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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.     

World of Mirth Comedy/Satire 9 (7m, 2f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

When the self-described "family" of the World of Mirth carnival hits a streak of bad weather and bad luck, their response is fearfully un-family-like. The play begins three days after Kaspar Kelly, the carnival owner, has forcibly retired Oscar the Frog Boy, a twenty-year veteran of the freak tent. At the time, Sweeney, the dunk-cage clown and Oscar's best friend, begged his fellow carnies to kick in a few dollars to help keep Oscar on the midway; but pleading poverty, they refused. That night Oscar committed suicide, a fact Sweeney will not let them forget. Empowered by his own indifference, an indifference born of booze, grief and a nagging doubt, Sweeney has turned the taunts and insults he normally reserves for "marks" against the carnies themselves. But what begins as gleeful ridicule turns to wanton vindictiveness when one of his more reckless antics leaves him bloodied and betrayed. With savage spite he sets out to punish and destroy the entire carnival by exposing its every lie and self-delusion. At one point his embittered cynicism prompts him to deny even the existence of love itself. But ultimately it is love—blind, passionate, desperate love, that destroys him.

"Perverse hilarity! The characters are irresistible in this complex network of secrets and betrayals." NY Times. "This darkly comic play delivers." —Associated Press. "A world of wonder that's hard to resist." —Time Out NY.   

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