Mind and heart are often at odds, and this leads to conflict, but rarely to crisis. Most of the time, we simply weigh our preferences and render a decision leaving one side or the other less than completely satisfied. Such a struggle doesn’t generally result in battle for the core of our being – but such is the case at one critical moment in Dorothy Sayer’s murder mystery, Busman’s Honeymoon, a Taproot Theatre production now playing at the Jewell Mainstage in Seattle. In the June 3rd broadcast of Spotlight on the Sound, I discussed this production with Producing Artistic Director, Scott Nolte. Intrigued, I took my wife to see it.
It’s a frightfully simple matter to catch a mindless diversion in our entertainment saturated culture, but finding something both thought provoking and morally conscious is another matter altogether. Busman’s Honeymoon did not disappoint.
Without need for spoiler alerts, there is a moment in this mystery where crime sleuths Lord Peter Wimsey and his newly minted spouse, Harriet, come to the realization in the midst of an impromptu murder investigation during their honeymoon, that the very act of probing into the mysterious death of the previous owner of their new home could endanger individuals they have come to believe are innocent. In that moment they must grapple with the question: Do they continue this investigation regardless of consequences? Or do they abandon the chase, and retreat into their love for one another; free from the prospect of contributing to a sentence of condemnation to persons they fervently believe not to be guilty? In the process of talking it through and considering all that is at stake, they rightfully conclude that they must pursue truth wherever it takes them, lest a pall of guilt remain over every innocent person suspected.
In this critical moment, they affirm that in such instances where mind and emotion stand in hard opposition to one another – truth must needs prevail. Emotional decisions crumble when tried in the fire of adversity, but truth stands steadfast. Pursuing truth as far as possible must be our motivation in every such decision; and when we come to this resolution, we find that our emotions play foil to our mind. Drives contrary to our resolve crash inside us like waves against a dam of reason – proving and forging our character within. It’s easy to yoke our intellect to the tyranny of emotion – excusing every whim of desire with some token justification, but such internal maneuvering renders an individual vacillating in moments of crisis – moments when clarity must be prized above all else – and that clarity can only be born from a mind accustomed to yielding to the voice of truth.
How refreshing to see entertainment which values that principle!