy of men over women.

What strikes me about the whole description of the girl he wants is how ordinary and mundane it all us, unless you have been indoctrinated into Gothardism and Christian Patriarchy.

Don’t get me wrong, what he did is plenty slimey, and he appears deeply troubled. He may be an narcissist and a predator too, although I don’t have sufficient evidence of that.

But his profile reads like a personal ad. He’s looking for an ordinary person to do ordinary things with. Except that he is looking for an equal partner.

Look at it in the light of the history. Josh grows up in a cult that is obsessed with preventing sex - or even emotional attachment - prior to marriage. He acts out in an inappropriate way as a teen, but rather than getting real counselling (which is fairly effective for teens - they have a low recidivism rate), he gets more cultic indoctrination. His parents, worried that he still craves sex, find him a bride when he is 20, disclosing to her that he had a sexual sin, but he repented. They “court,” which involves no touching or unsupervised conversation. She is picked, naturally, from a “likeminded” family, holding the same beliefs. While he has the ability to refuse her, this is, for all intents and purposes, an arranged marriage.

Because of the beliefs of the cult, his wife is expected to (and does) become pregnant soon after the wedding. They go on to have 4 children in a 5 year period. He goes to work for a recognized hate group (the FRC was designated as such for repeated claims that homosexuals are child molesters, and current leader Tony Perkins has strong ties to White Supremacy, also calling for Muslims to have their religious freedom terminated), but ends up resigning when news about his own molestations as a teen come out.

During the time he is at the FRC, he apparently had his fling with the Ashley Madison website, and paid them some good money.

So, he grows up with teachings about sex and women that are awful and inaccurate (see my prior post), doesn’t get real counselling, ends up in an arranged marriage at 20, has 4 kids immediately. What could go wrong?

This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone, and it certainly isn’t to anyone outside the Evangelical bubble.

An interesting historical parallel:

An interesting book I read a few years before I started my blog was The Allegory of Love by C. S. Lewis. Yes, that guy.

It is one of his more obscure books, and it explores the Medieval romances. (So yes, you will have to learn to read Middle English to understand it.)

A key point he made is that the in the romances of Chivalry, the fair lady that the knight fights to please is married to someone else. The romance is adulterous by definition.

In fact, it is necessary to the romance, because marriage was for legitimate offspring, not love. Marriages were for political alliances, finances, and any number of reasons, but they were not a romantic pairing. In most cases, the woman, at least, had no choice in the matter. She was subject to the bargains struck by men.

So the outlet for real romance was adultery. Because that was a chosen - and equal - relationship. After all, lovers owed no duty of obedience the way wives did.

Also striking in the stories is that they weren’t always consummated. Some affairs were physical in the usual sense, but others were torrid emotional affairs - clearly adulterous in spirit, but less likely to result in offspring.

The parallel here is interesting. Dude in an arranged marriage, making legitimate offspring to populate the Reconstructionist Army Of God™. (Hey, that’s four arrows in the quiver already!) Looks for some vanilla sex or non-sex on the side with an equal.

Now, again, Josh has behaved abominably, and there is no excuse for this sort of thing. Don’t get me wrong.

But it isn’t a surprise that it happened. And it strongly resembles a pattern from the glorious past. (Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard borrowed another classic technique from the past: hit on the servants.)

Another point:

Four Kids in Five Years is a serious stress.

I know this one first hand. Because my first 4 kids were born in a 5 year period. And, for what it’s worth, we had 5 in 7 years. Yes, we are crazy.

So I know, kids are a major stress under the best of conditions. Many small children close together are even more stressful. Having small children while living away from family sounds a bit like hell.

Having 4 small kids, being away from family, and carrying the expectations of Christian Patriarchy as a young mother, pregnant immediately after marriage, to a man she didn’t really know? Holy smokes! I cannot imagine how tough that must have been for Anna, and now it is much, much worse.

My marriage survived those early, infant filled years. I didn’t go have an affair. But if I said I never fantasized about leaving all the stress behind, I’d be a liar. Did I want an affair? No. But I wouldn’t have minded having some sleep - or having a wife who wasn’t exhausted and stressed. That’s life.

Looking back, though, the main reason we made it through is that we had a bond that pre-dated parenthood. We had a lovely time dating, and more than a year of marriage before her first pregnancy. We had something going on, so to speak. There was a lot more to Tim and Amanda than pregnancy hormones, sleepless nights, and demanding small humans.

Anna is in an impossible spot.

I feel terrible for her. She has four kids with a man she doesn’t really know, who has deep sexual issues that were never resolved, and may never be resolved. He’s lost his job, and neither of them has a college education. Their families are committed to a rigid vision of patriarchy, consider birth control to be evil, and are unlikely to support her if she leaves him.

