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Early History of Fire, An - Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy

Early History of Fire, An

David Rabe

Customer Rating: starstarstarstarstar (Rate this!)

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy

5m, 2f

ISBN: 9780573701085

Longing and confusion. Hearts pounding, time ticking away. Early 1960s in a Midwestern town. Danny Mueller’s working class life is one of fierce loyalty to childhood friends, Jake and Terry. But the bigger world is stirring once he meets Karen, back from college in the east and alluring because of what she knows, and unsettling for that same reason.


More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Rental Materials | Media | Author | Reviews
$9.95
: Acting Edition
$17.95
: Large Print
$19.95
: Stage Manager
$8.95
ePlay

Minimum Fee: $75 per performance


Description

Full Length Play

Dramatic Comedy

Period

120 minutes (2 hours)

Time Period - 1960s

Settings Of Play - The Mueller home in a medium-sized Midwestern town. Early fall, 1962.

FEATURES / CONTAINS

Scene work, Competition or audition material

Interior Set

Period Costumes

CAUTIONS

Alcohol, Drugs, Intense Adult Themes, Strong Language, Smoking

TARGET AUDIENCE

Adult

PERFORMANCE GROUP

College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Professional Theatre, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Longing and confusion. Hearts pounding, time ticking away. Early 1960s in a Midwestern town. Danny Mueller’s working class life is one of fierce loyalty to childhood friends, Jake and Terry. But the bigger world is stirring once he meets Karen, back from college in the east and alluring because of what she knows, and unsettling for that same reason. The grip of Danny's past is intensified by his father, a German immigrant mourning a vanished world of lost prestige. For Pop the question is how to let go of a son and life he never quite had now that the future has shrunk to almost nothing. While Danny hopes to change without betraying the bonds that have sustained him, Karen, a whirl of brilliance, looks to J.D. Salinger for answers and to Danny for a simplicity he does not possess. To fall in love, to have a destiny, to know what it is. That’s what they all want, even Benji hanging onto Pop, and Shirley, too, adrift in a way she could not have foreseen. old look backward and the young look ahead, while we watch from the future they long to inhabit. And it’s all about to burn in the heat of whatever's coming. The way it always does.

Click here to read an interview with David Rabe by TDF Stages.

REVIEWS

“Combustible quality...beautifully captures both the age of the characters and of the country they belong to. Their glazed but rapturous expressions summons an eternal chapter of youth....Portraits of friendship...Testosterone-pumping friction...A tumultuous work...touchingly earnest anger and confusion." - The New York Times

“FOUR STARS...sharp...smoldering...make[s] the past a fine place to be.” - TimeOut NY

"Suspenseful...an emotional roller-coaster of a party...humorous moments...Rabe creates memorable characters, moments of volatility and warmth, and phrases that stick in your mind.”- Associated Press

“David Rabe's autobiographically-inspired new play…beautifully captures a specific moment in history in the early 1960s...The language is simple and natural...Scenes fly by with an epic sweep...Like the hit TV series Mad Men, it also acts as a time capsule of sorts that lets us measure our own lives and our society's progress.” - Theatermania

"Attention must be paid. A perceptive play." - New York Observer

“Poignant voice...Rabe's writing both strong and striking...Surprisingly lyrical aria” - Variety

“Fine writing...intense...sexual...a memorable tornado” - Backstage

“Shining moments of spot-on dialogue" - Entertainment Weekly


An Early History of Fire was first produced Off Broadway by The New Group in New York City on April 30, 2012. It was directed by Jo Bonney.

Characters

CASTING

5m, 2f

CASTING ATTRIBUTES

Ensemble cast, Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle), Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle), Parts for Senior Actors

CASTING NOTES

POP speaks with a distinct German accent. The others are all Midwestern.

CHORUS SIZE

N/A (Not a musical)

DANNY
POP
SHIRLEY
KAREN
TERRY
JAKE
BENJI
Rental Materials

MUSICAL STYLE

N/A (Not a musical)

VOCAL DEMANDS

N/A (Not a musical)

Videos
  • Beyond Broadway interview with cast of An Early History of Fire

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Reviews
Messiah Hagood-Barnes 12/3/2015 12:35 AM
I mostly enjoyed the figurative, witty dialogue within the piece. The Midwestern setting adds to the sense of longing in the play by exemplifying what it means to belong in such a vast world while questioning the smallness around you. David Rabe offers a world of figurative images and dialogue that makes the reader ponder on life’s most important questions centered upon, longing, love and lost. Although set in the early 1960s, the play feels incredibly contemporary and like most great plays, many of the play’s themes can be applied to today’s contemporary world. The play’s sense of confusion, and anxiety mirrors the hysteria contemporary America is currently being faced with today, when faced with political and moral questions. I found it incredibly interesting that the same questions, and hysteria arising within the young characters about the future mirrors the same confusion many young adults have about America’s current political systems. The desire to understand the distant, but forthcoming future resonates within the young characters in the play and can sit with a young person today who desires to know the same about the future.

I am particularly fond of Karen, the play’s leading female protagonist. Although Karen is inherently feminine, her femininity does not make the objectives of her character any less clear. I find it intriguing how David Rabe veers away from the 1960s ingénue and present a strong female presence through Karen and also through the allusive presence of the mother figure within the play. David Rabe places a focus on the importance and power of the female presence throughout the play, which is incredibly affect due to the play’s setting that takes place in the early sixties. The potency of the female presence within the play is especially gratifying for today’s reader. The plays is a great read for young adults who wish to ponder on the inner workings of love, and how the hunger to know, overall, how life can communicate itself through the notion of love can push one’s innocence into a state of inquisitive anxiety.    

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