‘The Widow's Last’ is a drama set during the infamous Irish potato famine, exploring a woman’s journey from hopelessness and devastation to restoration and purpose. As Kathryn watches the last of her kin sail across the horizon, the sun sets on her hope. She has lost everything; her husband, her child’s health, her family and in a matter of day’s her farm. We enter her story knowing there is a massive food shortage in Ireland, with England choosing to withhold food as a weapon to increase their ascendancy. One English landlord, Edmund, travels to Ireland to provide aid but faces fierce English hatred that’s spread through the land. Stumbling upon a wounded Edmund, Kathryn is moved by compassion and chooses to help. In giving him the last of her food, the small flame of hope gained in their unexpected friendship is shattered when he disappears. When her son doesn’t wake, Kathryn surrenders to death. Drifting in and out of consciousness, she is unsure if the man nursing her to health is there or a heartsick delusion. Waking to find her home overflowing with food and her son restored, the house is left unmistakably different and so is she.
In 1 Kings 17, the widow's act of sacrifice and faith is so compelling and her path from a place of loss to life so universal, I knew her story would be one we could all relate to. We all face situations where reality doesn’t meet our expectations; how do we move on when the loss is so acute? Where do we find our purpose again? Through the widow's journey, we explore the answers found in selflessness and faith. We wrestle with the paradox, that when we give we gain, as Kathryn gives her last meal and finds her own needs met. We too question God as the reality of her loss hits us, but find faith restored when her needs are met in the most unlikely way. In the biblical narrative, Elijah is a man on the run, hunted by Queen Jezebel and sent him into enemy territory to save a pagan widow. Like Elijah, our English landlord finds himself in a hostile environment. Against this backdrop of prejudice and hate, our story explores perceptions versus reality. This is a story of hope, an exploration of human response to loss and the answers found in selflessness and faith.