To be staring at that in one’s 20s must be terrifying.

I pull no punches on this one.

Anna is a victim of Christian Patriarchy.

The poisonous, evil doctrines - and the actions of the older adults in this saga - caused this harm to her.

A young girl, severely sheltered, forbidden to attend college, and having no future but to marry and make as many babies as she can, is told she has a man to marry. He seems contrite about a sexual mistake in his past. She may not have been informed of the details, and in any event, she is unlikely to have had the knowledge necessary to evaluate whether he was a good risk. Gothard, after all, considers secular psychology to be of the devil.

With no chance to get to talk with him alone, let alone exchange touches, she has no way of getting to know him in any real way. She certainly cannot gauge whether he is psychosexually healthy.

Before a year is out, they are deep into babyhood, and she cannot express negative emotions. (Another Gothard no-no.) Somehow, the two of them need to connect to each other, but he has baggage, and looks outside the marriage.

This is a living nightmare for her, and the system - and the grownups who should have known better are absolutely at fault. She was sacrificed to satiate the horniness of a troubled young man.

Let’s talk about the laws of the past - and maybe the present.

As a lawyer, I find the legal aspect of this to be interesting. The Duggars, and the Christian Patriarchy cult to which they belong, are part of the Reconstructionist movement, which idolizes the Antebellum South, and seeks to return our civil laws to those of the Old Testament.

I’ll just briefly mention that in the Old Testament - and indeed most times in history - women could not divorce their husbands. And if they simply left, they would have to prostitute themselves or starve. And a man could take as many wives and concubines as he pleased.

What about the 1800s?

Very few people seem to be aware of the actual laws from back then. Did you know that women could not divorce their husbands if the husband slept around? Nope. He could divorce her for adultery, but she had no such privilege. She just had to lump it. (To put an even finer point on it, adultery was defined - as it was in Biblical times - as sex involving a married woman. A married man could sleep around with single women or prostitutes, and it wasn't adultery at all.)

Not only that, but until the 1880s (in most states), a woman could not obtain a divorce from a man who beat her.

Rather, the only grounds she had was that he had abandoned her. That he wasn’t paying her bills.

I'll drink if I want to
And play a little poker too
Don't you say nothing to me
As long as I'm taking care of you
As long as I'm workin baby
And payin' all the bills
I don't want no mouth from you
About the way I'm supposed to live
You must be crazy woman
Just gotta be outta your mind
As long as I foot the bills
I'm payin' the cost to be the boss
    (B.B. King)

That’s the way it was.

So, if we really went back to the past like the Duggars wish to, back when everything was so much more “godly” than now, she would be stuck. And he could beat her if she complained.

And even if she did manage to get free from him, how would she support herself? He could even take custody of the kids under the laws of that time. So, what would be her real choice? She would pretty well have to stay with him, and continue to crank out baby after baby until menopause - or until one of them died, which was more likely in those days.

Oh, and my research assistant (aka my lovely wife) wondered if she is in a “Covenant Marriage.”


The Duggar family lives in Arkansas, which is one of three states which have a parallel “covenant marriage” statute. I was unable to determine if Josh and Anna have a covenant marriage.

However, Josh’s two married sisters did indeed have covenant marriages.

What this means in practicality is that if Anna wants a divorce (assuming covenant marriage), she has the burden of proving that Josh “committed adultery.” I’m not kidding. Those are the words used in the statute, and they are nowhere defined that I can tell. So, presumably intercourse means adultery. But is a cigar in a vagina adultery? (Thank you, Bill Clinton…)The statute isn't clear.

Now, Josh has admitted to a porn addiction and to being “unfaithful.” Is “unfaithful” the same thing as “adultery”? Not necessarily. My wife and I would consider signing up for Ashley Madison to be cheating, even if neither of us got laid. But I doubt that would trigger the statute. This is further complicated by the teachings on “lust” that the Duggars advocate. If Josh merely wanted to have sex with another woman, he has already committed adultery “in his heart,” so he would have to admit to unfaithfulness just for trying to have an affair. But again, that isn’t the same as “committing adultery” under the statute.

So, I would be willing to bet that if Josh “merely” had a porn addiction and solicited women online, but never consummated the affair, Anna cannot get a divorce in Arkansas.

She is stuck.

Well, there are some outs. She can live separately from Josh for two and a half years. Or she can move to another state. 

If you want to go down the rabbit hole, this fascinating (says the lawyer) law review article from Louisiana discusses jurisdictional and choice of law issues and concludes that other states will probably not enforce covenant marriage.

