Ezra Analysis

Dramatic Devices (Survey of Dramatic Literature)

Despite its numerous—though momentary—geographical settings, Ezra is located more in the limbo of Ezra Pound’s mind than anywhere on this planet. Employing a chronology as fluid as Ezra’s startling mental lapses, Bernard Kops conveys expressionistically the workings of the Imagist poet’s fractured mind, which free-associates. As one fragmentary thought shoots off into another, a character related to that new notion may obligingly pop onstage. Since these people are merely figments of Ezra’s crazed brain, they are likely to appear just as whimsical and as short in their attention spans as he.

Adopting a presentational style, Kops has Ezra provide his own narrative of these hallucinatory experiences, as the poet conjures up characters who are the products of memory and wishful thinking. Ezra converses with ghosts (Vivaldi and Mussolini), delusions (Olga and Dorothy), and an assortment of others—who are doubled by the four performers other than the lead actor—either recalled from his past or attended to only fleetingly in lucid moments if they appear in some “present” time. Through this nonlinear structure, however, Kops does lead spectators to a conclusion that is both chronologically later than any other portion of the play and clear in its import. Although extremely episodic in its cinematic juxtaposition of disparate times and climes, Ezra does not confuse its spectators.

As Ezra chats with the audience...

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Ezra Bibliography (Survey of Dramatic Literature)

Sources for Further Study

Dace, Tish. “Bernard Kops.” In Contemporary Dramatists. 5th ed. Chicago: St. James, 1993.

Kops, Bernard. “Ezra.” Half Moon Newspaper, April/May, 1981, p. 2.

Kops, Bernard. Shalom Bomb: Scenes from My Life. London: Oberon, 2000.

Walker, Robert. “Pound: In Other Words.” Half Moon Newspaper, April/May, 1981, p. 2.