REVERSE is 15-minute drama about forgiveness. It’s based on my personal experience of witnessing my friend getting badly stabbed and my following struggle to forgive the offender. Like myself, main character Ella (28) is a victim of a violent mugging gone wrong that leaves her friend paralysed. Between preparing to testify in court and visiting her friend in rehab, Ella’s rage turns into a strange curiosity about the offender’s circumstances. Researching prison life, Ella stumbles across a volunteer scheme called prison pen pals and signs up. Her friends question why she suddenly seeks contact with a criminal and even consider it dangerous. Ella doesn’t listen. She exchanges letters with inmate Jay (28), who’s convicted for grievous bodily harm. Letters turn into calls and finally a prison visit. Getting to know Jay`s story, allows Ella to see him as a human, not just a criminal. This heartfelt encounter enables Ella to forgive her own attacker and brings her the piece she’s been seeking. REVERSE is told backwards, starting with the prison visit and ending with the stabbing, a structure which engages the audience with Jay’s story before knowing his offence. The title hints that there are always two sides to a story.
I always believed in second chances and that we are all made equal. I believed that forgiveness prevents bitterness and positively impacts both sides. But when my friend got stabbed for no reason, I found that belief deeply challenged. How can I genuinely forgive such a horrific crime that left my friend in a wheelchair and his family devastated? I suddenly remembered the bible story of the woman about to be stoned for adultery by an angry mob (John 8:7) and Jesus’ famous words to the crowd: “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” I have never mugged, let alone stabbed anyone but I’m not perfect either. What resonates with me is how quickly Jesus changed the crowd’s perspective from harsh judgement to genuine identification with the sinner, ultimately turning away from the woman without throwing any stone. Like our main character Ella, I signed up with the prison pen pal scheme and it led me to identify with a convicted inmate as another human being and ultimately be able to start forgiving my offender. Inspired by the bible’s core message, REVERSE tells the story of forgiveness and of unconditional love for fellow humans instead of judgement.