Augustus Young       light verse, poetry and prose
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A Film Play on the Life and Work of Soren Kierkegaard

 Elliott & Thompson. 126pp £II.95 ISBN 978 1 904027676  
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The Secret Gloss is a highly original discourse on the life and ideas of one of the world's greatest thinkers. Kierkegaard's work crossed the divide between the ecclesiastic and the secular, providing the common ground between existential angst and religious belief. In a short but flamboy­ant life, the Danish theologian logged his experience into writings whose frankness anticipated and decisively influenced many of the twentieth century's greatest artists and philosophers.
The Secret Gloss perfectly captures both the tragic and comic aspects of the man, whose life was considered merely eccentric in his own time and whose reputation would not be properly re-considered until many years after his death.

Act 1 Scene 4
The Kierkegaard dining-room eight years later. The whole family is at table. The children seem prematurely aged, particularly Petra, Soren’s only sister. His brothers and Petra wear funereal black like Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard, their father. Soren is not at the table, but reclines on a couch observing all. His mother, Mrs K, is an incongruous presence who seems quite unaffected by her sepulchral offsprings. Peter is now a fully fledged clergyman, a refined version of his father. He says Grace with hellfire fervour.
The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.
I wouldn't call that much of a gift.
The Family:
Soren laughs, a guffaw, as at an old joke. He is taking his meal odalesque, very much the maimed hedonist. The trolley beside him is laden with choice dishes and a bottle of wine. The family carry on at table as though he is not there. He taps a fork against a plate.
The Lord is in a giving mood,
the Lord is very taking.
He gives his body as the food,
and his spirit to the baking!
Soren taps louder and louder on the plate, and shouts out, ‘Anders, Anders’. He wants his man-servant.
The company here is not conducive to a cripple's recovery. Anders! 
No attention is paid to Soren. Peter engages Michael Pedersen in a succinct sombre exchange about Bishop Myster (a popular divine in Denmark at the time). Petra does not have a plate before her. She sits like a living relic. One of the brothers is reading a book, a Shakespeare play, possibly Hamlet or Lear.
Anders comes in, a bucolic fellow in muddy boots. He has been gardening and carries an imaginary hoe in his hand.
Sit down Anders, and eat my dinner. I am famished.
Soren pulls a stool from under his couch with the hook of an umbrella. Anders sits. Soren fills his plate with assorted dainties, and puts it on Ander's lap. Ceremoniously, he hands Anders his fork, pours himself some wine and lies back to watch Anders tuck in, a rewarding experience as Anders is a young man with a robust appetite.
Father, your theory of the transference of suffering from the sinner to his siblings is not orthodox, but it strikes me as sound. After all, there is no reason to doubt that God in his wisdom should chose to punish evil with evil, evil being what the sinner understands best. The malefactor seeing his innocents suffer on his behalf would really suffer the little children, as it were. Not being able to do anything about it sharpens his remorse. And so, the sinner is saved through the sorrow of seeing his children suffer on his behalf. God's charitable design works in mysterious ways.
Brother with Book:
Peter, you are getting too theological. Don’t you see, that if the sinner is made to sorrow while his children suffer, he must be damned too in order to make a truly divine comedy. I'm afraid, I find your kindly view just sentimental melodrama. Heavenly choirs arriving like the cavalry at the curtain call to save the suffering sinner! Over the mangled bodies of his children, too. Reality, my friend, is richer than that. The divine comedy is a human tragedy. And its true story, if it is to convince, should end badly.
I don't think God's story could be said to ever end.
Brother with Book:
Yes, it goes round and round in circles and makes itself dizzy.
During this discussion, two places at table become vacant (knifes and forks etc disappearing too). Michael P has his head thrown back, and his eyes are rolling in his head. There is fire and water in his eyes. He suddenly lurches forward and fixes Petra with a terrible look. A black cross appears where she sits and a flame burns through it.  Petra's place becomes vacant. And where Brother with a Book was seated, there is a gun on the plate. The gun goes off. Only Michael P, Peter and Mrs K are left at table. Michael P is now more relaxed and throws an indulgent glance towards Soren, who is chatting happily to a replete Anders. Anders is sagging on the stool, full of food and drink.
Michael P (to himself):
I will outlive them all, all seven. But at least I will have Soren to comfort my old age. He will die too of course but not before I confess everything to him. He will understand. Anders! stop that play-acting and bring me the strongest purgative you can find in the garden.
Anders leaves obediently for the garden. Soren follows him, hobbling along supported by his umbrella. His style of step is like a kangaroo. The garden is really only a back yard which is overgrown with weeds. It resembles a prison yard. Soren is deliriously happy poking for herbs with Anders.