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American Century, The Comedy/Satire 3 (2m, 1f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

World War II has ended and Tom, just discharged from the Army, returns to his young wife, Margaret, full of hope and enthusiasm, and dreams of a bounteous future. But as they plan their life together they are joined by a brash young stranger who, to their amazement, proceeds to make himself very much at home. He is, he explains, one of the children they will have, and he fills them in so completely about their past and present lives—and the future which awaits them—that Tom and Margaret soon find themselves moving from incredulity to panic. In the most casual, blithely humorous manner he tells of a world gone mad with space races, Watergate and the threat of atomic annihilation; of his siblings who have come to a variety of bad ends; and of Tom and Margaret's own descent into bankruptcy, booze, and pill-popping. Increasingly aghast as one horror is casually (and hilariously) piled on another, Tom rushes for the door, determined to escape before any of this can occur only to be pursued by his unloving but pragmatic son who suddenly realizes that without a father, his own existence, chancy as it may be, will never happen.

First presented by the Actor's Theatre of Louisville as part of its Humana Festival of New American Plays. A bitingly satiric but very funny absurdist comedy about a son who travels back in time to visit his hopeful, but as yet childless parents and fills them in on all the unexpected disasters in store for them. "…a very funny play." —NY Daily News. "A social satire of real bite." —Philadelphia Inquirer. "…you'll laugh yourself sick…" —Irish Independent.     

American Clock, The Drama 24 (15m, 9f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

Subtitled "a mural for the theatre," the play employs a series of vignettes and short scenes, with the actors portraying some fifty-two characters, to capture the sense and substance of America in the throes of the Great Depression. The central figures are the Baums, a wealthy family whose fortune has vanished in the stock market crash, but their story is amplified and illuminated by brief glimpses of other lives; a farmer who has lost all in the dust bowl; a prostitute who exchanges her favors for dental work; a white Southern sheriff in thrall to a black short-order cook; a young man who dreams of success on Tin Pan Alley, etc. Moving deftly from scene to scene, some funny, some movingly poignant, the play becomes a deeply affecting evocation both of a tortured time in American history and of the indomitable spirit of the people who survived and prevailed in the face of unaccustomed adversity.

Presented at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, and then on Broadway, this brilliantly theatrical, kaleidoscopic study of America during the early years of the Great Depression constitutes a major work by one of our theatre's truly important writers. "After far too long an interlude, Arthur Miller is back in touch with his best subject, the failure of the American dream, and back on top of his talent." —NY Times. "…the same kind of intimate, inner-voice writing that made DEATH OF A SALESMAN a masterpiece." —NY Post. "It's warm, funny, interesting…" —Variety.     

American Dame, The Comedy/Satire; Drama 5 (2m, 3f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

In setting forth his study of American Womanhood (and how she got to be what and where she is) the author begins at the beginning—with Eve and the apple. From this earliest hint of what was to come he moves on, in historical sequence, through biblical and Elizabethan times and, drawing closer to home, to the lot of Indian squaws and Puritan and Colonial ladies. Supplementing his own sprightly imagination with vivid excerpts from journals, biographies, letters, plays, newspapers, sermons, and even trial extracts he constructs a well-defined and amusing picture of his ever changing yet always intriguing subject. As times (and mores) move on, the author sharpens focus on his subject with witty examinations of the first American working girl; the educated woman; the frontier wife; the suffragette; the bloomer girl and the clubwoman. The men may be reluctant to admit it, but "The American Dame" is on her way to becoming an equal partner with the male. In fact before the cycle is complete the admission is finally and grudgingly made that perhaps women are the superior sex after all.

The author describes this "play/out" as "an entertainment where actors announce a theme and then play it out." In this case the theme is the saga of American Womanhood, humorously and comprehensively set forth through material drawn from a wide range of sources. The general format is a series of contiguous skits and readings, done without scenery and employing only the "simplest of props and snatches of costumes."    

American Daughter, An Drama 14 (8m, 6f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

Set in Washington, D.C., AN AMERICAN DAUGHTER focuses on Dr. Lyssa Dent Hughes, a health care expert and forty-something daughter of a long-time Senator. When the President nominates Lyssa to a Cabinet post, an indiscretion from her past is discovered. The media turns it into a scandal which imperils her confirmation and divides her family and friends. Lyssa is forced to make a decision: continue to pursue the post and face an ugly Senate hearing; or decline the nomination, becoming a sacrificial lamb for the President. Partisan politics in our nation's capital, however, are nothing compared to the personal politics in Lyssa's living room, where complicated relationships unravel with her father, husband and her best girlfriend—not to mention the awkward encounters she has with an exuberant neo-feminist author and a relentless TV journalist.

