about The Jacket

What would you do if your reality was suddenly altered? Would you have the presence of mind to stay calm, to assess the situation, to act strategically while facing pain and the knowledge of your own upcoming death? The Jacket presents a model in the character of Jack Starks, who also manages to act kindly even as he pursues his own preservation. “Don’t act like I don’t know what’s real!” Starks asserts to (mad scientist) Dr. Becker. Later, he clarifies to the good Dr. Lorenson as she tries to calmly describe his court-diagnosed delusional state: “The real events that have happened to me have been f*cked up, not my mind!”
The elements of consciousness and time are interwoven to generate a metaphor for the individual human life here on earth. In certain ways, we are all “trapped” in a jacket, prone on a slab, closed within a morgue drawer. Society dictates the boundaries: if we err in our interpersonal or professional relations punishment ensues. Similarly, we encounter strangeness and surprise. Sometimes unspeakable, the horrors of what can be done to us and of what we may participate in doing to others form the backdrop of everyday tasks and routines.
The test of our humanity is the degree to which we develop our perception and awareness of always having a choice of response, no matter what the provocation. Jack’s life as “Everyman” – as anyone – is stark, laid bare by events and circumstances beyond his control. Instead of resisting the evidence of his perception, Jack accepts it – he trusts what he knows. Not only does he waste no time, he works within it, generating conditions for his own and others’ survival.

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