Conversion Therapy Unanimously Criminalized in France: The National Assembly passes a new law that illegalizes conversion therapy throughout the European country.

On Jan. 25, France passed a new law criminalizing conversion therapy. The National Assembly passed it unanimously, and it had already been passed by the majority vote in the French Upper House. With President Emmanuel Macron’s signature, the law will go into effect. Macron has already tweeted in support of the bill, writing, “being oneself is not a crime,” Macron stated. 

Under this new bill, anyone convicted can face heavy fines of up to €30,000 and two years in jail. If the act is perpetrated against a minor or vulnerable adult, fines can increase to  €45,000 and up to three years’ imprisonment. The law also “opens the possibility for campaigners to file civil suits on behalf of victims, an advance hailed in parliament as a breakthrough for people who hesitate or are unable to alert police themselves,” France24 stated.

The official definition of conversion therapy, according to GLAAD, is “any attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression,” GLAAD explained. Statistics on their website show that highly rejected LGBTQIA+ people are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to have used illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely to be at high risk for HIV and STDs. 

Stonewall, an LGBTQIA+ organization in the United Kingdom, reported in 2021 that thirteen countries had passed some kind of law against conversion therapy, but the United States is not one of them. As of right now, twenty states and over 100 municipalities have passed laws to protect LGBTQIA+ people from conversion therapy. An estimated 698,000 adults in the United States have undergone conversion therapy; 350,000 recieved it as minors. 

The American organization Born Perfect states on their website that “Few practices hurt LGBT youth more than attempts to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through conversion therapy,” Born Perfect shares. Born Perfect was created by the National Center for Lesbian Rights in June 2014, and their website professes that “We believe that every LGBT child is born perfect and that any young person’s identity as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender should be honored, celebrated, and supported. We are committed to ending these dangerous and stigmatizing practices across the country once and for all—relegating them to the dustbin of history, and ensuring every child knows they were #BornPerfect,” Born Perfect shared. This organization is actively working to end conversion therapy in the United States, and if you’d like to learn more about their work, check out bornperfect.org.

Sources: France24, BBC, GLAAD, UCLA.edu, Stonewall 

Happy Lunar New Year!: On Feb. 1, 2022, it officially became the Year of the Tiger.

Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival, is a holiday that often marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It’s often associated with Asian cultures, many of whom have traditionally used a lunar calendar to pass time rather than the solar calendar that the Gregorian calendar is based on. Since the lunar and solar calendars don’t match up, Lunar New Year falls on a different day every year. This year, Lunar New Year was celebrated on Tuesday, Feb. 1 of 2022.

2022 is the Year of the Tiger. In the Chinese zodiac, different animals correlate with different personality types. People born in the Year of the Tiger are supposed to be courageous, confident, and ambitious. They also have lots of enthusiasm; however, they tend to work alone, despite often getting along well with others. There are also subtypes of each zodiac sign depending on the rotation of elemental associations (earth, metal, wood, fire, water), which are said to affect your personality, as well as the zodiac animal associated with the hour you were born in. Like all astrological systems, there are multiple factors in determining personality qualities, and people are not a monolith in terms of engagement with this astrology.

There are many ways to celebrate Lunar New Year. In Vietnam, bánh chung, a type of sticky rice cake, are eaten, and people visit friends and family members. In Malaysia, many celebrants enjoy a dish called yeesang made of fish and vegetables. Most Americans are familiar with Chinese traditions surrounding the Lunar New Year, which include decorations of red and gold for good luck, children receiving red envelopes with money in them, dragon parades, and fireworks to ward off bad luck.

Recently, there’s been conversation about making Lunar New Year a federal holiday in America. The bill was introduced on Jan. 28, but it has not yet been passed. If it were passed, schools and workplaces would be able to take the day off, though requirements to enforce that would vary based on state legislation. This move to make Lunar New Year a federal holiday is a push to recognize “the cultural and historical significance of Lunar New Year” and to “send a strong signal to the Asian-American community… that they are valued.” The bill was introduced by Rep. Grace Meng, a Democrat from New York. Meng is Taiwanese-American and grew up in Queens, New York.

If this bill is passed, Lunar New Year will be the twelfth federal holiday. The Washington Post highlights the significance of this bill coming in 2022, as Asian Americans have faced particular marginazliations during the pandemic. Anti-Asian American hate crimes rose dramatically in 2020, prompted by inflammatory rhetoric surrounding the coronavirus; in response, the organization Stop AAPI Hate was created in March 2020. It “tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.” If you’d like to learn more about their mission or support them, check out their website at stopaapihate.org. 

