Sharon's Reviews > Death Takes a Holiday a Comedy in Three Acts

Death Takes a Holiday a Comedy in Three Acts by Alberto Casella
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's review
Jun 10, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: i-own, favourites
Read from February 26 to 29, 2012

Contains a few points that may be spoilers :)

This is a lovely, dramatic and powerful little play. I bought the book after years of loving "Meet Joe Black" a film based upon the play starring Brad Pitt. I'm not sure about the description "A comedy in three acts" it had its moments of humour but not enough I think to warrant putting comedy in the title.
The play, as described, studies the nature of life, love and death and the consequences of death taking a three day holiday and taking on human form where he falls in love with a young woman and learns the beauty of life, the power of love and the reason why men fear him. Some interesting thoughts of death were considered here, the presence of death in the universe, the effect on day to day life if death was suspended, the idea that death can choose when to take and when to leave. Also the different ways that people view death and their attitudes towards it. Death is portrayed here as merely a man, no special effects or grim reaper style claptrap, but beneath him the guests (mainly the women) can sense eternity and shadows, the abyss. The idea that death can in fact love, and sacrifice his happiness for the one he ends up loving, as her family try and beg for her to live, is a very interesting one. As is the way Death tries, and fails, to explain to them that the other side is not to be feared. A lovely twist at the end is the fact that Grazia saw him in his true form all along with makes the ending satisfying since she was not afraid of what she saw and death ended up being loved for what he was. There is something other worldly about Grazia which is never really explored, which is why she was the only one to respond to Death in that way.
I liked this play very much, I am surprised it is not more well known. I can see how some people could find it boring or dull but when you consider between the lines and the deeper essence of it, it is a powerful, dramatic play.
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message 1: by Scott (new) - added it

Scott Brundage Comedy does NOT mean, Laugh after laugh! A comedy is a play which has a happy end, or at least not a tragic one. Consider "comedy in three acts" as more or less the opposite of "tragedy in three acts." "comedy" as a theater term, then is different from lay usage which has diluted the word over centuries of "promotion" like "Great night of sit-coms. Must see TV!"

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