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Notes on 'The Dresser'

In answering a question about leaving relationships in the aftermath of betrayal, psychotherapist Esther Perel quotes Who Can You Trust author Rachel Botsman: "Trust is the active, responsible engagement with the unknown." Perel stresses that if we have to know for sure that our partners will never be unfaithful again, then we will never trust.

It isn't betrayal but abandonment and love without certainty, which tastes cling strongly in my mouth after watching Ronald Harwood's The Dresser, staged by Repertory Philippines on May the third.

Set in 1940s Britain, the drama sees a theater ensemble push through its promised performance, air raids be damned. Theater's promptness and clockwork make for a sharp contrast to Death's spontaneity. As in reality, what we plan can be cancelled by nature; what we produce with passion, proven meaningless. So what's the point?


At the center of this story is Norman (Audie Gemora), the titular theatrical dresser, who's a…

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