Hit the Nerve: New Voices of the American Theater

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
This is an anthology of excerpts from the works of contemporary playwrights who delve into the American psyche and try to explain, or at least illuminate it. Joe Sears and Jaston Williams's satire of small town America, Greater Tuna; Sam Shepard's classic brother's scene in True West; Kate Rothschild's dead on confrontation between mothers and daughters in Hit the Nerve. These and other excellent selections show that a probing, very lively theater scene does exist. Brennan's book should make a welcome addition to the high school literature curriculum.
School Library Journal
Gr 10 UpAn anthology of 19 scenes selected from contemporary American plays, this compilation introduces YAs to the works of a variety of modern playwrights, ranging from the well-known Sam Shepard and Anna Deavere Smith to the less-familiar Cynthia Cooper and Richard Foreman. Following an interesting author's introduction on the power of good theater, each scene is prefaced by a list of characters, an explanation of the setting, and a brief comment on the themes and/or style of the play from which it comes. The selections vary from the realistic drama of Lawrence Kelly's OUT!, a play about the "fixed" 1919 World Series, to the absurdist comedy of Christopher Durang's Baby with the Bathwater. Production techniques range from the traditional dialogue of August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom to the musical monologues of William Finn and James Lapine's Falsettoland to the multimedia performance art of John Leguizamo's Spic-O-Rama. Themes dealing with race, parent/child relationships, and America's changing moral/ethical codes predominate. Short biographical notes are included and explain the playwrights' current status within the contemporary American theater. Several of the scenes contain profanity or coarse language, and some of Brennan's choices are highly sophisticated. A few of the scripts hail from the late `70s or early `80shardly eligible for consideration as "New Voices." Nevertheless, this collection will serve serious students whose interests and abilities extend beyond Lorraine Cohen's more traditional Scenes for Young Actors (Avon, 1982).Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805048179
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/1997
  • Pages: 175
  • Product dimensions: 5.72 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.83 (d)

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