In 1950, Gilbert Cesbron (1913-1979) wrote the play “It is midnight, Doctor Schweitzer”. A Protestant theologian and musician who left as a missionary to Africa, Albert Schweitzer is totally driven by his desire that his life should be well lived, so much so that he was able to write: “A life should be spent and I wish mine were spent and spent right”.
In Cesbron’s work, Schweitzer becomes the protagonist of a story set in 1914, after the outbreak of the First World War, in the jungle near Lambaréné in the French Congo. Already in the first act, Schweitzer appears in all his tenacity and tireless hard work. He gave up everything: a wonderful career as a musician; the profession of surgeon; money; family. He arrived in Africa to heal the sick and to build hospitals. He is sacrificing his life, but he is not happy. He confides in Marie, his assistant nurse at night, saying “We are in the dead of night, in the middle of the bush and we are alone, but I do not hesitate to confide in you this truth that I took many years to accept. Happiness does not exist… but if you are worthy of this happiness, then you understand that you do not have the right to it, and that you must take on part of the burden of human suffering… So, one leaves happiness and chooses joy”. Realizing that almost nothing has changed in the recent years of his life, the doctor feels defeated.