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Lorenzo by the Ghost Light

The companion to the highly lauded Sleep Cinematic: A Golem’s Quartet, Lorenzo by the Ghost Light: A Spiel is a mock epic infused with absurdly operatic situations and allusions as well as to an homage to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Lorenzo by the Ghost Light finds its first setting in the same opera house visited by the trio in A Golem’s Quartet. The main character, Lorenzo, is a theater ghost and his companions are a roach (Hector) and a mouse (Dorabella and Fred’s sister). Their quest begins when a stale meatball shatters a Glass Harmonica. Legend has it that demons can be released should such a harp be damaged. So to exorcise the demons and return them to whence they came, the trio sets out to find the right piece of glass to repair the Harmonica

 

The trio indirectly passes by the Golem and his group while on quest. For the trio it is to find an appropriately fitting piece of glass to repair the Harp; for Dorabella it is a search to find her opera loving brother, Fred; for Lorenzo it is a return to a beloved Tea House in order to finally give closure to a life long since passed. In tone, Lorenzo continues much like Sleep Cinematic: absurd, silly and on occasion scatological, indirectly commenting on an era losing its sense of balance.

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A literary aria in itself, this collection of tongue-in-cheek anthropomorphic tales embodies a familiar, mystical quality that reminds me of a childhood storybook I can revisit — “Loosen all your knotted hearts…look for the Charmed Squirrel.” Epstein’s talent paints the pages with lyrical and unexpected characters who interact on a journey of engagement with each other and with life. In addition, we are offered wave after wave of endearing, humorous antics performed with a nod to the modern world. My favorite character, among other “favorites”, includes Dorabella, a lovable mouse who instructs others in manners, (where it is appropriate for mice to poop), speaks in lyrical phrases, and performs yoga (“Chaturanga, Men!”) with the other fable-like characters. Epstein has created a Canterbury Tales world of unorthodox happenings with endearing and unique characters. This is a must-read. Entertaining, unique, and brilliant!

This is an amazing book!

Meet The Author

Les Epstein author photo

Les Epstein is a poet, playwright, opera librettist and educator.  His work has appeared in journals in the United States, Philippines, India and the U.K., including Slant, The Bacopa Review,  Mojave River Review, Clinch Mountain Review, and Jelly Bucket as well as the anthologies Heat the Grease (Gnashing Teeth Publishing) and Pain & Renewal (Vita Brevis Press).  His work was honored by the Writers Guild of Gainesville (FL) in 2021 and has been featured in the podcast, “Sunflower Sutras,” broadcast out of Washburn University. His chapbook, “Kip Divided,” will appear from Finishing Line Press in 2022.  As a playwright, his work has been staged by such theaters as the Belfast Maskers (Maine), Greenbrier Valley Theater (WV), Stone’s Throw Dinner Theater (Missouri) and the Roy Arias Studio (New York). He contributed libretti for two operas, Barefoot (1997 premiere) and Miss Lucy (2011 premiere). Cyberwit released a collection of his short plays and libretti (Seven) in 2018.  Epstein’s bi-lingual collaboration with Claudia de Franko, Llorona of the River is available through Silver Birchington Plays. He received undergraduate degrees in Theater Performance and English from Otterbein College, and MA in English from Miami (Ohio) University and continued with studies in Literature at New York University and in Theater Education at The Ohio State University.  He completed his teacher training at Mary Baldwin College.  In addition to work with theater, opera and ballet companies from North Carolina to New York City he spent ten seasons as Education Director and Production Coordinator for Opera/Columbus and another seven as Executive Director for the Children’s Theater of Winston-Salem before settling in as a teacher with Community High School (Roanoke) for which has staged more than thirty-five productions.

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