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90 Views· 03/28/24
Political Atheist
Political Atheist
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A cancer-stricken professor becomes dangerously obsessed with the town's mayor.

ASYNCHRONOUS is used with permission from Daniel Poliner. Learn more at

Agnes teaches public speaking at a local college and struggles to adapt when she has to teach online when the pandemic hits. But these are not her only struggles. She is dealing with cancer as well, and facing a hopeless prognosis. Amidst it all, she has nursed a grudge against the administration of her town, which has covered up a water contamination issue -- and which may have contributed to her illness.

Much of her anger is directed at the mayor, whom she blames for covering up the scandal and poisoning the town's inhabitants. As the pandemic and the progression of her disease bear down on her, Agnes spirals, taking the drastic action of a woman with nothing left to lose.

Directed by Daniel Poliner from a script co-written by Sol Miranda, who also plays the lead role of Agnes, this ambitious short drama packs many ideas, emotions and narrative threads into its runtime, beginning with the disorientation of the COVID-19 pandemic upon Agnes's livelihood and home life, which she shares with her devoted husband.

The jagged storytelling alternates between Agnes's attempts to deal with Zoom, recording a sample speech for her students and grappling with the difficult realities of her life, including her illness and her past attempts to hold the city responsible for the water contamination in their town. But eventually, the disparate strands weave themselves into a suspenseful, almost thriller-like build-up, as a desperate Agnes spins out of control and takes action against the vagaries of fate.

Connecting it all together is Miranda's layered performance as Agnes, which is alternately tough, vulnerable, frustrated, anxious and angry. The storytelling isn't linear, but she slowly transforms from an energetic woman passionate about justice and work into one whose life is slowly stripped of vitality and whose health is deteriorating. In the face of a devastating prognosis and fraying psychologically, she decides to confront the mayor in a dangerous encounter.

ASYNCHRONOUS leads up to a cathartic encounter, one that gets Agnes some answers but also threatens to unravel all that she has fought for and created in her life. She seeks a retribution she hopes will bring her peace, but then at the brink of irretrievable disaster, she is pulled back by something more than herself. Saved from her anger, impetuosity and fury, she comes to terms with the legacy she is leaving behind, as well as an awareness of what matters in life. It's not the end she imagined, but the one she needs.

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