Zero at the Bone
By Robert Schnieder
A free public reading directed by Hondo Weiss Richmond
Part of the Loose Leaf Reading Series.
Cap 21 Studios
18 W 18th Street
The SHOP on the 6th floor.
Gulnora Dordona, the only child and heir-apparent of a brutal, central-Asian dictator, has one dream: she wants to be taken seriously as an Emily Dickinson scholar. She’s organized the first-ever Dickinson conference in her country and invited the top people in the field to come, all expenses paid. As the scholars converge on Tashkent they bring questions, quarrels, and outsize egos with them. In the second act, ghostly entities, Dickinson’s friends and family compulsively revisit a cascade of love affairs, revolts and betrayals set off by the discovery of the poet’s manuscripts after her death. Emily looks on, comments, and occasionally participates, but she can’t save them. As conflicts in the 19th century prefigure those of the 21st it seems that Emily’s poems vector a kind of madness — a madness that replicates itself thirteen decades later.