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Plays By Richard Nelson, Early Plays : Volume Two - Collection / Anthology, Dramatic Comedy

Plays By Richard Nelson, Early Plays : Volume Two

Richard Nelson

Collection / Anthology, Dramatic Comedy

ISBN: 9780881451511

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Collection / Anthology

Dramatic Comedy

This collection contains three full-length plays: BAL, THE RETURN OF PINOCCHIO, and THE VIENNA NOTES. From the introduction by Robert Marx, Executive Director of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts:   “Conversations with Richard Nelson lead inevitably to two topics: theater and politics. Nelson's anger and occasional pleasure in the political fortunes of his country are deeply felt. Discourse is essential to his insight, and the news of the day can obsess him. He is not without hope, but sees the gap between America's lofty goals and its day-to-day reality as an unacceptable burden of citizenship. America's successes are self-evident to him. Our national failures are what he chooses to confront through the shattered myths, ironic humor and violent imagery of his political plays. Believing that theater and civic argument are not mutually exclusive, he will sacrifice audience ease to confrontational issues: Nelson's political plays can be willfully disturbing events on stage.   This volume contains three of Richard Nelson's earliest political dramas. Like the works in Volume One of this series, these plays chart the evolution of Nelson's prolific career as well as his evolution as a major American playwright. THE VIENNA NOTES was first produced Off-Broadway in 1979. Although well-received, it was the fourth Richard Nelson play to be staged in New York in a single year. Its production marked the end of Nelson's presence as a young writer in that city. His next phase of work took place in the inevitably nomadic world of American regional theater. BAL (following CONJURING AN EVENT) was first staged in Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1979, and in Chicago in 1980. THE RETURN OF PINOCCHIO had a 1982 workshop at San Francisco's Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and a full production at Seattle's Empty Space in 1983....   The political plays of those years mark Nelson's intense response to America's evolution from its left-leaning Post-Watergate era to the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan and the country's turn to the right. Outrage is the tone of voice that unifies much of his work from this period. Taken together, these three plays present a downward moral trajectory. THE VIENNA NOTES shows a politician who literally lives by acting, almost in opposition to reality. BAL (loosely based upon Brecht's first play) presents a defiantly evil character whose immoral rampage has political overtones. The sequence ends with THE RETURN OF PINOCCHIO, in which the familiar Italian folk tale becomes a dangerous Reaganite nightmare.   All three plays present victims without redemption—manipulative `players' who are blind to reality and mired in egotism. Nelson warns us about personal and political indulgence, and the threat of greed and selfishness when pitched as a defining social standard.”


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