Sources: The Year of the Tiger: What to know about Lunar New Year – CNET, Year of the Tiger: Fortune and Personality – Chinese Zodiac (chinesenewyear.net), About – Stop AAPI Hate, Lunar New Year could be newest federal holiday if Rep. Grace Meng’s proposal passes – The Washington Post

Club Spotlight: Clubs are returning to in-person meetings.

Throughout the month of January, clubs were no longer allowed to meet in-person on Eastern’s campus. At first, the moratorium on in-person events was only meant to last the first week; however, it was quickly extended twice more through communications sent to club leaders. 

As of Jan. 31, clubs are now allowed to meet in-person again. The current guidelines limit groups to roughly fifty students, and participants are required to be masked at all times. However, for many students, the uncertainty around clubs has still not ended. Additionally, commuters are still not allowed in any dorm buildings for club functions, limiting the spaces where club meetings can be held if they want to be commuter-accessible. Many virtual clubs have reported lower attendance, and it’s no surprise. While Zoom has been a boon in many ways, it can also be deeply exhausting to stare at a screen for another hour. Rather than being sources of community and ways to interact with new people, virtual clubs are often just one more chore.

Hopefully, with the in-person ban lifted, clubs can regain some of their floundering attendance rates. Many clubs are interacting with students on social media, and Eastern’s newsletter and app for clubs keeps students in the loop regarding goings-on on campus. While clubs are not dead by any stretch of the imagination, COVID certainly has impacted their reach and their place in campus life.

Campus organizations have long been areas where students can relax and destress, get involved in ways that can build their resumes and experience, and make new friends and interact with others outside their classes. Sense of belonging is one of the key factors in students’ mental health, according to a paper published in the Journal of Adolsecent Health, and clubs are a key part of creating and maintaining that sense of belonging.

Now that clubs are back to being in-person, it’s worth checking one or two out again! In addition to the Weekly Happenings newsletter, students can also check out the Clubs and Organizations sector under Student Life on the Eastern website, and the Waltonian features articles on clubs regularly. If you’ve been thinking about joining a club, now is the perfect time to do it.

Sources: College students’ sense of belonging related to mental health during pandemic | SSRI COVID-19 Resources (psu.edu)

Inklings is Open to Submissions: Eastern’s Literary Magazine is accepting submissions from now until March 25.

Many people dream of becoming a published author, but they don’t know where to start. Others might just be looking for a home for a piece of artwork, photography, or a written work. And some people might just be looking for a challenge. If that sounds like you, you should check out Inklings Literary Magazine! 

Inklings has been a part of Eastern since 1966, publishing students’ work. We’ve also recently opened our submissions pool to undergraduates at all universities and institutions, so if you have friends at other schools who are interested in being published, Inklings would love to see their work too! Our literary magazine’s archives are listed on our website if you’d like to check out past issues.

  A literary magazine is a space, either in print or online, that usually publishes art, such as poetry, short stories, creative nonfiction, photography, digital art, sketches and others. Different literary magazines publish different types of art; some only publish poetry, for example, and others only publish in certain genres, such as science fiction. Some magazines are also more selective than others, so your chances of being accepted to a magazine vary depending on where you submit. 

Inklings Literary Magazine accepts poetry, photography, short stories in any genre, creative nonfiction, and artwork, so whether you’re an artist or a writer, Inklings could be a great home for your work. Our submission guidelines are up on our website, inklings.eastern.edu. You can also check out the flyers around campus and scan the QR code, which will take you directly to our website. Simply fill out the submission form, attach your work, and you’re done! Please also note that Inklings asks for blind submissions, meaning that the readers won’t know who the author is when they’re deciding what to put in the magazine, so make sure that the document you submit does not have any identifying information on it, like your name or email.

But what happens next? Well, our window for submissions closes March 25, and once we’re closed to submissions, we’ll begin recruiting readers. If you’re interested in being a reader, reach out to the Inklings email and we’ll get in touch! Readers will review each piece and help the editor-in-chief decide which pieces will be published in our 2022 issue. Once we’ve made our final decisions, the editor-in-chief will email the lucky ones and begin creating the print issue of the magazine. All contributors to the magazine will be able to pick up a couple of copies to keep and share with family and friends!

