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Archive for December 6th, 2015

waiting 1

by Sam Juliano

Clown, hobo, ballet dancer, bagpiper, and an Army major – a collection of question marks.  Five improbable entities stuck together into a pit of darkness.  No logic, no reason, no explanation; just a prolonged nightmare in which fear, loneliness, and the unexplainable walk hand in hand through the shadows.  In a moment, we’ll start collecting clues as to the whys, the whats, and the wheres.  We will not end the nightmare, we’ll only explain it – because this is the Twilight Zone.   -Rod Serling

“Five Characters in Search of an Exit,” a third season episode of Rod Serling’s classic The Twilight Zone features five oddly dressed people from seemingly all walks of life.  A beautiful ballerina, fraudulent hobo, a bagpiper, a circus clown and an army major find themselves in the ultimate manifestation of claustrophobic environs – a cylindrical room with metallic walls and no roof.  The only view is a constant one of the sky above.  Though the major frantically wants to find away to leave this seemingly hopeless predicament, the other four are at peace with their apparent imprisonment, and are content to wait things out.  When I first picked up Waiting by Kevin Henkes earlier this year I immediately recalled this intriguing episode, connecting in my mind the five characters who hold the stage exclusively for the duration of the book.  I also thought of the obvious – Samuel Beckett’s brilliant  play Waiting For Godot, which features two characters – Vladimir and Estragon – who wait in vain for someone named Godot.  Both Beckett’s acclaimed stage work and the Serling-written Twilight Zone episode are existential in theme, and the same can be said about the Henkes picture book, which raises the bar for juvenile thoughtfulness, bringing to bear the potential for a different interpretation for every new reading. (more…)

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