Hearts still break, don’t they?

昨晚一时兴起拿起Matthew Lopez的剧本The Inheritance,结果一读就放不下。这也是今年看的第二部以Howards End为蓝本的创作(上一部是Zadie Smith的On Beauty),背景换成现代纽约同志圈,时长超过7小时的全剧分为两部分,第一部如同Howards End的拆解与重述,第二部则借助名为Margaret(与Howards End中角色同名)老妇人的回忆,再度走进1980年的那场风暴之中,去尝试理解在最恶的时代里,同志身份认同与集体意识是如何与当代生活中我们习以为常的细节找到关联的。这种对于Forster小说主旨“only connect”的共振,想要表达的不仅是肉体、情感和人际层面,而是更深刻的凝聚力——群体所共有的集体记忆,分享的渴望与创伤,正是这些生命体验,才会塑造出深深刻划在心底的“我”的身份,让一群人因此成为共同体,将信念与尊严一代代传承下去。

剧中人物以世代作为分界线——经历过艾滋梦魇、躲过艾滋肆虐、渐渐正确认识并远离艾滋的三代人,从石墙运动和疾病肆虐的创伤,到寻求治疗和解药,到平权运动兴起,再到如今同性婚姻逐步合法与多元性别受到认同,每一个世代都踏着前一代伤痕累累的肩膀,才能登高看到更远处的风景,而与此同时,他们所体验的幸福与失落,也渐渐南辕北辙,这也正是Lopez希望借助主题“遗产”所探讨的。

剧作巨大的体量让解读有了众多的可能性。其中非常耐人寻味,也是尤其令我在意的一个设定是E. M. Forster的在场,或者说是Lopez借其躯壳存在的分身的在场。在序幕中,一群苦思冥想的年轻人见到了Forster的这个分身,一些人表达了对Howards End的崇拜赞许,另一些则质疑它的时代局限性,认为如今已经无法共情。这位名叫Morgan的角色(也是亲友对Forster的称谓)反问:

How can that be true? Hearts still love, don’t they? And break. Hope, fear, jealousy, desire. Your lives may be different. But the feelings are the same. The difference is merely setting, context, costumes. But those are just details.

这个穿梭于时空之间,有时参与有时旁观的形象“Morgan”从与角色对话,给他们指引,甚至通过这种方式,实现了这个Forster化身在自我身份认知上的某种absolution。Toby责怪他从来没有坦白自己同性恋的身份,从未替因此受苦的人发声,写成Maurice却藏起来不敢发表,优雅体面的人生不过就是一出浮华的古典文艺片。后来当Morgan有了讲述自己故事的机会,他满怀悔恨说了这一段话:

I wanted to capture what I saw, to write a simple love story about two ordinary affectionate men. Now remember, this was 1912. That kind of story had never been written before. It would be as revolutionary as Carpenter and Merrill’s relationship. And it was imperative that it have a happy ending. The newspapers were filled with too many stories that ended with a young lad dangling from a noose or carted off to prison for his nature. I was determined to change that narrative, at least in fiction. Writing Maurice was the most terrifying, and the most exhilarating thing I had ever done. Hiding it from the world was the most shameful. And my greatest regret is that I never lived to understand the impact that it had on its readers. If I had even an inkling that people needed to read it as badly as I needed to write it, I might have been braver. You have shown me that my book was then, as you are now, a link in this chain of gay men teaching one another, loving one another, hurting one another, understanding one another. This inheritance of history, of community, and of self. And from where you sit on this beach today, you have no idea whose lives you will touch, and which ones you will save. But in order to do that, you must love. Even if you know that your heart will be broken by it. The only way to heal heartache is to risk more.

如果曾经面对着巨大得让人喘不过气的困惑恐惧,面对着无法被人理解和自我理解的孑然哀伤之人,可以在作品中知道自己并不孤独,知道在世界的其他角落也有人正经历着同样的欲望与挫败,也懂得他们痛苦的自我质疑,或许,只是或许,他们就能够想象一个不是如此悲观的未来,或许能够将一些生命从绝望之中拯救出来。Lopez将他在“遗产”中存放的双层概念——既是那座以实体或象征意义存在的房子,又是上文所述的那种精神的传承——借Morgan的这段告白,进行了一些解释。

剧中位于纽约上州的这座房子原本是Walter与多年男友Henry在艾滋病肆虐期间逃避世事的场所,在一次偶然的际遇之下,成了Walter收容照料末期同志患者的庇护所。这场灾难让Walter奋不顾身地投入历史的洪流,成为了随身携带故事,传递故事的那个人。而Henry同样作为亲历者,却因为对这段记忆的恐惧而拒绝感情,逼迫自己存身孤寂。

正如Morgan对年轻懵懂的Leo所说的那样,在小说里或许会有完美结局,但在现实中,伴随亲密关系和彼此联结而来的,往往是心痛甚至心碎;只要陷入爱情,就是预约了未来的痛苦。

In actual romance, there is no such thing as a happy ending. Whether by death or dissolution, to fall in love is to make an appointment with heartbreak.

Leo说那我只去读书便好了。Morgan此时却坚定地说,不,你应该要亲身去体验,包含心痛心碎那所属于爱的一切。对Forster而言,“connection”的重要性不言而喻,与他人之间联系的断裂,或许才是最大的诅咒。

接着在Leo询问从未有人教过他如何去爱时,Morgan又说了一段让人心有戚戚的话:

So many of us were never given a healthy example of what it means to be homosexual. Which means, of course, no one ever taught us how to be ourselves, how to love, how to accept love. We couldn’t find it in our cultures and so we had to find it in each other. Clandestinely, fearfully. And sometimes joyfully. Our educations occurred in parks, in public bathrooms, on these very dunes of Fire Island. Or Hampstead Heath, busier than Oxford Street on some summer nights. It was all dangerous and forbidden and furtive and wonderful. And along the way we hurt each other. Sometimes we caused each other great pain.

也许这就是同性恋群体中很多人总是对Tennessee Williams的A Streetcar Named Desire里的名台词:“我总是依赖着陌生人的善意(I have always depended on the kindness of strangers)”有着强烈共鸣的原因。在陌生人身上获得温暖,找到安慰,理解爱,这样的支持与需要,并不仰赖血缘、种族、意识形态和宗教信仰,而是各自孤独追寻中产生默契与共鸣融汇而成的群体内部的共同体验。

Lopez将不同时代建立联系的原因是什么?最终他的落脚点还是同性恋群体互相扶持的精神遗产,那种超越血缘的直觉和心有灵犀带来的力量,可以让先天不同或环境差距都在共有的意识传承中得到些许弭平。

如今网络发达,无论是资讯还是对象,似乎只要打开手机便可以源源不绝地获取。但一直以来存在于一个群体内部,彼此知悉的羁绊,分享失落的默契,以及带有温度的口述历史,都面临着逐渐稀释乃至消亡的危险。当一个人不再需要去想象如今生活的全部究竟是花费什么样的代价才得来,不再记得过去那个瘟疫蔓延时代中遭受的肉体和精神摧折,那这样的“正常”究竟是幸福还是危险呢?

而在全人类笼罩在更大规模的传染病阴云之下的此刻,在我们重新回到恐惧、困惑和尚未厘清与反刍的迷茫之中时,再去看The Inheritance,或许又会产生另一层不同的体认。

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