But this is a tough loophole. At least here in California, Anna could establish jurisdiction by residence. But she’d have to live here for six months.

Which means, from a practical point of view, assuming she can’t get Josh to move here with her, she would have to go to court in Arkansas, get an order for custody (probably in a legal separation petition), move to California, and then file for divorce there after waiting six months. Yikes. That’s a lot to ask of a young woman with four kids under age five, no education or job, and family that will likely oppose a divorce.

Oh, and even if Anna can prove actual adultery, she still has the burden of proving it. Which means she probably has to drag all this dirt through a public proceeding in order to free herself from this marriage.

Unfortunately, keeping Anna stuck in a bad marriage is actually the intent of covenant marriage laws. If a couple wishes to stay together, no state will force them to divorce. The point of a covenant marriage is to force people who want to get divorced to stay married. Or, perhaps more to the point, it is to prevent one party to the marriage from leaving if the other objects. Talk about a setup to benefit an abusive or philandering spouse. The one who has the most to gain from bad behavior is given a leg up.

This is why I did not support Covenant Marriage, and would never, ever advise a client to enter one.

At one time, however, to express that opinion got one tarred as “not a real Christian” within Evangelicalism.

This is, without doubt, a sad case. Nobody wins here, unfortunately.

What makes it sadder to me is that there will likely be no soul searching or reconsideration within Evangelicalism of their teachings on gender roles, marriage, divorce, and sex. The reason that teachings that originated in the Patriarchy cult have gone mainstream is that Evangelicalism is panicked about sex. Courtship and Modesty Culture have gone mainstream, particularly within the Homeschooling community, but also in the wider church. Whether to educate girls for a career is controversial, with many still asserting that a woman belongs in the home. The anti-abortion movement has adopted an anti-birth-control platform. Girls in youth group are still routinely given the “chewed piece of gum” analogy to their virginity. Mainstream preachers are still advising women to stay in abusive marriages. The main thrust of Evangelical political involvement is to try to force everyone else to follow their particular sexual mores.

I wish there was a way to make people see that these are all connected, and all connected to a certain worldview concerning women, their role as babymakers and servants of men.

Still, as the Patriarchy movement continues is very public meltdown, I have hope that more will recognize that bad fruit comes from bad trees. And bad fruit comes from poisonous doctrine.

***

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mort(e) by Robert Repino

Source of book: Borrowed from the library.

Every once in a while, I read a book on a complete whim, in a fit of either caprice or madness, perhaps. This is one of those books.

I believe I ran across this one in an online review from one of the magazines I read from time to time. The premise sounded both out there and intriguing, so I gave it a shot. 



This book is classified as science fiction, which I guess fits, but it also defies any true classification. I might call it a dark fantasy, or a modern parable, or something of the sort. So, it becomes “science fiction” for marketing purposes. Like all truly great fantasy, the point isn’t escapism, but escape from the complications of our personal associations. When a narrative is removed from things we know to things we can only imagine, we can free ourselves from the entanglements of familiarity. Thus, an idea need not come with the current political baggage, but can be seen in a new light.

The premise is thus: a colony of ants, led by a nearly immortal queen, has vowed revenge against humanity for the destruction of antkind in the distant past. For millennia, she has plotted her revenge. The ants mount a war against humans, using super-evolved ant warriors (“Alphas”) the size of humans, but with superhuman strength. The secondary part of her plot is to convert pets and other animals into humanoids, so they can replace the exterminated humans. If this succeeds, the animals can become the citizens of the new utopia on the surface, while the ants rule the subterranean realms - while controlling the surface dwelling animals, of course.

Into this futuristic war of extermination is thrust Mort(e), a neutered house cat. Okay, so he was “Sebastian” in his previous role - his “slave name.” He gets to pick his new name after he has proven himself in the war against humanity. He chooses Mort(e) after reading Le Morte D’Arthur while holed up in the library during the war. The name is significant. He represents death (Morte) because he has killed, and will kill again. But he is also “Mort,” the everyday guy if the peace ever comes.

The first part of the book tells of the war and of the history of the characters. Eventually, however, the war becomes a nervous occupation. Mort(e) retires, and attempts to start a normal life. However, he is haunted by the memory of a dog he was friends with before the war. Sheba. Is she alive or dead? The driving force in his life becomes that of finding out. Because, after all that has happened, his love for her is still the most powerful force in his life.

In order to find her, he must get to the heart of “EMSAH,” a supposed germ engineered by the surviving humans.

