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Frozen Styph
     

Frozen Styph

5.0 6
by Ronald Jay Cohen
 

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Frozen foods magnate Maxwell F. Styph has had himself frozen. Now, friends, family, and business associates are coming to a “memorial dinner party” to say goodbye to Max.

This was the premise behind a hilariously funny, audience-interactive approach to theater innovated by psychologist/playwright, Ronald Jay Cohen. The first drafts had been

Overview

Frozen foods magnate Maxwell F. Styph has had himself frozen. Now, friends, family, and business associates are coming to a “memorial dinner party” to say goodbye to Max.

This was the premise behind a hilariously funny, audience-interactive approach to theater innovated by psychologist/playwright, Ronald Jay Cohen. The first drafts had been written by Cohen as a funeral, set in a chapel. In these early versions of the play, Cohen tried to write a comedy that answered the question: “What if they gave a funeral, and everyone who came told the truth about the deceased?”

As the play took shape, Cohen began to experience some uneasiness with the material. Despite the fact that portions of the script were riotously funny, the focus of the play was squarely on some very unpleasant realities of life. At least some audience members might have sensitivities about, or even painful associations towards, material that dealt with loss and eulogies. Somehow, the script had to be “lightened-up,” allowing audience members to better distance themselves from the goings-on, and freely laugh at what was taking place. But how could that be done?

Cohen’s solution was to make the situation a little wackier, more atypical, and less realistic. Instead of a coffin prop, a seven-foot, smoking, “cryonic chamber” would be utilized. And instead of being put-up in a traditional theater with a chapel set on stage, the play would run in a restaurant, and be couched as a “memorial dinner party.” In addition to scripted “eulogies” from cast members, audience members themselves would be permitted to construct and verbalize their own, often unflattering or outrageous memories of the person being “honored.” And that is how Frozen Styph was conceived. See the play if you can. For now, enjoy the novel!

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781463421007
Publisher:
AuthorHouse
Publication date:
08/25/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
File size:
541 KB

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Frozen Styph 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Randy68 More than 1 year ago
Some years ago, I saw the Frozen Styph dinner theater and really enjoyed it. When I heard that the novel was out, I couldn't wait to see how the play translated to a book. Cohen's novelized version was quite different than his play, and in many ways different than what I expected (although I'm not sure I knew what to expect). Still, the book did not disappoint. From the opening sentence (about how Max Styph had few real friends other than the 10,000 or so he had accumulated on Facebook) you know, right off the bat, that you are going to be in for a hoot. A question raised early on in the book is why a healthy, married guy with two kids "and a dog named Frostbite" would have himself frozen. While there's no definitive answer to that question by the end of the book, it's quite a ride getting there. Along the way, there's a cast of interesting characters (some I remember from the play, some seem to be new). There's Max's wife, Olga, of course. She is described in the book as "a slightly overweight woman with frosted hair and a penchant for shoulder pads." There's Jennifer, Max's "sexually curious" daughter. And Max's son, Ira (named after Max's favorite financial instrument) Scott Styph. According to the author, Ira Scott "characteristically appeared to be in a drug-induced, coma-like state; one that signaled 'vacancy' almost as certainly as the neon sign of a rural motel in the dead of the night." The book humorously covers a lot of ground that the play did not as we learn about Max's childhood, his parents, and his business. It culminates in a "memorial dinner party" that had many of the same elements of the dinner theater play we attended. Of course, it paints pictures of that event that were somewhat different than the play. For example, early on during the appetizer hour (there was no appetizer hour, only dinner) one of the characters is said to disappear behind "a sculpture of Max made entirely from chopped liver." The sculpture had been ordered "as homage to the question that Max stereotypically would raise during contract negotiations: 'So what am I, chopped liver?'" Bottom line: I found this book very entertaining and very easy to read. I blew through most of it in one evening, and then found myself wishing there was more left. I think that it will be special fun for all who saw the play. But even if you did not see the play, as long as you are willing to suspend disbelief long enough to become engrossed in the world of Max Styph, you will probably find yourself, as I did, turning page after page to the end, with a very broad smile on your face.
Portland_reader More than 1 year ago
My only criticism of this book was that I kept wanting more, especially about the characters. What a wild, and wacky combination of characters. Some stereotypes are exploited, and others are twisted upside down. I especially loved the ending, which (even as a mystery lover) I did not see coming. There were several places that had me laughing out loud.
Miko99 More than 1 year ago
Had a (frozen) smile on my face from the first sentence. Would recommend to anyone thinking about having themself frozen. But seriously folks, you will enjoy this and if you're like me, can't wait for there to be a sequel.
JMF19 More than 1 year ago
What a find! This is a book in the "Humor" section that is actually funny! I highly recommend it...
sillylilturtle More than 1 year ago
Quick fun read with an very interesting twist at the end. It literally had me laughing at loud. :)
J-A-L More than 1 year ago
Turning a theatrical play, supported by audience interaction, into a book was probably no easy task. The author did a great job with the use of character descriptions and present-day innuendos to really set the stage for all of the hilarious moments that transpire throughout each chapter. The ending was a pleasant surprise!