The Falling Sickness
Theater by Russell Edson
The Falling Sickness, Russell Edson’s first collection of short plays, will be welcomed by the extensive and devoted readership he has gathered over the years. His turn to the theater reveals a new dimension in his work, a vein of dramatic satire that makes all the more vivid the nightmarish absurdities which underscore so much in our lives. As in his earlier books of illustrated fables, parables, and prose poems, the scale of events is small, though the decibel level is shatteringly high: in each of the four plays, the bewildering wail of a nuclear family giving vent to its pain. If Edson’s microcosm seems unredeemable, it does after all exist in response to the greater world at large, and like the canvases of an Hieronymus Bosch, reveals the secret madnesses at its heart.