The Flu Season

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Title: The Flu Season and Other Plays

Writer: Will Eno

Publishing House: Theatre Communications Group

Date of Publication: December 1st 2006

Rating: 5 stars

‘’All the sweat and pain. All the lying and pretending, the rethinking, the revising into ruin. A signature move. It’s only natural. If we could control life, it wouldn’t be life. If we could control our likeness of it, it wouldn’t be a likeness.’’

One of my favourite moments as a reader is the joy of reading a play. I know that many people believe that plays are meant to be performed, not read and this is correct, obviously. However, I’ve always thought that there is a special kind of mysticism and self-indulgence  in reading a play because this is the moment when we put on the robes of the director and we become responsible for the casting, the staging, every detail of a production, as the story unfolds in our mind, as the lines are spoken the way we want them to be spoken. Therefore, if each reader’s opinion on a novel is highly subjective (and it is…), our perception of a play is even more ambiguous. Reading these three plays by Will Eno, I was reminded of the raw beauty of the demanding existentialist American Theatre.

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(image source: http://www.elizabethmak.com/thefluseason)

‘’The Flu Season’’ : This is a fascinating, strange, bleak play set in a mental health institution. It breaks the Fourth Wall as the Prologue and the Epilogue comment on the events unfolding on the stage, expressing opinions that are completely contradictory. A difficult play that leaves a mark in your mind. It is as harsh as it is tender, with commentary on a number of themes. The torment of Life’s ‘’what if’’, the desire for communication, for love, for the smallest sign of acceptance, for the need to see some sense in the world around us. Death, despair, loneliness, loyalty…There are many moments of immense beauty and sadness in this play.

‘’Intermission’’: Two couples find themselves in the audience of a play. During intermission, a delicate balance seems on the verge of collapse and an elegant but intense arguments starts. A battleground, mainly between two men, which shows the difficulties of communication between the old and the new generation.

‘’Tragedy’’ : This play is set during a live television broadcast of a terrible incident. Four journalists react to the inexplicable phenomenon in different ways, from restrained anger to utter panic, before they collapse under the weight of obligation and misery. Again, the lack of communication between the characters is evident. A very interesting play, open to many interpretations.

These plays are extremely interesting and attractive on page in a quite weird way. I can only imagine how they flourish in the hands of a carefully organized production, as Will Eno verifies that the long tradition of American Drama is still going strong.

‘’We’re all on thin ice, but for some of us, it’s even thinner.’’