The Self-Curse of Denial

July 18, 2012

by Lauralee Farrer
Praying the Hours still from TerceIn our story on “Terce,” we consider a woman (played by Liz Montgomery) facing difficult times in her marriage and with her first baby. Some of these hard times can be traced to a series of bad decisions and her insistence that she is able to accomplish anything she must without asking for help. She is engaged by three strong-willed strangers whose intentions to come to her aid seem, at first, to matter more to them than it does to her. That’s because she has numbed herself with denial and these characters see the danger she is in even more than she does.

Terce Leontine neighborIn storytelling mythology, the presence of three women combining to affect the fate of the story’s hero is very familiar—from MacBeth’s three witches to Sleeping Beauty’s three fairies. In this story, they are like furies (i.e. literally meaning “avengers”)—Greek mythological characters from beneath the earth who “punish whosoever has sworn a false oath.” There is the hint that the furies embody the self-curse that comes with being false.

Terce’s three inspirations take the form of a woman from her church (played by Keri Tombazian), a friendly neighbor (played by Leontine Guilliard), and a helpful grocery store clerk (played by Nikki Barger Wheeler). Combined, they represent the presence of the Holy Spirit that is one of the characteristics of the Hour of Terce. The Holy Spirit moves as it will like the wind, and comes to our aid in the most unlikely and unpredictable places. In her story, Terce is visited by the Traveling Man who helps her to see how she might take advantage of the help that the women are offering, but that she must ask for their help first, that is, she must call down the help of the Holy Spirit. By admitting her mistakes, her need for help, and opening herself to gratitude, she can avail herself of their willing aid and find the joy and vibrancy of life that she needs to transform the hard days ahead.Nikki Barger as clerk in Terce from Praying the Hours