Mort(e) draws extensively from the language and themes of Animal Farm, George Orwell’s allegory of Communism - and one of the most influential books I have read. The similarities are many. The animals rise against the human oppressors, and yet they do not become truly free, but rather the pawns of a greater power. In Animal Farm, the pigs become the new humans - the oppressors. In Mort(e), the ants call the shots.

I am still not sure exactly what allegorical point the author intended to make in this book. Perhaps I am overthinking it a bit, though, because the story is compelling even without the layer of allegory.

Some things I liked: Mort(e) is a great character. The loner cat is (as the original review I read pointed out) very much like the loner detective in a hard boiled tale. He never, ever does what anyone expects him to, and makes his own way in the world and the plot as he wishes, and somehow comes out on top.

I also liked the tension between the two great forces. On the one hand is the power of the ants. They are the perfect robotic force. To use other science fiction analogies, the ants are the Borg, the droid army, the storm troopers. They are absolutely under the control of the queen, and they lack personality and autonomy.

On the other side are the humans. The survivors have adopted a peculiar form of religion, which inspires them to self sacrifice against hopeless odds.

In this book, religion has a peculiar role. On the one hand, the portrayal isn’t flattering. From the prehistoric origin of the war to the present, the old men have sacrificed the weak and the young to the gods in an attempt to gain favor and preserve their own lives. This is certainly the worst of religion: the superstitious sacrifice of others. (See the burning of witches, child sacrifice,  and other embarrassing moments in history.) On the other hand, religion is the only hope the humans have to survive and overcome the ants. It is only through suicidal self-sacrifice that they can aspire to win a hopeless war.

After all, the ants are suicidal because the workers and warriors are expendable. They have no individuality, but are wired by chemical signals to obey the queen without question. For humans, who have free will, to match this, they must have some belief to unite them. For the author, this is the belief in the afterlife. After all, who in their right mind would throw away their only shot at this life for a greater good?

Caught in the middle are the animals, who are essentially lab rats for the queen ant. Will they adopt the religion of the humans and thus prove failures in her eyes? Will they docilely obey her without question? Is there a third way?

This is where the allegory is unclear, but perhaps even better for all that. The heart of free will is a paradox. To be able to choose love requires the option to choose hate, or it isn’t a choice at all. Ultimately, Mort(e) is driven by his personal love, even if it brings him no real hope of a future. Are these the only choices then? Blind religion that leads to hate, love without a transcendent hope, and logical but cruel obedience to a higher yet tyrannical cause? There is no perfect result available in the universe the author has created. And yet, he cannot foreclose all hope. In spite of the illogic of religion (as portrayed), the inexorability of mechanical fate from the ants, and the hopeless solipsism of personal love, it is possible for good to prevail in this mess. And ultimately, religion evolves to become a force for reconciliation, the individual quest for love and belonging are bent toward the good of all, and free will triumphs over totalitarianism.

This book is not for everyone. It is dark, violent, and cynical at times .It portrays the worst of humanity all too well, as well as the worst of ideological genocide. In some ways, it is much like Animal Farm, except more hopeful, if that makes sense. It is, in any case, a compelling page-turner, with a fully developed and believable universe.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

As You Like It by William Shakespeare

I saw this one live with my family at Theatricum Botanicum. I wrote about the venue in my previous review of All’s Well That Ends Well

Rosalind and Celia
Picture from the promotional materials.

This play is one of Shakespeare’s trio of lighthearted comedies written between 1598 and 1599. (The others are Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night.) After that, his plays took a darker turn.

Like the earlier A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this play is set primarily in a forest. A utopia, perhaps, far from the corruption of city life. Of course, not all is well with Oberon and Titania, and not all is well in this play either.

The old duke has been banished by the usurping new duke, so he takes refuge in the forest of Arden, “like Robin Hood,” as one character puts it. There he abides, enjoying his pastoral lifestyle.

In the meantime, the young gentleman Orlando, persecuted by his older brother Oliver, flees to the forest - as does the old duke’s daughter, Rosalind, who is banished by the new duke. Joining Rosalind is the new duke’s daughter Celia, who is fast friends with Rosalind. To avoid the trouble attendant on being two young ladies traveling unaccompanied, they disguise themselves. Rosalind becomes a young man, “Ganymede,” while Celia becomes “his” servant. The court jester, Touchstone, eventually comes along with them.

This is a pretty common Shakespeare ploy: a young woman disguising herself as a man. Of course, in his day, all parts were played by males, so you really had a young man playing a woman pretending to be a young man. Ah, the gender-bending 16th Century.

As might be expected, much hilarity ensues, and several memorable speeches.

The most well known is that of Jaques, the dour counterpart to Touchstone. “All the world’s a stage…”

As is often the case in Shakespeare’s plays, many of the best quotes go to the jesters, or in the case of Jaques, the anti-jester.

