Brian Clark's Play "Whose Life Is It Anyway?"
The play "Whose Life Is It Anyway" by Brian Clark was made into a stage
play and film. The television play was made in 1972 and the stage
plays in 1978. In the play,” written by Brian Clarke, the intense
argument of committing Voluntary Euthanasia is discussed.
The main point of the play, Ken Harrison, once an imaginative, devoted
sculptor, is involved in a terrible car crash. Following a long
operation, Ken is paralyzed from the neck down; he is informed that he
may never be able to move his body ever again.
Brian Clark in a similar way uses different characters to show a
different view of Ken's possibilities. Dr. Emerson thinks Ken's life
is precious and should be kept at any cost, no matter what Ken's
wishes are. Dr. Scott also wants Ken to stay alive but values Ken's
opinion and thoughts more than Dr. Emerson, she thinks sympathy a lot.
Dr. Travers shows a view on Ken's problem, he sees it the same way as
Dr. Emerson, and thinks of it as a mental patient wanting to commit
suicide, and is happy to back up Dr. Emerson in a court of law, and
also sees it as doing a favor for Dr. Emerson, no matter what he finds
whilst talking to Ken.
In order to make the play more dramatic the debate further Brian Clark
uses a dramatic point. The point is that before Ken suffered his
accident he was happy and wanted to go on living, but at that time
people listened to him and he could have argued a point and people
would have listened to it. Now that Ken finds himself in a situation
where he doesn't want to go on living, few people want to listen to
him: 'Only my brain functions unimpaired but even that is futile
because I can't act on any conclusions it comes to. This hearing
proves that. Will you please listen?' The entire play is a power
struggle between Ken and the medical establishment. Ken is visited by
Mrs. Boyle, a social worker who tries to help Ken to move on and
accept his disability and living a life with the disability. Mrs.
Boyle is capable of helping some people but Ken isn't interested, his
greatest passion in life was his sculpture, and because Dr. Emerson
has confirmed his worst fears - that he will never use his hands
again, he can never sculpt again. Without this his life is meaningless
and Ken doesn't want Mrs. Boyles help, Ken absolutely takes her to
pieces, he throws everything he has at her.
The title starts the play with a question and it’s answered towards
the end of the play. The title in a way shows that it is meant to be,
partly, a clash of wills between two sides. In Act 1 the audience
finds out about the main character, Ken Harrison, about his accident
and the injuries it caused. Dr. Emerson, the attending physician,
believes that Ken is just depressed and that if given time will choose
to live. He states, "It is impossible to injure the body to the extent
that Mr. Harrison had and not affect the mind." From his experience,