"Wendy Wasserstein, the author of The Sisters Rosensweig and The Heidi Chronicles [is] one of the few American playwrights since S.N. Behrman to create commercial comedies of manners with moral and social heft." —NY Times "[we] can rejoice…in watching [Wasserstein] become her own bright, eloquent and great-hearted version of George Bernard Shaw. Wasserstein is at least as funny and observant as ever in this smart-talking living-room family play about the nomination of a female U.S. surgeon general. But the playwright is also electrifyingly reconnected to the bizarre, infuriating and defining contemporary forces beyond personal psychology. She has not merely returned to the broader political concerns of her cherished 1988 Pulitzer Prize-winning The Heidi Chronicles, she has returned with a vengeance, and with her craft honed tough for the task…Wasserstein is beautiful when she's angry…we must not forget to remind you that the play is also enormously moving, with richly written characters…" —NY Newsday. "With AN AMERICAN DAUGHTER, Wendy Wasserstein gets angry. Or rather, the anger that's always slept beneath her humor wakes up and announces itself…with the playwright's commitment and compassion (and another "c" —craft) that, put together, make for her most ambitious work to date." —Variety. "Political comedies are unusual if only because dramatists rarely seem to take politics seriously enough to make fun of it. Wendy Wasserstein is obviously an exception, for in AN AMERICAN DAUGHTER she is making a distinct and often amusing attempt to expose that soft underbelly of American political life, its media awareness and its consequent confusion of public opinion polls with democracy." —NY Post.

American Dream Revisited, The Comedy/Satire 4 (2m, 2f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

The American dream is alive and well—if a little twisted—in this absurdist comedy. Somewhere out in a southwestern desert, Jim and Della and their daughter, Chartreuse, decide to ditch Grandpa and leave him there to die. They expect to inherit his money, making their own lives so much more pleasant, but Grandpa has a few tricks up his sleeve. Will anyone get out of this alive?

     

American Dream, The (Albee) Comedy/Satire 5 (2m, 3f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis
American Dreams Drama 6 (4m, 2f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

Mommy and Daddy sit in a barren living room making small talk. Mommy, the domineering wife, is grappling with the thought of putting Grandma in a nursing home. Daddy, the long-suffering husband, could not care less. Grandma appears, lugging boxes of belongings, which she stacks by the door. Mommy and Daddy can't imagine what's in those boxes, but Grandma is well aware of Mommy's possible intentions. Mrs. Barker, the chairman of the women's club, arrives, not knowing why she is there. Is she there to take Grandma away? Apparently not. It all becomes evident when Grandma reveals to Mrs. Barker the story of the botched adoption of a "bumble of joy" twenty years ago by Mommy and Daddy. Mrs. Barker appears to have figured it out when Young Man enters. He's muscular, well-spoken, the answer to Mommy and Daddy's prayers: The American Dream. Grandma convinces him to assist in her master plan. She puts one over on everybody and escapes the absurdly realistic world which she finds so predictable.

A long-running Off-Broadway success, presented in tandem with THE DEATH OF BESSIE SMITH by the same author. "What counts is the fact that it is grandly funny." —NY World-Telegram & Sun. "The small change of ordinary conversation is turned on its head with a cynical innocence that makes for laughter, both ironic and offbeat." —NY Times.

American Landscape Drama 21 (14m, 7f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

An old and proud family, the Dales of Dalesford, Connecticut, is faced with a major crisis which threatens to disrupt the traditions upheld by their ancestors. Instead of giving up, the spirits of the Dale ancestors return to combat the un-American forces which seek to break up the family. The living members of the family—with the help of their ancestors—try to keep their old house from falling into the hands of supernatural apparitions (a captain in the World War, officers of the Civil and Revolutionary Wars, Moll Flanders and Harriet Beecher Stowe) that mingle with the living family in scenes that both impress and amuse.

Mr. Rice's play is a triumphant affirmation of the American democratic ideal.

American Millionaire, An Comedy/Satire 7 (5m, 2f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

The hero is the millionaire co-owner of a textile plant who seems to have all that one could wish for—but who finds himself thoroughly miserable. As things have gone from bad to worse his wife (whom he loves) has left him; he is overweight but can't stop eating; his partner has just about given up on him; and, to cap it all, someone is apparently trying to kill him. In an attempt to set matters straight his brilliant law student daughter enlists the aid of her professor (and lover of five years), whereupon the action becomes even more pell-mell, and even funnier—leading on to a quite unexpected yet characteristically zany resolution.

A madcap, hilarious comedy, produced by New York's renowned Circle in the Square company, which offers a wildly farcical view of contemporary society and its mores. "…I laughed, and I laughed quite a lot." —NY Times. "…Mr. Schisgal is a master of comic line, situation and character." —NY Post. "…takes a light-hearted view of modern America." —Variety.   

American Modern Drama 2 (1m, 1f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

Pat and Mike, an urban couple, find themselves ever more out of touch with the world in which they must live, and with ever less to hold onto and believe in. He toys with the prospect of suicide, and she with the notion of madness, as they reminisce about the events, large and small, that have brought them to where they are. Their conversation grows ever more bizarre—and revealing—as they seek to "fill the empty spaces," and to fight back, to survive, against the meaninglessness that threatens to devour them.

A highly imaginative, "free-form" evocation of the numbing isolation which besets a couple as they struggle to adjust to the terrors of urban life. Successfully presented by two of Off-Broadway's leading theatre groups as a companion piece to Canadian Gothic. "She has a reassuring facility with language and a splendid command of her material." —San Francisco Examiner. "…a sharp atmosphere of razor-like wit and quick paced repartee." —Montreal Star.     

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