Andy's Reviews > Max: A Play

Max by Günter Grass
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Jun 26, 07

bookshelves: readownedloved

This is one of my Favorite plays.

There are 5 characters: two students (male and female), two professors (male and female), and a dentist (male).

Set in Germany during the turbulent era of Vietnam, when students and Academia in general were also protesting and organizing, the play follows a debate between the students and professors, with the dentist playing an unusual role of comic mediator, relating all of the nuances of life he comes across rather cosmically with, well, dentistry. The debate is over whether or not the male student should perform a particular act of protest. You see, the wealthy German society, women in particular, tended to sit around at outdoor cafes with their dogs, and drink tea or whatever, and didn't give a fuck about anything outside of their own little world. So the student decides, as a wake up call and protest of the use of napalm in the Vietnam war, that he thinks he should set his dog on fire in a public square that adjoins these popular outdoor cafes. These women, he argues, care more about their sweet little dogs than they do about any human beings in Vietnam, so maybe this act would bring some of the reality down home for them. Absurd? Definitely. Does he do it? I won't say. But the dialog, and the way the set is directed to be set up, so that there is a juxtaposition of often multiple scenes occurring simultaneously make this play one of the most interesting and hilarious plays I've ever read. I've never seen it performed, but hope to, someday.
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