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Design for Living - Full Length Play, Comedy

Design for Living

Noël Coward

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Full Length Play, Comedy

6m, 4f

ISBN: 9781408140079

"Coward's cleverest play...Coward's technique has never been more dizzy or more deft." - The New York Times

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Author | Reviews
: Paperback

Minimum Fee: $100 per performance


Full Length Play



Interior Set

In this classic menage a trois by a master of the sophisticated, Gilda and Otto are living a bohemian lifestyle, she as a dilletante, he as a painter. A visit by Leo, Otto's old friend and a successful playwright leads to an affair between he and Gilda leaving Otto so disconsolate, goes off on a tramp steamer. Subsequently living in London with Leo, Gilda is visited by Otto, now a successful and sought-after artist. He spends the night. Just as abruptly, Gilda then goes off with Ernest, a stuffy English art dealer. The following year, now married to Ernest, Gilda has become a successful decorator in New York. Her seemingly complacent life is disrupted by the return of both Otto and Leo, who have come to take her back with them. Again bored with convention, she willingly leaves.
"Coward's cleverest play...Coward's technique has never been more dizzy or more deft." - The New York Times


6m, 4f

Noël Coward

Noël Coward

Sir Noël Peirce Coward (1899-1973) was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise." Born in Teddington, a suburb of London, Mr. Coward attended a dance academy in London as a child, making his professional stage début at the age of eleven. As a ... view full profile

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Alexander Rice 4/18/2013 3:55 PM
Written as a project for the author and the Lunts, Design for Living is a perfect example of Coward’s glittering wit and thought-provoking insight into the lives of the unconventional. Three bohemian artists grapple with the pleasures and challenges of a ménage à trois lifestyle in this sophisticated and innovative comedy. Without ever truly defining the nature of their relationship, Coward paints a humorous and objective portrait of a trio whose life choices seem taboo, and poses important questions like “What defines family?”

80 years later, the play still hits home. The principle characters’ refusal to conform to societal norms is perhaps even more relevant in our contemporary world of declining marriage-rates and blurred lines of sexuality. Not surprisingly, recent years have seen a substantial increase in the play’s popularity.

In the first scene, Leo asks Gilda, “Why should it matter? I love you. You love me. You love Otto. I love Otto. Otto loves you. Otto loves me. There now! Start to unravel from there.” Love, Coward argues, is the driving force of their relationship and, in fact, of all relationships. And in the end, what else is there?

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