Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hrafnhildur Hagalin 's “Guilty”: A Sex Triangle: A Nymphet, Her Mother & Her Lover


I saw Guilty [Icelandic: Sek], which was a part of the 8th annual Dream Up festival, last Saturday at the Theater for the New City in the East Village with about nineteen other theatergoers. Here's the plot summary from the theater's website:

“Guilty” by Hrafnhildur Hagalin Gudmundsdottir is based on the trial transcript from an 1837 criminal case, “the nastiest in Icelandic history” in the words of the young judge who presided there. A twelve-year-old girl is sexually abused on a remote farm, Rifsaedasel, in the moorlands high above the barren north coast of Iceland, 66°32' N, 16°11' W. 

The mother’s love affair with the abuser, the hired hand on her husband’s subsistence farm, drives her to testify against her young daughter during the trial in a desperate attempt to conceal her lover´s crime. The crime of adultery, to which the mother confesses, is at the time of the trial a capital offense. What punishment will the judge mete out?

The playwright works from the actual testimony, which has been preserved to this day in the handwritten Thingeyjasysla County court records. “Guilty” focuses on the love triangle; on Jorunn, the mother´s, sexual obsession; and, consequently, on the eternal questions of innocence and guilt. 

Bailey Newman
The plot summary of the play, that ended Sunday, doesn't make it explicitly clear that the mother desired to continue her affair with her daughter's "abuser" after she knew that he had raped the nymphet who was played by Bailey Newman, a non-nymphet but passable in pigtails.