Publication can be a great opportunity for anyone, even if you’re not considering a career as an author or artist. You can list publications on a resume, and it’s a pretty exciting thing to tell a potential employer that you’re a published author. If you are considering a career in the arts, though, publications in literary journals are a great way to build up your portfolio of work. 

Naomi Roth, who graduated from Eastern in 2020, wrote that: “it’s a great place to start. If anyone is serious about their writing they should submit to undergraduate literary magazines while they can as a stepping stone to larger magazines and it also looks good when querying your novel.”

A current student, Zack Wilson, said, “I submitted my poetry just laying around on my computer from high school, not expecting anything at all, but it was really cool to see my work published and printed in an actual, physical booklet. I’d highly recommend someone write or submit something. It’s one thing to read what you wrote off a screen or from a notebook, but it’s a different level entirely when a slick-looking book of poetry rolls up and it’s your name and writing in there.”

We’re excited to see all the wonderful talent of Eastern University! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out over email.

Marvel’s Multiverse: a student shares her thoughts on the MCU’s addition of the multiverse.

Spoilers for Spiderman: No Way Home, Hawkeye, Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki. So Marvel finally did the thing they’ve been hinting at for years now: the multiverse is very real, and crossovers are coming. We’ve already seen multiple alternate versions of Loki, who was the first major multiversal character, and in Spiderman: No Way Home, we got all three Spidermans on the big screen. And if you’ve gotten a chance to check out the Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness trailer, you might’ve noticed that an alternate version of Steven Strange himself is coming to town.

Meanwhile, while characters like Hawkeye and Captain America aren’t dead, they’ve passed on the mantle. Instead of Clint Barton and Steve Rogers, we’ve now got Kate Bishop and Sam Wilson; our new Black Widow is Yelena (and I for one am thrilled about that). And the teams are expanding too: if you haven’t seen the writing on the wall, the Young Avengers are assembling soon—we’re still missing a few key characters in the MCU, but America Chavez is joining us for Multiverse of Madness, and I wouldn’t be surprised if our last member, Hulking, shows up in the Secret Invasion TV show (also releasing this year).

In other words, Marvel looks very different from the original Avengers team we first saw in 2012. Like many other Marvel fans, I loved that team, and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for them. But the universe is growing, and so is its ability to more accurately represent Marvel fans the world over. The first team was all white, except for the one member who was occasionally green. There was one singular woman on the team. And as far as the MCU goes, they’re all cisgender and straight. When your heroes only represent certain demographics, that says a lot about who has power.

So yeah, I’m a fan of the Multiverse because it can show us possibilities. It asks the questions about identity that I think our modern world, with its ability to remake and redefine yourself both online and off, is being forced to grapple with. Would I still be me if I’d been born in another city? If I’d been born in a different body? If I’d been the youngest child instead of the oldest?

Is Loki still Loki if he won against the Avengers? If he was never adopted by Odin? If the body he’d been born into looked differently? These questions are important because they put our choices under a microscope. They remind us that we are both creatures of choice and creatures fundamentally shaped by things out of our control. We do not have to be what we are. Fate is not final. And in the end, I think the variety and possibility of the multiverse reminds us that, if only choices or circumstances were shifted slightly, we could easily be a hero or a villain, a bystander who does nothing or an active participant for better or for worse.

It reminds me to have grace, with myself and others. There are things I cannot control. And it reminds, at the same time, that my choices do matter. They can change the world, even if only a tiny corner of it. We have no idea what our impact can be, so we have a responsibility to act as moral agents and to hold ourselves to standards of integrity. To me, that’s the beauty of the multiverse: it reminds us, in the end, that we are not alone, and we cannot act as though we are.

Aaron Cox’s Fundraiser: Enactus is organizing a fundraiser to support the purchase of a new wheelchair for Aaron Cox.

If you’re at a sports game, whether cheering in the crowd or playing on a team, you’ve probably seen Aaron Cox enjoying the game. This business administration major hopes to work in the sports industry after he graduates in May, and he loves both playing and watching sports. Before college, he played on a wheelchair basketball team called the Komets, which was a traveling team that played all across the country. Now, Aaron is a part-time coach for the Komets. The Komets are a league team unconnected to the high school he attended, Penncrest High School, where he grew up in Media, Pennsylvania. Unsurprisingly, his favorite sport to watch is basketball, and his favorite basketball team is the Philadelphia 76’s.

