The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit & Other Plays for Today, Tomorrow & Beyond Tomorrow (1972) is a small collection of plays based on three of Ray BThe Wonderful Ice Cream Suit & Other Plays for Today, Tomorrow & Beyond Tomorrow (1972) is a small collection of plays based on three of Ray Bradbury's short stories. Bradbury was one of the most celebrated science fiction authors of his time. The plays featured are the titular "Ice Cream Suit," as well as "The Veldt" and "To the Chicago Abyss." I had read the short story versions of the last two but not "Suit."
In the titular story, six down-on-their-luck fellows pool their money to buy a spectacular, white (vanilla ice cream colored) suit that they all can share to impress the ladies, win new friends, and, hopefully, turn their luck around. They learn that there's much more to be gained in the friendship they develop with each other.
"The Veldt" is a very creepy story of the future. A future where two doting parents provide their children with every new gadget possible--including a playroom that can make the kids' every thought and dream come to 3-D life. When the children change their playroom to the African veldt, complete with hungry lions, the parents learn, too late, that gadgets can't take the place of love.
And, finally, "To the Chicago Abyss" takes the reader to a bleak dystopian future where all is rubble and there are few pleasures left. One old man can remember only the pleasures of the past as broadcast through the media or in the trivialities of everyday life--advertisements for coffee, cigarettes, kazoos for children, thimbles and imitation flowers. Speaking about the past--of things that no one can have now--is outlawed and the man must avoid the police and seek out those willing to listen to his memories.
The stories make for short, quirky plays and Bradbury does an excellent job adapting them. I, however, prefer the works in short story form. ★★★ and a half for the wonderful stories by a master.
Three English Comedies, edited by A. B. (Agnes) De Mille, is an illustrated copy containing three 18th Century plays: She Stoops to Conquer by OliverThree English Comedies, edited by A. B. (Agnes) De Mille, is an illustrated copy containing three 18th Century plays: She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith and The Rivals and The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. The book is apparently a textbook of sorts from 1924 and along with the plays it contains notes on lives of Goldsmith and Sheridan, a discussion of London life and dramatic literature, and aids to the study and acting of the comedies. There are even discussion and test questions meant to help students meet the requirements of the College Entrance Board exams of the time. I must confess to skipping most of that. This past Saturday (February 23) I attended a production of The School for Scandal and it prompted me to dig out this book and read the play for myself (and reread She Stoops to Conquer and go ahead and read The Rivals). A nice set of witty, satirical plays. Lots of fun and an interesting look at the 18th Century. Three and a half stars for all. Having completed all of the plays, I declare this book conquered for the purposes of various challenges.
And, now, on with the show(s)....
I first read She Stoops to Conquer when I was in college. We read it (and excerpts from various other 18th C plays) during the course of the 300-level major section covering the time period. I loved both it and The Beggar's Opera by Gay. The comedic wit and satirical comedy of the 18th C is not to be matched (as far as I'm concerned) until Oscar Wilde bursts upon the scene in the Victorian era. A couple of years ago, I saw a production of She Stoops to Conquer that prompted me to read it again. And, of course, now I have been enticed back to the 18th C after my latest dramatic excursion.
Goldsmith's play is a light-hearted romantic comedy which takes place in an English country house. We have Tony Lumpkin who is trying to keep out of an arranged marriage with his cousin, Miss Neville. His mother is highly in favor, but neither he nor the lady in question are at all enthusiastic. In fact, Miss Neville has quite another man in mind. Then there's his step-sister, Miss Hardcastle, who is being told to marry a man picked out by her father. She's not excited about that match. Young Marlowe (Miss Hardcastle's intended), is quite the bashful fellow--and that won't do at all. Both of the suitors are on their way to the Harcastle's home and Tony comes up with a plan to set matters straight. He tells the gentleman that they have arrived at an inn. And it seems that Marlowe is a totally different man when he comes amongst the lower classes--ordering his host about, treating the daughter of the house like a barmaid. Will Mr. Hardcastle run the men out of his house before true love's course can run straight?
