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Father Santamaria becomes quite agitated as he watches Lady Melrose being escorted from the ball to her car. Scantily clad boys with chalk harnesses and trans-gender ushers trail just behind them. The priest is an intense character. He is a peeping tom that leads others in their peeping activities, behind the hundreds of hidden peepholes and hidden wall spaces, that surround the old church buildings.

Lady Melrose’s evening dress has been spoiled by Dolly the sheep. For her dignity, it is best that she leaves. As she disappears through the gates, we are interrupted by the blasphemous head of a statue. Its head has accidently broken-off from the rest of its body. The technicians have captured the head in a laundry basket. They are followed by a rabble of guests, as they make their way across to the entrance porch of the archbishop’s rectory. Father Santamaria takes control, whilst the archbishop can be woken and brought down to officiate, over what’s to be done with the head in the bucket.

In the meanwhile, it seems to channel multiple characters and slogans. One entity is a grumpy old Speaker of the House whom we assume has passed over. We observe the dropping of the ‘Little Boy’ and ‘Fat Man’ (1945) atomic bombs, as they are channelled out the mouth of the head. Other voices come through—to give the guests some cheek.

The head is one of the most fanciful props of the novella. It is an artistic device: simply a ‘channel’ by which a variety of voices come through to exclaim a set of lines and slogans, such as for example, Gandhi’s universal mantra, ‘Truth, Force’.

It is Dirk and Micah, a technician that rescue the situation. They suggest to the archbishop that they try to attach the head back on to the body of the statue.

The last part of the chapter features a short performance by a fancy-trick, performance donkey; as he swills beers and swallows them. His final act involves an interaction with a baby tub, which the audience enjoy as they are led by Royston Bustwick, the State–leader to cheer the donkey on.

Archbishop Garibaldi features for a few moments as he deals with what is a metaphysical problem. There is humour mixed with irony derived by the way the statue is silenced. The proctor’s news of apparitions in the Cathedral is an artistic re-conjuring of a sliver of the Renaissance period. In that time, winged angels were prevalent in some of the great devotional paintings of the period. Eventually – this form of art almost disappeared entirely as the Renaissance drew to a close. The angels re-surfaced in other forms and depictions in later ages.

About the Author

This is Kevin Karmalade's debut novella series. The 'Hail Regina' series will consist of 6 novella's (with 6-8 episodes per season). Karmalade sees Hail Regina as predominantly a vintage-style, theatrical satire. The work does not set out to mirror societal dysfunction or hypocrisy in the strong way - as some of the classic dystopian novels did in the past. Rather, Hail Regina should be understood primarily as a modern entertainment fiction set within the genre. It is written to entertain above all else.

Karmalade may be regarded as a mischievous, playful storyteller. A ‘jester’ of sorts, who reels us in with a simple story - then sometimes holds a mirror to our face. The writer is aware that on some level, the work naturally touches upon the obvious flaws of humanity. The theme of human liberation and freedom in literature is familiar to most. This serialized tale then, does not try to break new thematic ground. It does however present readers of all ages (from 14+) this classic theme, in an opaque, but contemporary and engaging way.

Fictie en literatuur
25 juni
Gatekeeper Press

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