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Limited Barnes and Noble

Despite being too recovering-from-being-sick to do anything else, I did read my two plays this week. Hurray.

I received a gift card to Barnes and Noble as a thank you from a client – ridiculous and amazing, I know. I finally got around to trying to spend it on none other than….. plays! If you’ve been reading this for a while, you may remember my trip to Border’s closing sale and the fifty dollars worth of plays I bought there in a moment of passion. Well, let me just say to the now dead Borders corporation: you were doing it right, guys! And, Barnes and Noble, you suck. Your play selection is so cliched as to be nearly useless to anyone who is actually interested in the theatre. Apparently, B&N only carries either the most classic of classics or the hippest of hip contemporary plays. Nothing wrong with carrying these plays, unless you don’t stock anything else. After at least 45 minutes of searching, I was able to choose 2 plays to purchase (at FULL PRICE) from your meager selection. Here’s what I read:

Good People, by David Lindsay-Abaire

I bought this play because there is one character, Kate, who is 20-30 years old and has enough stream of thought dialogue at the end of the play to craft a good monologue. When I finally got the play home and cracked it open to read, I realized I missed the part where she is described as black. C’est la vie. Luckily, that is not an important part of the section of the play I am interested in and so I think it could be a passable monologue for a white girl. Way to read carefully!

That said, I enjoyed this play. It’s not as masterful as Rabbit Hole and it’s not as hilarious (or deeply moving) as Kimberly Akimbo, but it’s lovely. It’s about a woman who is badly pressed for money and what she is willing to do -and not do- to help herself. And, almost more interestingly, what the people around her are willing to do in order to help her out. What does a good person do?

Detroit, by Lisa D’Amour

I’m just going to be honest. I did not understand this play. Originally produced by Steppenwolf, it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Barnes and Noble, after all, only sells highly recognizable plays and playwrights at top prices. At first, I thought maybe it was going to be very suburban anthropological-esque (I know, I’m just making up words left and right), ala The Crowd You’re in With. It does, after all, take place in a midwestern backyard with two couples who are having difficulty communicating and being happy in their safe little lives. Then it gets weird. Everyone seems to be an addict of some kind. I’m not convinced any of the four main characters really are who they say. Someone’s house burns down after an impromptu dance party goes awry. And there is an invisible (or is it?) dog that craps on the neighbor’s yard. Intellectually, I get that this play is about the economic -and therefore, social- crumbling of many suburbs in America, but in my heart I just went…. uh?

That said, there are some interesting male and female monologues that are very intimate and yearning, while still discussing day to day life. If the style and subject matter resonate with you, I am sure they are amazing.


2 responses »

  1. Wasn’t GOOD PEOPLE the play for which Frances McDormand won the Tony Award last spring? I heard some great things about it, and about her in it. (Then, of course, she got lambasted by some for wearing a plain, ol’ blue denim jacket over her evening gown to the ceremony, and to accept her award; some people have too much time on their hands, to worry over things like that–oy.)

    Sad, the loss of bookstores and knowledgeable book people in them (old story, I know). I’ve been making extensive use of the Dallas Public Library lately, and am always amazed at what treasures they have there, even with the drastic budgeting the last few years. Public libraries are so necessary; when I get a big bunch of money, a good chunk of it will go to help support public libraries, and getting kiddos into them and reading and thinking.

  2. It most certainly was. I imagine she was beyond stellar in this role. I love her attitude and I just think it would have fit perfectly. She sassy and sensitive.
    I wish our library out here had the kind of resources it sounds like Dallas libraries must offer. The library was the first place I started on my “quest.”


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