******** The Rivals by Sheridan is new to me. But the situations of double-identity and mistaken notions are not. We have the young lovers, Lydia and Jack, who must make their way through both before they can have their happy ending. Jack has a father, Sir Anthony Absolute, who is determined that his son will marry the girl of his (that is Sir Anthony's) choice. Lydia has an aunt who also insists that Lydia marry the person she chooses. And both Sir Anthony and Mrs. Malaprop hold the purse strings of their charges. To add to the mix, Lydia is an insatiable reader of romances and vows to marry for romantic reasons and will go into poverty to do so. She refuses to consider Jack as a suitor when offered to her as the soon-to-be-wealthy Captain Absolute--but is more than happy to align herself with him when he presents himself as the poor Ensign Beverley. Two others also vie for her hand, Captain Absolute's friend, Acres, and Sir Lucius O'Trigger--though Sir Lucius has been paying his addresses to the aunt by misdirection. In the end, it will take a pair of duels to bring everything to a satisfactory conclusion. As a bonus, we have Mrs. Malaprop, mother to the linguistic mistake, who produces such lovely lines as "She's as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile!" and "He is the very pineapple of politeness!"
MM: There's a little intricate hussy for you! SA: It is not to be wondered at, ma'am,---all this is the natural consequence of teaching girls to read. Had I thousands daughters, by Heaven! I'd as soon have them taught the black art as their alphabet. ~Mrs. Malaprop; Sir Anthony Absolute
SA: In my way hither, Mrs. Malaprop, I observed your niece's maid coming forth from a circulating library!--She had a book in each hand--They were half-bound volumes, with marble covers! ~Sir Anthony [Oh No! Anything but marble covers!]
MM (in a letter): Female punctuation forbids me to say more.... ~Mrs. Malaprop
******** And, of course, the start of this little dramatic interlude...The School for Scandal. After the delightful production put on by the IU Department of Theatre & Drama, I immediately came home to look for my copy of the play. As with so many things, the modern age may think it has invented gossip and scandal, but as Sheridan's play proves--it's a sport that has been in fashion for over 250 years, and more. There's a lot going on here. Sir Oliver Surface has left his friend Sir Peter Teazle to watch over his nephews while Sir Oliver is off in the East Indies. Sir Peter is also the guardian of Maria and hopes that there will be a marriage between Maria and his favorite of the two nephews, Joseph. But Maria is in love with Charles. Charles is represented as an extravagant spender and heavy partier for the age. Joseph presents himself as virtuous, moral, and sentimental--everything Sir Peter expects a man to be. Then there is Lady Sneerwell who wants Charles for herself and employs her servant Snake in the task to spread rumor and scandal to discredit Charles with Maria. Lady Sneerwell also has quite a following in her "school" of scandal--gossip-mongers all.
Lady Teazle is a new pupil in the school. She was a simple country girl who married Sir Peter and has found herself enamored with the fashion of town. Lady Teazle must have all that is fashionable and quarrels regularly with her husband about her spending habits. Joseph, as part of his scheme to get in good with Maria, has played up to Lady Teazle--in hopes that the lady will speak well of him to Maria, but finds himself regarded as the lady's lover instead. It all comes to a fine end when Sir Oliver returns and wants to see for himself how his nephews are conducting themselves. He sets up a couple of tests to find the truth of their nature and to see who shall become his heir. There is much hiding behind screens and in boxes and in closets; there are overheard conversations and sudden unveilings before the matter is settled.
I would normally feel a little intimidated trying to write a review on Shakespeare. I, mean, seriously after hundreds of years you'd expect everythingI would normally feel a little intimidated trying to write a review on Shakespeare. I, mean, seriously after hundreds of years you'd expect everything that needed saying to have been said. But that wouldn't stop me from throwing my two cents in as well. However, this time, I really feel at a loss. I started The Taming of the Shrew 10 days ago (which is a long time in Bev reading time) and didn't touch it all over vacation. I expected to have reading time while on the road (and even brought along three other books--"just in case"), but it never materialized. So...by the time I got back to Kate and Petruchio, I had a hard time getting back into the ol' Shakespeare mood. And maybe I should give this one another go sometime. But for now, I've finished it and here's what I've got....
Rather than try to do my usual longer, more indepth review and synopsis, I'm just going to throw a few thoughts out here.
First, I expected to like this one way more than I did. Thus far, I've read Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and Othello and I've really like all of them, with Othello being my favorite. But I'm just not into Kate being rude and downright nasty to anyone and everyone without even a hint of a reason. Sure, she's got a father who expects her to marry when she doesn't want to....but it's the 16th Century. Every woman is expected to get married...and it's not unreasonable (for the times) for fathers to meddle in the matrimonial proceedings. So, that's not really a legit reason for her unspeakable behavior. I agree that she needs a lesson or two. BUT....
