Rodian Campaigning Mixes Drama & Politics
By Drama Editor Korvit Domesa
7.5 out of 10
The Trickery of Vosdia Nooma
Starring Chooru Delb, Beata Reesh, Deebo Chak, Huruni Hune, and Fosin Dreed as the Paladin
Directed by Hishinu Booj
Written by Hishinu Booj, Ruris Plin, and Onaconda Farr
Politicians can often be accused of being dramatic in their rhetoric, but Senator Onaconda Farr has made it an art form. The Rodian political campaigning season is in full effect, and the Drama Council of Senator Farr’s government has unveiled its pro-Military Creation Act work.
The four-act play, The Trickery of Vosdia Nooma, doubles as popular entertainment and paid political message. Heavy in allegory and symbolism, the space promotes Senator Farr’s pro-military stance. Farr bankrolled the production and received story and Executive Producer credit.
Trickery is set in Rodia’s feudal era, in the town of Yusk, and stars Chooru Delb as the title character, a meek farmer whose daughter is poisoned by a nasty bug bite. This draws the tiny hamlet’s attention and sympathy, from the lowliest serf to the wealthiest landowner. With many of the town’s most influential minds under his roof, Nooma begins idle chatter about his political ideals.
By the start of the second act, Nooma has worked his charming magic and is appointed baron of Yusk. He fills his cabinet with his closest and oldest friends, regardless of their governability. Nooma moves from his farm to the town center just as a charismatic soldier on rothback arrives in the farming fields. The Soldier (played by newcomer Deebo Chak) is appalled to learn how much grain each farmer gives as taxation to the baron, encouraging the farmers to keep more for their families.
The Yusk townsfolk start going hungry, urging Nooma to do something. Delb truly shines during these scenes when faced with a real crisis; he finds himself incapable of making a decision. He instead turns to his cabinet that, in an unfortunate segment that devolves into slapstick, bickers about possible courses of action.
By the end of the second act, Nooma is overwhelmed and leaves the cabinet building to escape the pressures. On his moonlit stroll through Yusk, Nooma is met by a Paladin on rothback. Trusting the Paladin (a remarkable performance by Fosin Dreed), Nooma confesses his sins and explains the problems plaguing Yusk. The Paladin remarks that the unrest sounds like the acts of a former comrade, a retired Soldier who exploits simple-minded farmers for their grain. He offers the services of a small band of protectors to deal with the Soldier and his farmers. Afraid to commit to such a decision, Nooma passes.
Given Senator Farr’s strong pro-military views, you can guess Yusk’s fate for Nooma’s failure to take the Paladin’s offer. The subsequent two acts are marked by typical Rodian graphic violence, as the farmers are whipped into a frenzy by the Soldier, who fattens himself on their crops as they take to raiding the town center. Rodian stage effects have never been more realistic, as multiangular holography makes the decapitations and maimings real before your stunned, unblinking eyes.
Though the dialogue is characteristically stilted and the symbolism transparent, the play is nonetheless engaging and will spark discussion on both sides of the Military Creation Act. Senator Farr’s shameless holographic cameo as Yusk’s clairvoyant oracle is a severe misstep and may serve to blunt his entire platform. Since it isn’t central to the plot, this critic hopes the holographic insert was only intended for the opening night run.
The compelling performances of Chak’s gravelly-voiced Soldier and Dreed’s Paladin are reason enough to wait out the four-hour running time. Delb’s titular role will cement his place in the famous theater, transcending Rodian political plays and reaching audiences of virtually any background. It’s a delicious thought indeed to ponder him in a wide-release holo.
Rodian humor does not play to all audiences and is mercifully kept short in Trickery. Thick with obtuse political allegory, those short segments are enough to induce bristling. The bickering of the three-eyed Lord Scufflemug and the powder-faced Lady Puffdove in the cabinet scenes is gratuitous and in poor taste.
Rodian drama has never been known for its subtlety, but Trickery’s final acts are marked with confusing side trips into a metaphor that often don’t go anywhere. Searching for the Paladin in a puddle of blood, Delb collapses into a sobbing harangue where he laments poisoning his daughter, even though, paradoxically, in the first act, we see her get stung by a thistlenit.
Trickery will play at the Equator City First Stage, with performances silmu-cast on signal RES23 for those with Core to Mid Rim access.