Aaron has been called “energetic and social” by his friends, who say that “he is loved by many students and brings joy to everyone on a daily basis”. Since he attends a variety of sporting matches, he often befriends members of the teams and he’s been “an integral part of this campus” in the years he’s been a student.

Right now, Aaron is in need of a new wheelchair. His previous wheelchair is from January of 2015, making it seven years old, and it’s no longer working the way it needs to. The motor often struggles and shuts down, making it difficult to go up and down the hills of Eastern’s campus. Without his battery working the way it’s supposed to, Aaron has to push his chair everywhere, which significantly increases the work needed to get from place to place. The battery pushes with a force four times stronger than a single manual push.

These wheelchairs are expensive, costing $15- 20,000. Additional accommodations to the wheelchair add up fast, making this essential mobility aid an expensive purchase. Aaron’s previous wheelchair has been having problems, and he started the long process of acquiring a new one in September of last year. There were two medical appointments before he could even be measured for the chair, which occurred in November. After measurement, it typically takes about four to five months to actually get the chair. 

Eastern’s Enactus is creating a campus-wide fundraiser to raise money for Aaron’s new wheelchair. There will be more information forthcoming, so keep an eye for that! Enactus is a verified on-campus chapter of the larger Enactus originization. They’re “an international non-profit organization that brings together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need.” If you’d like to learn more about their organization or find more information about the fundraiser once it gets started, check out the website for Eastern’s Enactus chapter at enactus.wixsite.com. 

Eastern strives to provide a supportive, tight-knit community of people, but that can only happen if everyone is willing to work together to make that happen. Please consider donating if you can. Enactus stated in an interview that they believe in our community will come together for this fundraiser because “as a part of the Eastern University community, we should want to help one another”. Indeed, not only as members of the community, but also as siblings in Christ, we are called to help one another out in times of trouble. Hebrews 13:16 says, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased”. Hopefully, working together, we can make a difference in Aaron’s life with this fundraiser for a deeply worthy cause.

Please email enactus@eastern.edu or asocci@eastern.edu to learn how to donate.

A Christmas Music Standout: A student explains the heartfelt meaning behind her favorite Christmas song.

In high school, my school organized caroling just after finals. We’d gather in the school’s courtyard, bundled up in scarves and gloves, as the music teacher passed out binders full of traditional carols like “Silent Night” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” We’d walk up and down the neighborhood by the school, ringing doorbells and singing by the light of our phones. Afterward, we’d gather again in the school courtyard, now stocked with tables covered in Christmas cookies and hot apple cider, marshmallows, candy canes and hot chocolate packets. On the way home from caroling, if my little brothers were in the car, we would play “Carol of the Bells” by Family Force Five or “Little Drummer Boy” by For King and Country with my little brother, Asher, doing a stellar imitation of a speedy drum solo.

I love all of these songs, but when you ask me what song screams Christmas to me, it’s not any of those. It’s my dad’s favorite Christmas song: “His Favorite Christmas Story.”

It’s got a little rock to it, and the lyrics aren’t really about Christmas at all, strangely. It tells the story of a man and a woman who meet at a dance one night in 1947. At a quarter to eleven, the man finally asks the woman to dance, but afterward, they go their separate ways. The man tells this story every year, and it becomes his defining feature, but he doesn’t know the woman’s name or how to find her again. The chorus of the song is the story of the dance, told the same way every time, even though the man is getting older and telling the story to different people. However, at the very end of the song, the man is dying alone in a hospital bed and he asks to hear a Christmas story. The story that the nurse tells him is the mirror image of the story he’s told all his life; he’s finally found the woman he’s been thinking of every Christmas for most of his life, only in his final moments.

I tear up just thinking about the song. Every time I listen to it, I can’t help but cry. I can’t tell if the story is happy or sad. On the one hand, he finally found this woman, but on the other, he has no time left. He’s dying, and he’s spent so much of his life waiting for this person. Is all that time and love a waste? I don’t know. I can never tell. The song certainly doesn’t pass judgement. It’s here to tell a story, and the interpretation is up to you.

