I’m no expert on what makes a good play, but it seems that if a show is going to captivate, it is the characters that will do the heavy lifting. In Sonia Barkat’s Winter Stars: three 10-minute plays, we have kings in an ancient forest, a vampire in New York City, and perhaps more terrifying, suburban housewives concerning themselves over hedges.
It is the perfect time to study these plays. Right now, when so much of our lives revolve around what we cannot do, Barkat shows us what we still have — our imagination. It is up to us to decide what we do with it.
She masterfully creates characters and puts them in vivid situations, even though each play is only ten minutes in length. If we read carefully, we will emerge changed, perhaps walking in a new way through this world. This is what a good story does — that is, if we allow ourselves to play in it.
And these short plays invite us to play with labels. The book’s subtitle, “from tragedy to fantasy to comedy,” suggests many possibilities. The first story could be read as fantasy, since it a dialogue between two Seasons, but what they are talking about is an unfolding tragedy. The second play asks us to consider what the word “fantasy” really means. And the final play is funny, but not for every character.
Grab a copy of Sonia Barkat’s Winter Stars, and join us for September’s book club!
September 16: Winter Stars
September 23: To The Shadows We Return
September 30: Auras in Suburbia
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A Teacher’s Must-Read Book
I have been a fan of Callie Feyen’s writing for quite some time but I finished this book in almost one sitting. You do not need to be a teacher to have instant admiration for her honesty, vulnerability, and true dedication to her students. She uses her own personal storytelling as the tool to teach one of the greatest stories of our time creating an instant connection to her students as well as to you the reader. If you have ever been in 8th grade, fallen in love, had a best friend, or loved reading, you will love this book. As the mother of an 8th grader, my other genuine hope is that my son will one day have a teacher as gifted as Callie.
– Celena Roldan