Thursday, November 13, 2008

Play Descriptions and A New Genre?

I love reading through the summaries from The Dramatist Play Service and Samuel French Catalogues.

Let's see, for a night at the theatre, you could see this:


At a crash site somewhere in the Midwest, investigators Miranda and Erik stand amongst the wreckage. Middle-aged colleagues relatively new to each other, they tentatively begin a relationship. Although Miranda initially rebuffs Erik, it isn't long before the two have tumbled into bed together. The resulting vulnerability they both reveal and a subsequent encounter with a survivor of the crash shed light on the fragility of life and love.


Or you could see this:

THE JAMMER resurrects that greatest of American entertainments, the Roller Derby: half sport, half show, all action. In just over an hour, THE JAMMER packs multiple roller-derby sequences, a riot, a roller-coaster ride, vomit, spit, blood, sex and love. In short, THE JAMMER is the King Lear of roller-derby plays.


You could see this:

It's now 1939, and storm clouds are gathering over Europe. Having inherited Bagshot House, Colonel Charles Craddock has converted the property into a hotel for the discerning visitor. Soon Inspector Pratt arrives once again at Bagshot House, bearing grim news for Colonel Craddock. But that's just the beginning — who is the strange Polish Count? Is Henrietta really an army captain? And where does the flamboyant thespian Cardew Longfellow fit into the picture? When Joan Maple's sister Cynthia arrives to stage a murder mystery evening, it's not long before Pratt's visit turns into a chaotic nightmare as the bodies pile higher than ever!


Or this:

Both a science play and a love story, intellectual and romantic sparks fly when geologist Sonia Milan, a brilliant Ph.D. candidate, tracks down her mentor, Lawrence Blanchard, in seclusion in the desert Southwest. She's at a professional and personal crossroads, and wants to play a role in explaining a rapidly changing planet. He wants nothing more to do with climate science, but she persists. When the wine, firewood and night are all gone, Sonia has made unexpected discoveries, and Lawrence has confronted the past. Their world has changed, and they have to decide what to do about it.


By the way, two of the above descriptions fit a style of play that has kind of become a genre in itself. For instance, here is the description of Joyce Van Dyke's new play The Oil Thief, which is playing at the Boston Playwright's theater currently:

The Oil Thief explores the geological rift between lovers unexpectedly in crisis - Amy, a petroleum geologist, and her long-time partner Rex. The emotionally charged triangle between Amy, Rex, and Aleksi, a young translator who pushes into their lives, leads Amy to question her own ideas of freedom and responsibility in the world—both personal and global.


Has anybody coined a term for this genre yet?

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