My dad plays this song every year. He loves playing music so loudly that it fills the whole house, especially during Christmastime, the same way he always buys massive poinsettias that my mum hates trying to keep alive and those netted bags of scented pinecones that always make me sneeze. I don’t know why he loves it; I’ve never asked him. But I love this song, because it makes me think of him. When I hear the title of the song, “His Favorite Christmas Story,” it’s not about the man in the song. It’s about my dad, pumping music through the house as he fries potato pancakes on the stove.

Threads Pop-Up Thrift Shop: All proceeds supported IJM, an organization that fights to end human trafficking.

On Saturday, Dec. 4, International Justice Mission (IJM) hosted their annual pop-up thrift store to end slavery, Threads. For weeks, IJM has had signs posted in every dormitory as well as one in Walton with donation bins underneath for anyone to donate clothing, jewelry, shoes, and more. The members of the club sorted all of the donations and set up in Gough Great Room, ready for customers.

The set-up was wonderful. As you walked into the room, there was a table where the IJM club members were sitting and handling transitions with information about the organization. The prices were written on a whiteboard propped against a chair; except for select pieces that were hand-labeled, everything was under five dollars. There were tables with neatly folded t-shirts and jeans, chairs with larger pieces like jackets and dresses laid out or draped over the back, and a rack with some statement pieces hung up. The cubbies in Gough Great Room held a selection of shoes, mugs, and jewelry. There was even a floor-length mirror propped against one wall, so you could hold pieces up and see if you liked them.

You were even allowed to try pieces on if you wanted. While I was there, one person went into the bathroom with an overflowing pile of things they wanted to try on. I tried on three different pieces, and I was thrilled when all of them fit. There aren’t many places where you can get three nice pieces of clothing for under ten dollars. It was also incredibly easy to pay; they accepted cash, debit or credit card, or Venmo.

Besides the unbeatable quality and price of the items, any shoppers could leave confident that their money was going to a good cause. According to the posters around campus, “all proceeds from every item you buy goes to International Justice Mission—the largest anti-trafficking organization in the world—which means freedom for people still trapped in slavery.” Their mission is to “to protect people in poverty from violence by rescuing victims, bringing criminals to justice, restoring survivors to safety and strength, and helping local law enforcement build a safe future that lasts” (ijm.org). 

IJM partners with local offices in fourteen different countries to “combat slavery, violence against women and children, and police abuse of power against people who are poor” (ijm.org). Their solution involves reducing and restoring victims, bringing criminals to justice, scaling demand for protection and strengthening justice systems to fight these issues.

If you’d like to learn more about the organization, their website is a wealth of information about what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and the people who they’ve impacted already. IJM also accepts donations on their website, so if you weren’t able to attend Threads but still would like to support their mission, you can go onto the website and set up either a one-time donation or a recurring monthly donation through their user-friendly portal. You can also get regular updates on their events and progress through social media; they have active profiles on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and LinkedIn.

Threads represented the work of a community coming together for a good cause. Thank you to everyone who donated, volunteered, shopped and supported IJM through this work.

Sources: Threads poster, ijm.org

Psi Chi’s Stress Less Week: The honors society for Psychology hosted a variety of events to educate and support stressed students.

November is probably the most stressful month of the fall semester. Midterm exams fall during this month, and it feels like every possible important project, paper, and assignment is due at this time. Students and professors alike are catching up on work that they’ve fallen behind on. And in addition to all of that, registration opens for the next semester, so students need to be thinking not only about the ever-demanding present, but also about the future as well. Thanksgiving break looms in the foreground, but for many students, there’s the added stress of making plans to get home or finding someone to stay with if they aren’t able to go home.

For all of these reasons and more, Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, decided to host their Stress Less Week during the first week of November, from the first to the fifth. They had events all week long to help educate students on stress and how to deal with it, as well as providing ways to reduce stress.

Stress has been proven to not only affect your mental health but also your physical health. It’s important to pay attention to the signs your mind and body are showing you to indicate that you are stressed, like feeling tired or irritable constantly, struggling to focus, and experiencing headaches. If you are concerned about your levels of stress, try the tips below. If your stress levels are causing distress, contact a healthcare professional, CCAS, or a call center line designed to help you find solutions to manage your stress.

On Monday, they set up a table in Walton and greeted students with packets on stress, tea bags, and a sticker of their choice. There was also a table where students could make their own stress ball by filling an uninflated balloon with rice. Stress balls have been found to be useful in improving the focus of sixth graders in a study by Sheryl Stalvey and Heather Brasell, so anyone who took a few minutes to make their own stress ball may be finding that their focus in class improved.

