Postponed due to coronavirus-related measures
Personally speaking, I think that Scorched by Wadi Mouawad is a story that invites one gently and with great humour into a world that turns out to be cruel, unpredictable and complex. Having said that, this world unfolds as human and clear. The fates of people are frightening, even more so because these are people who live like the rest of us, or, if I put it more humbly, who live as mundanely as I view life myself. They live in a privileged European world, with all the rights, with all the roles that befit us as human beings, they live like daughters, sons, mothers, teachers, they go to recreational boxing; as partners, female or male, they inhabit the roles that they play on a daily basis, torn between conflicts and challenges, but never give up, and above all they seem to stand firm, strong, and omniscient.
In Scorched, these people feature specifically as three characters. A mother and her twins: a son and a daughter. The harmony and everyday mundanity stop abruptly as one day the mother decides to sink into silence. She stops speaking entirely one day. Having lost the will to live, she is slowly drifting away from this world. Her motivation for silence remains unclear to all who are in any way related to her. In a letter, addressed to her adult daughter and son she leaves clear instructions. He is to find their father, whom they have never met, while she has to find a brother they did not know even existed. From there on, nothing is simple and mundane anymore. The twins struggle with many prejudices, their own desires and projections. Who is their mother? Who was she before she became a mother? What was it that she experienced? Above all, it seems that this journey radically changes the mindset or the knowledge of who they are.
This is how Scorched redirects its attention from a mundane big picture to the context of the time and place of mother’s growing up and youth. The son and daughter supplement their growing up by heading off to uncover the path finished by their mother. Following her trail and riddled with puzzles she left behind after her death in her letters, they try to reach two people: their father and a brother. It is a path that becomes mythical, instructing them with many lessons on how to be human. And on what is war. And how the war creates and destroys lives. And how to live after the war. And how to suffer it all. And how to be together afterwards. And what it means to accept someone afterwards, with everything that there is. And despite all this, how to keep searching for light in this life. And how not to forget how to love and then fall silent.
Nina Rajić Kranjac