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Thom Pain (based on nothing)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  257 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
From the dark corners of Western civilisation, here comes Thom Pain, telling it like it is, like it isn't, like it should be. A nobody, an Everyman, hey, he's just like you. This is for the faint heart, this is for the wounded, for the average, the uneducated masses, the living, for those who have not had enough. Published with another, as yet untitled monologue. Thom Pain ...more
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Published April 1st 2005 by Oberon Books
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J.M.
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: You
December of Drama 2015, day nine

Full disclosure: this play was brought to my attention by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, also known as the men behind Welcome to Night Vale. During their Q&A and reading at the Music Box theater, they didn't exactly recommend it but rather pointed to it as a major influence on their writing style, something they've consciously tried to emulate. That obviously counted as a recommendation, in my eyes.

Well now. I've seen this described as indescribable (haha),
...more
Lauren
Sep 21, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A runner-up for the Pulitzer in 2005, Thom Pain is the weak sibling to the other two finalists, The Clean House and Doubt (the winner, and one of my favorite plays).

Something bothered me from the start of Thom Pain, but I couldn’t immediately put my finger on what that was. Then it hit me, and I couldn't unsee it. A friend recently read The Artist’s Way and mentioned its suggested morning pages in an email. That’s what Thom Pain reads like: as if Mr. Eno had taken his own morning pages (I have n
...more
Larry C
Apr 30, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
After seeing The Realistic Joneses, which I didn't like, I decided to read some Eno to get a better understanding of his style. Was I missing something from Joneses, this Beckett meets Albee for a new generation? After trudging through a mindless 30 pages of Thom Pain, I learned that I just don't like his style. This play reads as if it has a deep meaning or understanding so that we can all relate. I found myself relating to the pissed off audience that paid to see this terrible play. I'll stick ...more
Ella
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know the feeling when you start reading something and realize about four pages in that it’s going to be your new favourite? Yeah. That.

Anyway, I sat down for an hour and a half and read all 3 of these short plays and god god god god they were so good.
Enrique Valdivia
I heard some excerpts of Thom Pain on Public Radio and was so struck by the language I bought the book, a collection of three one act, one character plays written in a style that makes Beckett seem cheerful. It's a short quick read full of great passages such as

"When did your childhood end? How badly did you get hurt, when you did, when you were this little, when you were this wee little hurtable thing, nothing but big eyes, a heart, a few hundred words? Isn't it wonderful how we never recover?"
...more
Colin
Apr 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read about this author about five years ago, but never followed up. Then I saw a production of his "The Flu Season" and I got interested. I don't think I've actually read a play in over a year, if you can believe that. Anyway, this is very clever, which is both its greatest strength and weakness. He can be dazzling sometimes, but he can also seem a bit random and a bit TOO clever. If you don't know his work, he's worth knowing about. He's one of the more interesting "alternative" playwri ...more
Matt
Jun 25, 2009 rated it liked it
This would have been four stars for Thom Pain itself. I found the lead piece to be challenging, funny, moving, and exciting. Eno's text as Pain recounts the major experiences of his life are harsh, vulnerable, loving, and truly compassionate. Great stuff.

But three stars because the other two pieces, called "monologues for the theatre," left me damned cold, reading like variations on the lead piece, neither coming close to the power of the original.
Libby
Dec 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
I took Hallie to see this play on her birthday in 2005. It was freezing out. The theater was right off Union Square, and Frances McDormand and Joel Coen sat right in front of us. This is one of my favorite New York memories. The wrenching sadness of this play shocked me; it felt so untheatery. I actually bought the book in the theater lobby. I really want to see Will Eno's new playlets. Damn Minnesota.
Lily
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first learned of Will Eno through an interview with one of the creators of Welcome to Night Vale, and I can 100% see the similarities: the language, the rhythm/tone, the themes. I found myself wanting to add "and now, the weather" throughout, haha. I would love to see this performed, as I'm sure it loses some of the impact when just reading it, but I still had a few moments when I felt compelled to write "oof." in the margins. And that's a good thing.
Jeff
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is hard to know what to say about this brief, challenging, and ultimately touching piece. We are clearly in Beckett/Albee territory here, as Eno introduces us to the deeply battered and bruised Thom Pain, a character teetering on the edge of void and sharing fragments of his story as either one final jab or one more try at genuine connection. It would be great to see this performed I order to see how it really lands.
Rebecca
"When did your childhood end? How badly did you get hurt, when you did, when you were this little, when you were this wee little hurtable thing, nothing but big eyes, a heart, a few hundred words? Isn't it wonderful how we never recover?"
Carol Jean
Well...very difficult! I need to reread it, I think....though it's a bit icky, so I'm not looking forward to the experience. The style reminded me a bit of Eddie Izzard, with the constant contradictions of what has just been said.
Ari
Mar 19, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a play to see live, if there is an incredible actor to play the part of Thom. However, it loses something in reading it. I found myself struggling to remain attentive and having to re-read paragraphs after realizing my mind had wandered through several of them in a row.
Charles
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play, read-in-2016
This volume contained three monologues. The title piece is full length. Lady Grey and Mr Theatre. Not what I had hoped. Not a surprise. OK I guess. I would have to work on any of the three I tried to mount, and even then I might not be satisfied with the final product. It's hard to tell.
Matt
May 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play-hunt
I read through this play in one sitting for it isn't very long, but when I was done with it I felt like I had been put through the ringer. A play filled with wit, pathos, and what feels like a cigarette burn to the mind.


Lorma Doone
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Just read it, man. Will Eno is a genius.
Chris
Feb 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best monologue I've read since typing out a transcription of a voicemail my dad left me in which he ranted about how I didn't like his wife.
Kevin
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An awful lot of stuff in such a small, concise package.
Muzzy
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really really really want to perform this monologue. In a dark theatre.
Megan
Mar 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh just break my heart why don't you.
Zelda
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: once-was-enough
Not really my cup of tea, but I imagine it makes more sense when seen performed.
Brandon
Mar 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Intensely post-modern.
its really playful and entertaining even though there is only one character.
It can be read in about half an hour.
I loved it a lot.
JO Papas
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here's a great short scene by Mr. Eno:
http://www.mediafire.com/view/w7q3kxl...
Jeremy Martens
Entertaining. Some good lines. Not the biggest fan, but good.
Gavin
Jun 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sure this would be 4 stars if I had seen it performed live instead of having read it. This is clearly an actors' play. Forceful, and experiential.
Teagan
Jul 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this play. Taught me a lot about myself, and attitudes toward life.
Gabrielle
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can see how Eno has been called a poor man's modern Beckett. Very interesting, Mr Theatre comes home different was the best of them, in my opinion.
Tyler Crumrine
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Three of the scariest monologues I've read.
Joshua
Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Poetic. Heartbreaking. Genius.
Lauren Rosolino
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-plays
Some of the most immediate, visceral writing I've ever read. With some thought-provoking insights.
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“When did your childhood end? How badly did you get hurt, when you did, when you were this little wee little hurtable thing, nothing but big eyes, a heart, a few hundred words? Isn’t it wonderful how we never recover? Injuries and wounds, ladies and gents. Slights and abuses, oh, what a paradise. Living in fear, suiting the hurt to our need. What a happy life. What a good game. Who can stand the most, the most life, and still smile, still grin into the coming night and say more, more, encore, encore, you fuckers, you fates, just give me more of the bloody bloody same.” 4 likes
“I disappeared in her and she, wondering where I went, left.” 3 likes
More quotes…