Etiquette and Vitriol: The Food Chain and Other Plays
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Etiquette and Vitriol: The Food Chain and Other Plays

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  94 ratings  ·  10 reviews
The first play collection by a young master of razor-sharp wit and black humor.
Paperback, 300 pages
Published December 1st 1996 by Theatre Communications Group
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I can't really decide if this contains spoilers - so read with caution!!! You may be someone who wants to know nothing about the book before reading it. I don't personally think this gives anything away really.

I enjoyed "The Food Chain" - the first play in the book - although it was definitely bizarre. It was very funny and entertaining.

Then I read "Fat Men in Skirts" which was a mistake. Cannibalism, incest, rape - I did not find it funny, although it's supposed to be and I think people with...more
What I learned from this book... well, like Chekhov and Williams, Nicky Silver has his stock characters who, if you nail them, you could easily recreate an improvised version of his plays. Get a fat person, thin person, oversexed aged person, oversexed gay person, shake em all up with a pile of neuroses and then oversex everyone, pepper in snarky, snappy dialogue et le voila!

Yeah, it's OK. I would like one of these plays, but reading all of them at once was a little exhausting. He's very good, b...more
Tom Cork
Jul 31, 2007 Tom Cork rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: snarky humorists
Shelves: readandenjoyed
Pterodactyls is a beautiful play--no question. The balance of wit and pain is amazing, and Silver really ties together a bunch of disparate elements to create a disturbing parody of the 'modern American family.'

The Food Chain is an easier read--not as deep, but still hilarious. If you've ever chased after someone who seemed oblivious (story of my life), then this one's for you.
In college, I took a beginning acting class. One assignment asked us to pick a character from a play that was as far as possible from ourselves, and to act out their monologue.

I picked a male character from The Food Chain. He was something like 400 pounds, lazy, and whiny.

I did a hell of a job, if I do say so myself.

The play still stays with me, and makes me shudder.
Nicky Silver's style of absurdity and emphasis on the grotesque is not really my thing, which is why I only gave this collection three stars. There is quite a lot going on behind the incest (good God, there is a lot), and the patricide, and the cannibalism. I just prefer my drama with less of that stuff. He's truly original and these plays are probably insane to see staged.
Oct 05, 2008 Megan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
With all fondness, Nicky Silver is a sick, sick man. Food Chain made me snort diet coke out my nose...thankfully I was reading a copy that belonged to someong else.
I guess I didn't get the point of all the horribly dysfunctional characters in uncomfortable situations...
"Pterodactyls," "The Food Chain," and "Fat Man in Skirts" are twisted, wrong and funny as hell!
This stuff is hilarious and a little nauseating, but worth a read.
Laura Ferrari
Pterodactyls: depressing, very funny
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Pterodactyls Fat Men in Skirts - Acting Edition Raised in Captivity. The Altruists - Acting Edition The Food Chain - Acting Edition

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