Tuesday’s event was an art night in McInnis, where students could bring their own project or start a new one. The term art therapy was firts coined in 1942 by British artist Adrian Hill. It was used to improve the mood of tuberculosis patients confined to santitoriums, and by 1964, the idea of artistic expression as a metnally healing practice was cemented by the creation of the British Association of Art Therapists.

Psi Chi also partnered with Wednesday Night Worship for their mid-week event. The tag on their poster read, “Give your worries to God!” There are many Bible verses that are often quoted in tandem with that idea, such as Matthew 11:28-30 and 1 Peter 5:7. Music is also a source of comfort and an emotional outlet for many people, whether they play an instrument, sing, or just listen to music. Many people find it cathartic to sing along to songs with lyrics that express their worry and fear while also allowing them to give those emotions to God.

On Thursday, they held a Yoga Night where students were encouraged to bring their own mat. Yoga originated in South Asia as a practice connected to the Hindu religion, but today, many people in the West practice it without connecting it back to its origins. Many yoga practices involved stretching and regulated breathing.

Lastly, on Friday, Psi Chi concluded their Stress Less Week with DIY Self-Care Night, where they encouraged students to implement the practices that they’d found most helpful over the course of the week and to make them a regular part of their routine. Stress isn’t something that can be banished with one night of yoga or an hour doing art; because the causes of stress never go away, the solutions need to be consistent as well. Hopefully, Psi Chi Stress Less Week showed students how they can form consistent habits to reduce their own stress.

Sources: https://adelphipsych.sg/the-history-of-art-therapy/, the Bible

EU Play: “Almost, Maine”: A review of EU Arts’s fall production, “Almost, Maine.”

This semester, Eastern’s theatre department performed “Almost, Maine,” a modern play composed of a series of short scenes that take place at the same moment in time, in the same town, with different characters. It’s a clever concept, and the cast and crew of the play executed it beautifully. However, I ultimately found that my sentiments matched the tagline of the play: “It’s love. But not quite.”

There are a million things to love about the play. First of all, the cast is wonderful. There are only twelve cast members, and many of them are double-cast, since there are almost no repeat characters between scenes. They all do a wonderful job making each character unique and interesting, and despite depicting a range of characters of different ages and backgrounds, each one feels very authentic. The costumes help with this. They’re not complicated affairs, but they’re clever. You can tell that Hope has come from out of town as soon as she walks on stage, for example, by her heeled boots and too-light coat.

The set is also gorgeous. As soon as you walk in, you know you’ll be in for a treat. Edison bulbs are strung across the majority of the ceiling, and they twinkle and glow throughout much of the play, creating a charming atmosphere. “You just want to curl up and read a book there,” stage director Anna Davis said. The creation of the Northern Lights is also impressive, and the set pieces on stage are simple and artful, giving the audience just enough to guide them while avoiding overwhelming the actors.

However, I couldn’t make myself love the story, despite the amazing job that the cast and crew did with it. The story incorporates fabulism, a literary technique where magic and strange happenings are part of the everyday world we live in; it’s comparable to magical realism, but some experts argue that magical realism can only be used to describe postcolonial narratives. Fabulism/magical realism is one of my favorite genres, but I think this play gives it a bad name. The fabulism elements were gimmicky and overly self-referential; when one character realizes she’s fallen in love with another, for example, she quite literally falls over, and then states that she’s fallen because she fell in love. Likewise, another character carries around her broken heart in a bag. Well-crafted magical realism and fabulism feels natural to the world; the audience should believe that this is the way the world was meant to be. There was nothing necessary or beautiful about the fabulist elements in this play, and I found it hard to suspend my disbelief.

Another issue with the story was a pitfall of one of the best elements of the play: the vignette style. Because the scenes were so short, some of them worked better than others. I anticipate that people will have different scenes that worked and that didn’t, but there were a couple scenes where I didn’t feel like I had enough information to get emotionally involved with the characters. The framing device was one such scene: I loved the idea of having one scene that bookends the play, but there simply wasn’t enough there for me to care about whether the characters love each other or not.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed watching the play. There were scenes that were beautifully done—I cried at one scene. The cast and crew did a wonderful job with material that simply missed the mark for me. It was the Eastern theatre department that gave me everything I loved about “Almost, Maine,” and for that, I applaud them.