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Plays By Eric Overmyer - Collection / Anthology, Dramatic Comedy

Plays By Eric Overmyer

Eric Overmyer

Collection / Anthology, Dramatic Comedy

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Description | Characters | Author

Collection / Anthology

Dramatic Comedy

This collection contains three full-length plays: DARK RAPTURE, IN PERPETUITY THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSE, and ON THE VERGE. DARK RAPTURE: "In NATIVE SPEECH, ON THE VERGE and IN PERPETUITY THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSE, Eric Overmyer manifested a extraordinary command over the tools of language: sound, syntax and image.... In DARK RAPTURE, which premiered at Seattle's Empty Space Theater in May, Overmyer's verbal dexterity is acute as ever, but this time it's harnessed to a plot delivered by characters who seem driven by purposes of their own. It's by far Overmyer's most satisfying play.   DARK RAPTURE may not, however, earn its author the critical praise it deserves—it certainly didn't in Seattle—because it adheres so strictly to the rules of the genre. In the written arts, in film, in dance, in pop music, a creative artist's submission to such rules earns no disrespect. In theater, it seems we honor work created within rigid conventions only if the conventions are someone else's: kabuki or kathakali, wayang or noh.   DARK RAPTURE is `noir,' the genre which crystallized in the 1940s novels and screenplays of Raymond Chandler and has intermittently borne fruit ever since in the hands of artists as various as Richard Condon and Wim Wenders. Good noir is rare on stage.... But his DARK RAPTURE is the most successful stage essay in the form since Len Jenkins's marvelous, poetic FIVE OF US.   Like many noir fictions, DARK RAPTURE is about escape: from the self, from the sane, from the ordinary. This time the escape hatch is offered by a fire that leaves the Berkeley Hills home of Ray and Julia Gaines a pile of smoldering rubble with a charred and unrecognizable corpse beneath it. Whose corpse is it: Ray's, or a looter's? Just where was Julia when the house burned down? And what happened to the brown-paper parcel Julia says she left in Ray's custody? Did it go up in flames, too, with or without him? Any number of sinister people want to know.   In classic noir manner, the story advances tableau by moody tableau from Baja bedroom to Key West bar deck to Tampa kitchenette, each offering its sharply etched character cameo, its fragment of information, its new complication, straight to a conclusion redolent with irony...."Roger Downey, American Theater IN PERPETUITY THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSE: "Paranoia produces profits in the dark, dangerous world created by Eric Overmyer's IN PERPETUITY THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSE, a strange, sinister comedy.... Overmyer is a dazzling verbal acrobat as well as a serious student of pop culture. Both linguist and cultural anthropologist get a workout here.... A darker expedition, probing the fears and prejudices of society. Overmyer makes it a wild unnerving ride."Michael Kuchwara, A P"One of the most fascinating new scripts I've encountered in recent years.... Overmyer's intellectually nimble play does not yield to easy summary, but, in brief, it deals with bright young adults who ghost-write hatebooks for powerful bigots. Such is Overmyer's tricky dramaturgy that four members of the cast play both Good Guys and Bad Guys...it deserves to find its way to the stages of many resident professional theaters."Wayne Johnson, Seattle Times   "Thanks to writing skills unequalled among American playwrights, brilliant wordsmith Eric Overmyer transforms all this paranoia into a theatrical witch-hunt titled IN PERPETUITY THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSE.... Overmyer speaks from the heart of the Twentieth Century."Richard Stayton, Los Angeles Herald Examiner ON THE VERGE: "Cross the wordplay of S J Perelman with the world-in-a-time-warp vision of Caryl Churchill and you might approximate the special flavor of ON THE VERGE. In Eric Overmyer's chimerical new comedy, three Victorian lady explorers set out on an adventure that takes them to darkest Africa, highest Himalaya and Terra Incognita....   Blending Tom Stoppard's limber linguistics with the historic overview of a Thornton Wilder, Mr Overmyer takes his audience on a mirthful safari...spinning into time travel.   Three `sister sojourners', each a prototypical Victorian lady explorer, equipped with dialog as pithy as their helmets, thwack their machetes through the wilderness while telling tales of past jaunts among the natives. As intrepid trekkers, they put the lie to any charge that they are representatives of a weaker sex. Mr Overmyer has written a play that is joyfully feminist.   Heroines to their heart, the explorers can accommodate themselves to any emergency (natural or man-made), although they are momentarily disoriented as they approach modern times. In their kaleidoscopic adventure, they journey through a rain forest of hundreds of artifacts from the future—household utensils, mechanical contrivances and a side-view automobile mirror that reads `Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear'. How does one deal with such a chimera?...   In the play there is wit within the palaver. As one traveler says, `I have seen the future and it is slang'. The author himself is an ecologist of language and a shrewd observer of our quest to control our environment—and the environment of others....   A frolicsome jaunt through a continuum of space, time, history, geography, feminism and fashion, Mr Overmyer's cavalcade is on the verge of becoming a thoroughly serendipitous journey."Mel Gussow, The New York Times


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