ODDITIES by Shivcharran Hulasie

ODDITIES

A One Act Resolution
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A one-act, all-caps play depicting the inner chorus of a lonely man on the verge of suicide, explored using language and themes pulled from Eastern and Western philosophies.

Within the mind of the Founder there exists a bickering pantheon of emotional analogues: the hopeful youth Donut, the vexatious Cavalier, the nihilistic Riot, the depressive Somber, the unmoving Passive, and thoughtful Ponder. He is the entirety of their world, known as Yonder Town. But loneliness has sent him into a spiral, and he drinks while slipping in and out of a deep mania, contemplating suicide and causing upheaval in Yonder. The six aspects of his personality struggle to save him, and themselves, by reestablishing a sense of Equilibrium, a balance offset for them by the appearance of a chained sufferer—the Faust-meets-Prometheus Bearer of Burdens—who shoulders the Founder’s inner pain and great doubt. And with the Bearer, the embodiment of Death comes as well, looming over the six as they attempt to save themselves while acknowledging their own parts in this predicament. Hulasie’s script is verbose, but the narrative is a simple tale of balance and self-preservation, swallowed up by numerous references to Eastern and Western schools of thought. The effect is a little like philosophical name-dropping; a coherent doctrine could be pieced together, but it’s never established. Despite this, the play succeeds at portraying the concepts of doubt and despair, particularly when all the characters get going at once, spouting monologues at each other instead of actually conversing, conveying an anxious energy that feels true to a racing mind and an unsettled soul. So intense is this panic that, at times, the ever-silent Death even takes on a humorous slant, hinting at why she seems so welcoming to the Founder and cleverly illustrating the negative role his mental chorus sometimes plays. The lack of back story on the Founder leaves the ending in some doubt; even with equilibrium achieved, has his desire to self-harm been truly ended or only deferred?

Frenetic in its energy, but too obtuse, too careless, to clearly express its unique ideas.

Pub Date: June 10th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1456731090
Page count: 56pp
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Program: Kirkus Indie
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