Touchstone is constantly clowning, but his seemingly silly speeches contain a grain of truth. As he puts it, “The more pity that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly.” Even in our own era, the role of the jester - the satirist, perhaps - is to point out the foolish behaviors of the “wise.” (Perhaps, one might say the “powerful,” as these are those to whom Touchstone refers.)

Of all of Touchstone’s speeches, perhaps the best is his spoof on the art of courtly insult and the practice of dueling. The degrees are taken from Brewer’’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, but with a humorous twist.


JAQUES:
But, for the seventh cause; how did you find the
quarrel on the seventh cause?

TOUCHSTONE:
Upon a lie seven times removed:--bear your body more
seeming, Audrey:--as thus, sir. I did dislike the
cut of a certain courtier's beard: he sent me word,
if I said his beard was not cut well, he was in the
mind it was: this is called the Retort Courteous.
If I sent him word again 'it was not well cut,' he
would send me word, he cut it to please himself:
this is called the Quip Modest. If again 'it was
not well cut,' he disabled my judgment: this is
called the Reply Churlish. If again 'it was not
well cut,' he would answer, I spake not true: this
is called the Reproof Valiant. If again 'it was not
well cut,' he would say I lied: this is called the
Counter-cheque Quarrelsome: and so to the Lie
Circumstantial and the Lie Direct.

JAQUES:
And how oft did you say his beard was not well cut?

TOUCHSTONE:
I durst go no further than the Lie Circumstantial,
nor he durst not give me the Lie Direct; and so we
measured swords and parted.

JAQUES:
Can you nominate in order now the degrees of the lie?

TOUCHSTONE: O sir, we quarrel in print, by the book; as you have
books for good manners: I will name you the degrees.
The first, the Retort Courteous; the second, the
Quip Modest; the third, the Reply Churlish; the
fourth, the Reproof Valiant; the fifth, the
Countercheque Quarrelsome; the sixth, the Lie with
Circumstance; the seventh, the Lie Direct. All
these you may avoid but the Lie Direct; and you may
avoid that too, with an If. I knew when seven
justices could not take up a quarrel, but when the
parties were met themselves, one of them thought but
of an If, as, 'If you said so, then I said so;' and
they shook hands and swore brothers. Your If is the
only peacemaker; much virtue in If.

While his other speech is better known, I am fond of Jaques explanation of his melancholy. It does, after all, mention lawyers.

ROSALIND                        
They say you are a melancholy fellow.
                                   
JAQUES                        
I am so. I do love it better than laughing.
                                           
ROSALIND                        
Those that are in extremity of either are abominable fellows and betray themselves to every modern censure worse than drunkards.
                                           
JAQUES                        
Why, ’tis good to be sad and say nothing.

ROSALIND                        
Why then, ’tis good to be a post.
                                       
JAQUES                        
I have neither the scholar’s melancholy, which is emulation; nor the musician’s, which is fantastical; nor the courtier’s, which is proud; nor the soldier’s, which is ambitious; nor the lawyer’s, which is politic; nor the lady’s, which is nice; nor the lover’s, which is all these, but it is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness.

The setting of this play was interesting. It has long been the custom to set Shakespeare’s plays in other times and places. Particularly in the case of most of the comedies, the setting is some nebulous time and place - or else one in which it clearly isn’t intended to be set. (For example, there are jokes at the expense of the French in plays “set” in ancient Greece or Rome.) The setting itself isn’t the point.

Theatricum placed this one in the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War. The theme of “brother against brother” is present in the play as well as in the setting. And, the final reconciliation gave some hope of the eventual reconciliation of the nation.

The setting also gave the opportunity to utilize a whole host of Civil War era songs. The actors sang them outside before the play, and at appropriate places within it. I am also fairly certain that the tunes of other songs from the era were used to set Shakespeare’s own songs. (My limited knowledge is at fault here. Some tunes sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place them.)

As usual, Theatricum put on a high quality show, with a high standard of acting. Rosalind was played by Willow Geer (granddaughter of Will Geer, founder of Theatricum, and best known as Grandpa Walton), who brought a fascinating combination of femininity and masculinity to the role. As she did in All’s Well That Ends Well, she was able to make her character both strong and vulnerable, emotional and rational, and always fascinating to watch.

For those in Southern California, Theatricum’s season runs through the end of September, so there is a chance to go see this if you wish.

In lieu of a clip from the production itself, here is a famous setting of one of the songs from the play by William Walton. Novelist Thomas Hardy would use the line as the title of one of his more gentle novels.