Second, I take great exception to Petruchio's method of "taming" her. Lessons are one thing...out and out abuse is another. Starving her and depriving her of sleep is extreme to say the least. I sort of see the point of the extreme "lesson" being needed to meet her extreme behavior...almost, but not quite.
Third, the subplot of Bianca and her suitors. I had a hard time keeping the players straight and just found Bianca boring in the extreme. I guess it was good that she had her looks, 'cause I can't figure out any other reason why these guys would want to marry her.
Fourth....well, at this point I can't really think of a fourth. I'm all out of steam. Hopefully, once I'm back in the work routine, I'll get my reading and reviewing act together. I'm giving this one a nice middle of the road, three star rating. Mostly because it's Bill Shakespeare, darn it, and it's supposed to be good. I think maybe I should take one of the Goodreads reviewer's suggestion and go watch the Elizabeth Taylor version of the movie.....
This review was first posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting any portion. Thanks....more
I'm not a big fan of reading plays (and particularly not more modern ones..I like 18th C and 19th C--Oscar Wilde) more...but I LOVE this play by PinteI'm not a big fan of reading plays (and particularly not more modern ones..I like 18th C and 19th C--Oscar Wilde) more...but I LOVE this play by Pinter. One of my all-time favorite reads from college coursework....more
Considering how much I enjoy the satire of the 18th Century it's curious how little of the works of this period I have read. I absolutely loved this wConsidering how much I enjoy the satire of the 18th Century it's curious how little of the works of this period I have read. I absolutely loved this when I read it in college (too many moons ago to count). It is outrageous and funny, satiric and ribald. Marvelous combinations!...more
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, written by Tom Stoppard, was first performed in a shortened version in August 1966. When it opened in LondonRosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, written by Tom Stoppard, was first performed in a shortened version in August 1966. When it opened in London in 1967, it catapulted Stoppard into the front ranks of modern playwrights. The plot is supposedly simple: the play of Hamlet seen not through the eyes of Hamlet or Claudius or Ophelia or Gertrude, but a worm's-eye view of the tragedy seen from the standpoint of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The blurb on the back of book says that "it is very funny, very brilliant, very chilling; it has the dus of thouht about it and the particles glitter excitingly in the the theatrical air."
Um. Okay. If Clive Barnes from The New York Times says so. But you couldn't tell by my reading. I'm afraid I didn't see any humor in it. I can't say that I thought it was all that brilliant. In fact, it was almost entirely one great big "HUH???" for me. I don't get it. I'm well acquainted with Hamlet and, yes, I do get the bits of the actual play that are sprinkled here and there....but overall everything that had to do with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern made very little sense to me. Their dialogue was very vague and elliptical. Maybe this is one of those plays that do better if seen than read. I certainly hope so, because I can't say that I've gotten anything out this reading--except another candle on my Birth Year Reading Challenge Cake. One star....maybe less. ...more
**spoiler alert** Warning--spoilers ahead for anyone completely unfamiliar with the story of Cleopatra.
It hardly seems like the done thing to do a "mi**spoiler alert** Warning--spoilers ahead for anyone completely unfamiliar with the story of Cleopatra.
It hardly seems like the done thing to do a "mini" review of Shakespeare. Especially having an English major pedigree. But honest-to-goodness, I just don't have a lot to say. Dear old Will took events that should have covered years (travel from Rome to Egypt and back again) and crunches the action down so it seems that only days have passed. We've got celebrity star-crossed lovers in Cleo and Tony and even though they're older than Romeo & Juliet they get to suffer the same fate. Lots of passion. Lots of politics. Lots of Cleo being haughty and vain and jealous of Tony's first and (especially) second wife. She won't calm down until her messenger assures her that Octavia (wife #2) is short, homely and suffers from continual bad hair days. Antony winds up in battle because politics. Antony alternately adores Cleo, then suspects she has betrayed him and then, when he thinks she's dead, tries to kill himself because he loved her. But wait! She isn't dead and he manages to get himself to her in time to die in her arms. Cleo is captured and kills herself with an asp (I don't count that as a spoiler...pretty much everybody knows that). Lots of other people kill themselves and some die of broken hearts for one reason or another. Octavius (one of the players in that politics thing going on) gets to be the Roman Emperor. The end.
I've pretty much decided that at my time of life I'd rather go see a play than read it. I've read several plays over the last few years for various challenges and I just don't enjoy reading drama the way I used to. I'm pretty sure I would like this one a whole lot better staged. We'll give it ★★★ because it's Shakespeare and important and I'm quite sure it has a lot more to say than what I was hearing on this reading.