Osmo is the monologue of a serial killer, written by Brazil’s leading female writer Hilda Hilst. The play becomes at no point pornography of violence, the murders themselves are not described in detail. Osmo only stops his narrations with an innuendo that he killed the women, but without directly admitting it. That is a plus point for the writing because it shows that a gruesome topic like homicide does not need to include gruesome details to have an effect on the audience.
The play is part of the CASA Latin American Theatre Festival 2017. It is performed in Portuguese with English subtitles. Osmo has been a success in Brazil for three years.
The staging is only composed of a see-through bathtub/aquarium with naked Osmo (Donizeti Mazonas) lounging in it and a chair at a corner of the stage with Érica Knapp sitting on it, motionless and silent throughout the play. She is dressed in a white night gown with boldly and badly done make up – blue eye shadow is spread generously between her lashes up to her eyebrows, which gives her a ghostly and ominous presence, that adds majorly to atmosphere of the performance over all.
Osmos monologue is a feast for psychoanalysts. His stories are filled with mother complexes, a fascination for obscure scenarios and a fair share of egocentrism. However, these features are there almost instead of a plot. The play drags a bit even though the text is well written and the acting is on point. But there is not enough happening on the stage. Even though Donizeti Mazonas gives a great, utterly expressive performance, it could have been more engaging if he wasn’t only limited to the aquarium.
The audience is looking at the same set and the same position of actors for 70 minutes. It would have been helpful to put some more movement in there to create some more suspense, as the monologue does not mainly tell a story, but mostly gives an insight into a psychopaths mind. Therefore the monologue itself also doesn’t provide a lot of movement plot wise.
This is where the lightning comes in. The subtle play with brightness and gloominess becomes very important and is the only element that changes on stage.
Overall the play is performed well, but unfortunately it felt too monotonous. Even though there are many merits to Osmo, it needs more movement on stage to be more captivating.