Adventures of the Soul by Lizzie Mickery

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The Wire on BBC Radio 3

BBC Radio 3, 27 October 2012
"Sorry," is one of the most overused words in British English.  It is used to attract attention, as a synonym for the word "Pardon?", and most obviously as a so-called apology if someone transgresses a particular social or behavioural code.  If a person pushes past you while running for the train, they are likely to say "sorry," as they knock you over; they are likely to use a similar phrase if they say something deliberately offensive.  More often not they do not mean what they say: the term represents an insincere attempt to make things right.
This phrase provided the impetus for Lizzie Mickery's ghost-story, in which Clare (Helen Bradbury) understands that something - or someone - has taken up residence in her house.  No one believes her; not least her husband Tom (Lucas Smith), or the private detective Philip (John Hollingworth), whom she approaches in an attempt to solve the case.  As is turns out, there is someone there, speaking to her during the night through the airwaves in a tone that forces her to listen.  When she subsequently discovers that her dead father's identity has been stolen, she immediately understands who the spirit is.  The only way she can deal with it is find a way to communicate with him.
Using an excellent soundscape incorporating recordings by collector Raymond Cass, Melanie Harris' production focused on the relationship between past and present: we all try to unmake the past (for example, by invoking the term "sorry,") when it is physically impossible to do so.  We should look into ourselves and find a way of solving this crisis, just like Dante recommends in The Divine Comedy - a text that was frequently alluded to during the production.  Clare eventually understands this, and realizes at the same time that she has no further need of Philip's services.  He is a detective, concerned primarily with logical solutions to cases; what Clare discovers is that human beings have to find "illogical" (possibly "incorporeal") ways of dealing with the past.
While the production contained some truly scary moments, it began as a Gaslight- like study in female suffering, and ended with Clare as the most emotionally self-contained character.  I really enjoyed it.