1340 – Harvestide. ADA (16) runs crying through fields towards a chapel. Safe inside she gazes wondrously at biblical wall paintings and stained glass. Unable to read the Latinised bible, she falls into reverential prayer, her hands around a candle flame. FATHER TOBIAS interrupts, noticing that her hands remain unburnt. Ada discloses that she is still bullied by locals and her family for her claims that she hears Jesus, his displeasure at the parish, and tears for its poor harvest. At this, it miraculously rains, breaking the drought. Both are interrupted by Ada’s father entering and admonishing her. 1341 – Lententide. Ada and her betrothed sister, ISOLDA (18) talk about marriage the role of women, Ada scandalously proclaiming that she wants to live as Jesus’ wife, arguing convincingly against Original Sin. Isolda runs and tells their nearby father, and Ada is beaten, dedicating herself to Jesus rather than arranged married. 1341 – Eastertide. Ada’s devotion is manifest as she is walled into a cell outside the chapel. Her grieving family attend as the Bishop and Father Tobias perform a ceremonial mass, dedicating her to solitude and prayer. Ada finally experiences peace and oneness, gazing rapturously upon a fresco of her beloved Jesus.
The short film reinterprets the famous passage – 1 Corinthians 13 In TRIPTYCH, it appears that Ada may indeed possess gifts of tongues and prophecy (verses 1 and 2), and is willing to give up worldly pleasures and undergo hardships (verse 3). She is in fact full of the most important thing – love (verse 13) - for her beloved Jesus, her family and community, but does not enjoy the love of her neighbours and family in return, who outcast her. She therefore turns towards the only love that she knows and dedicates her life to Jesus, through whom, as an anchoress, she may offer her love legitimately and humbly through prayers and wisdom (verses 4-7). Triptych is framed around Ada coming of age, visually with the onset of her period, for which Isolda helps Ada make sanitary towels from moss, referencing verse 11’s evocation of moving from childhood to adulthood. Whether it is these strange new bodily changes, or indeed mental issues, that are causing Ada’s experiences is propositionally suggested, whilst the passage’s traditional use for weddings is reflected in Isolda’s betrothal and Ada’s arranged marriage but inverted by Ada’s ceremonial death and ultimate union with a sacred love.